The sun goes down behind the mountain, enough light to gild the ridges. On the dark plain, the sage are a collective presence, kin. In the evening their colors are dust and shadow, birnam wood waiting. Shallow-rooted in clay that was clay before it was mountains and now is clay again. They move with the speed of the earth turning. Here we are the fragile ones, the ones without ancestors.
Geese in a wide sky smudged pink. A cloud archaeopteryx.
Haystacks the only gold. Grey rock, muted blues and greens.
Sand springs trickle from sand hills.
The fruiting body of the sage is purple and white. It’s round and smooth with a quality like the skin of genitalia, startling against the dry grey branches and tiny water-rationed leaves. The fruiting body of spring or summer, Venus or Demeter, ready to open, but not open. No birth as yet.
elk Suddenly in front of us, huge creatures, maybe a dozen or so, galloping across the road at sunset, then wheeling in a pack up the hills back into the trees. Tall as elephants. with curly fur like alpacas, and beautiful faces. Carousel animals alive.
wild horses Just five of them, gazing at the lone car on the highway. In their bodies they are ready to run.
antelope always from a distance
The sun carvers in the golden corral.
word maps for future drawings:
the horizon ends at the top of the mountain, the farthest point to get to.
clouds are flat on the bottom as if meant to sit on earth.
cast shadows for miles make another layer of hills and valleys.
indigo cloud shadows on beige, deer-colored plains.
65 origami cranes, windmills with mountains in back.
the bird has free will, appeared in a dust storm.
colors for painting
The color that is against the other color, the layer of red that makes the green copper green, so green. The layer of yellow against the brown that makes it deep red. the layer of cream against the sky that makes it yellow. I collected the colors from the roadside, ground them into powder and mixed with a dried yolk and water. Only the black stayed truly black. I was missing the sky.
I call this Document against loss because isn’t all recording, in art or otherwise, done against the threat of loss of memory, of life? A warning and a remembrance. Would we document without the threat of loss? Our memories are a compilation of losses, some beautiful, some devastating; the very condition of being human is living in loss. This is why we try to keep and curate and tenderly preserve what we see and hear, what we are about to lose, whether through distance or time or devastation. What we choose to keep by recording makes it somehow possible that we can ward off our loss, or momentarily believable that there has been no loss, or to feel we can change conditions so that there will be no loss, or that we can somehow mitigate it. So hopes and griefs are always united in the record.