Tuesday, May 29, 2007


HCP, the palisades, 1949

Maybe children wake to a love affair every other morning or so; if given any chance, they seem to like the sight and smell and feel of things so much. Falling for the world could be a thing that happens to them all the time. I hope so, I hope it is purely commonplace. I’m trying to imagine that it is, that our childhood love of things is perfectly justifiable. Think of light and how far it falls, to us. To fall we say, naming a fundamental way of going into the world—falling.
-William Kittredge, Hole in the Sky

Maybe the exact lack of verticality makes us flatlanders more susceptible, but I fall, every day. Lately dreaming of falling, on days I forget to fall, days where I am fundamentally oriented toward the everyday world. But I am hardwired, I think, to fall.

I think Sudek was falling, all the time, falling in love with light, and perpetually seeking that moment when light fell magically between the cracks and illuminated the forgotten spaces of the ordinary, rendering them extraordinary, if only for a moment. Tonight that happened. A large palm-like fern with sturdy fronds bursting forth from its center (so much rain--the streets become rivers, we paddle between dreams) had attracted my attention. I got the camera, focused with the light fading in the west, just as a lizard darted from the fronds, startled by my interest.

By day I had forgotten him, but at night he haunted my dreams, he waited. I remember the girl, and her approach, at twenty-one, with no fear, declaring, I am dreaming you. But at forty-one you wait for what you long for, though it dreams other dreams halfway around the world, in some Nordic light, you wait.