Calligraphy on the wind

Notes on installations, surprise and the awakening of beauty, discovered.

I’ve written about the idea of poetry on the wind, words that gesture to an impression, that tied to a string, written on handmade paper or the stock of recycled paper bags, flutter and turn in the breeze.

For me, that fluttering bespeaks leaves, that are turning; and in the etymology of the word, liber — the foundational character of the library, tells, from circa 1374, from Anglo-French, going back in time: librarie, then from Old French: librairie “collection of books,” noun use of adjective — librarius “concerning books,” from L. librarium “chest for books,” from liber (libri) “book, paper, parchment,” originally “the inner bark of trees,” probably a derivative of the Proto Indo European base *leub(h)- “to strip, to peel”. The idea of leaves, books, trees of knowledge, branches of thought, is a familiar range of allegory. And there are surely deeper levels of symbolism.

Traveling in Bhutan, Tibet, Mongolia — you can see the prayer flags, from the broad plains of Mongolia, to the high windswept passes of Tibet, to the monastic Dzhongs of Bhutan, the prayer evocations breathe blessings.

But I’m curious about creating discoveries — things that people find, that are just a moment of surprise.

That could be a cairn, aligned just right, on a mountain path.

Or that could be an arrangement of branches, beachside.

Or something standing in a way that perhaps it shouldn’t, or couldn’t be.

Surprise takes one out of oneself, to surveil something in a new way — an abrupt contemplation.

So these WindWords do that. They flutter, looking like leaves, and then there’s the realization of something on them, that then is something more: writing. This too, is something more — yet another deepening in exposure. To a new vision — a momentary reflective insight. Placing these things, I like to study the reaction of people, coming by. And they do just that. Stop for a moment. Talk about it. Then perhaps, move on — changed, in the instant.

I tear up old paper bags, fold the top end, curl it back, and punch a hole, leaving an opening for twine. Wind, rain, sun, the salty sea — each has an effect, the aging of the object. And that aging is as much to the beauty of them than anything. Eventually, they dissolve, break apart, fall away. And they are gone. Perhaps some number of weeks, in wintering storms, or months, in the calmer seasons.

Someone asked me, sometime back, why didn’t I write a book? About what, I ponder? And I believe, in a way, that it’s more to the notion of what could I contribute, meaningfully, to writing something, rather than pushing it out in some massed theorem. What could I contribue that could be meaningful? Something beauty full, I’d surmise. That would be what I could offer.

More beauty.

All ways.

tsg
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