September 2011 Archives
For as long as I can remember, I've had trouble understanding just what was so great about nature. I mean capital "N" Nature filled with green stuff and rocks and critters— not "nature" in the sense of essence, or idealized cut-to-the-chase character or characteristics. I'm a big fan of the latter, even though it carries with it the burden of defining "normal" and excluding aberration. Nature, in the first usage, is full of aberrations and anomalies which defy easy classification into normalcy. Perhaps that's why I don't really feel attracted to it. It makes me uncomfortable in its harsh randomness.
I remember reading a book of poetry by Jim Morrison when I was in high school where he asserted that modern life was a journey by car. Certainly, a lot of evidence could be marshaled to support that position but what sticks in my mind now is the thought that a car is simply a room on wheels. I like them a lot, not because of the power and speed (motorcycles have cars beat there) but because they allow me to be mobile without confronting weather and bugs. It dawned on me a month or so ago that travelling really consists of moving from one room to another, mostly. You go from your room to someone else's (friendly, civic, commercial or rented space). Nature then is the great "unroom" when you are not surrounded by purpose (yours or someone elses). I've never found much reason to be there.
Of course, my feelings on this aren't by any means "normal" and it might be argued neither were Morrison's. But I think that's why I might find myself drawn, when walking outdoors, to always want to look at or photograph buildings or structures. I'll walk through the forrest, but only to get to the outhouse/shack/shed or even just the trace of the remaining foundation of a room that might give purpose to an incomprehensible space. It's the way I try to make myself comfortable I suppose. This is a far cry from the romantic/peripatetic tradition of collecting one's thoughts in Nature. I'm more on Morrison's side. This is not to say that I don't like walking, it's just that I prefer to be walking from one room to another. If I can get there by car, so much the better. I find it really easy to think in cars.
I find it interesting that I've reverted back to working things out in pictures rather than words these days. I don't get the urge to write much anymore, but I've started to make pictures again. It's my oldest method of thinking things through, I suppose.