From a Distance

japanese gardenI am mesmerized by looking at the world out the window of a plane. From that height, the tough realities of competition between the “I can do it” of man, and the irresistable forces of nature are evident, but the conflict is remote, the markings softened reminders of time past.

fields of grainMy favorite views are of farmers’ fields. I love the quilt-like patterns of their boundaries and irrigation circles. They belie the hard work that scratched them into the land. I notice how even small fiends cling to the banks of rivers, while those that manage further from water are larger, more solitary. Plot shapes whisper tales of inheritance and loss, but announce no longstanding illnesses nor deaths too young. Crisscrossing paths suggest friendships or shortcuts. There’s no mourning for those that lead away.


Where fields meet geology, they speak of negotiations with ancient forces: they bend to hill forms, brake at canyons, split open to tributaries and streams. They remind me of my own family’s struggles with limits that couldn’t be bargained, no matter the effort.


Yet from a plane, the painful memories of fields are not just muted. They are transformed and beautiful. We know that the lines cut deep, but from a distance they could be an artist’s charcoal sketch marks. I print these small, so you must come close. For me, they are intimate histories, embedded with time.