Friday, April 17, 2009


Giambattista Nolli, Interactive Nolli Map


you are back, sort of, and I have missed you and your images & syllables.

I will tell you about a time when I was very ill. Later they would say it was meningitis, but at the time I only knew it as hell. I fell ill while reading the story of Julia "Butterfly" Hill and how she staked herself out in a very tall tree, called Luna, which was to be cut down by a logging company. During the time that the tree was wracked by a storm, I pitched in the sheets with a fever and hallucinated for days over the drama of the woman in the tree.

When I recovered I was changed and am changed and have since found myself in somewhat perpetual grieving over the accretive effects of civilization and the erosion of nature. I am in that shuddering tree every day, afflicted with some madness of urban discontent.

Your thoughts on Italy stirred me. There has been for so long in me a profound affection for civilization, at least in terms of Michaelangelo and Leonardo. The Nolli map of Rome has been a cherished icon, the spaces carved out by human desire, the slow wearing down of stone beneath flesh.

But the struggling vegetation stirs me now. The wildflowers, mentioned by Bedichek, which he noticed springing up after the bombing of London, where no flower had been for a hundred years.

That the seeds had lain fallow for so long. So silent, not stirring, yet erupting at the mere suggestion of uninhabited (by human) space.

Yesterday we stopped for a moment by the overburdens to look at the cottonwood trees that had sprung up from the sand. The trees were growing vigorously with little rain in these forsaken piles of earth. I thought of Robert Frost:

How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,

The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.