Light Ships

Some thing grows, upward, pushing, glacially slow, breaching through the heavy earth, it rises in defiance of forces still misunderstood, and as it does this, as it escapes the clutches of the loam, it sends out branches of itself, brittle spindles like the arcs from a Tesla coil, a chaotic hair-like spray of tiny arms, each a miniature version of that first improbable shoot that is now a gnarled and stunted stalk furrowed, bent and twisted above a forgotten Staten Island cemetery.

Some thing grows. And here a photograph. A razor thin slice of a story. One frame among millions, that here is chosen to convey, a spirit, a meaning, a mere fraction of the whole, yet somehow speaking for it, perhaps in summary of all that is and ever was. All stories contained in a single image.

The image speaks for itself. Words, built by man, cannot add or take away from what light renders into form. And even form itself is wholly inadequate, for the mark of all concepts, all forces and phenomena ever observed and measured are herein contained in this capsule of life, this light ship, which began its journey outside of time, became fixed in it upon its observation and capture, and is now, in this moment, radiating out through the ether across the kingdom of eyes, fixing itself into brains, into neurons, like an emotional virus which does not sicken but cures.

A photograph is an Ouroboros. The great cosmic serpent consuming its tail. A photograph is a portal through which all stories can be accessed. From this gangly oak I can take you to Napoleon or the moon. Back to your childhood bedroom, into any one of your dreams. Everything is everything and no barrier that seems to exist is real. Air, bark, distance. Skin. Walls. Lines on maps. Oceans. Prison bars. As desperate as we try we cannot keep each other out. There is something uncomfortable and alien, yet also, strangely familiar about it. Surely this is no reflection. Am I as stark, am as I brittle? Could I be so hard and rough? And what of my own journey up from the dust? Am I less desperate? In my almost religious obedience to the confines of form, am I less stuck?

Writing and talk do not prove me, I carry the plenum of proof and every thing else in my face,

With the hush of my lips I confound the topmost skeptic.

~ Walt Whitman

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