Beautiful and Ominous. - Fall has come to Norway and, like everywhere else, this means the light begins to yield. It does so spectacularly, but it does so nevertheless. The sun r...
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Fireside, Cave Paintings and Dreams
My mind is dancing, fickle like fire. It won't stand still--it jumps, flicks tongues, wall rides, scattering darkness, but dives back down before illuminating. Can't see what's there.
I'm sitting in a cave. It's me, the fire, someone across the fire from me that I can't make out, just an outline. Not a stranger, just can't see across the fire.
Can't make out the cave walls. There are shadows. I need to stoke the fire. With what? Drugs bring smoke but no additional light. They are not the stoke.
tucked up in clefts in the cliffs
growing strict fields of corn and beans
sinking deeper and deeper in the earth
up to your hips in Gods
your head all turned to eagle-down
& lightning for knees and elbows
your eyes full of pollen
the smell of bats
the flavor of sandstone
grit on the tongue.
at the food of ladders in the dark.
Gary Snyder chants. The flames dance higher. Figures on the wall...
Art. Poetry. Drawings. The child, surrounded by nature, is the one connected to the Universe. I know these drawings. I've seen them. I've written about them, read about them.
Caves. Fire. Shelter. Food. Primal elements. Fire meant food, community. It still does. Fire pulls the tribe together. It is conversation, happy hour, camping, return from a trail run to crack a beer, sip soup and share stories. Fire lets us see in the dark.
The cave has more. Skateboarding. Future Primitive. A love that began at 13 and has continued through today at 42 and tomorrow at whatever age. The figures on the wall look like this...
Lance Mountain. The figures are also running. Tribal. More of the cave, the walls are showing now. Scenes, images, symbols from my life. The girls. Passions. Shared experiences. Spelled out on the walls of the cave. Plato would be pleased.
I get up and walk to further parts of the cave. The walls are bare. They are uncovered. Unwritten. Still to be written. The writing is from life. From love. From experience. What is the rest of the story? What symbols? What art?
What becomes paintings on the cave walls begins as dreams. Neil Gaiman knows dreams. He has written Dream's story in epic and graphic fashion. He begins "The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables & Reflections" with an artist, a playwright and director who is afraid of heights. In his dreams, he fears falling. He believes there are two possible outcomes to falling in a dream: either you wake up, or you die. No good outcome.
And the artist, the dreamer, finds himself in a dream, climbing. At the top of the mountain, he meets Dream. Dream points out that there is a third alternative. "Sometimes when you fall, you fly."
The most unlikely scenario. It flies in the face of common sense. But we aren't talking sense. We are talking dreams. Why would anything sensical wind up as a cave painting?