Saturday, November 27, 2010

Less concerned with place as residence (now that I live in a town that I love), place is becoming more of an inspiration; and not one that necessarily leads to a specific piece of art, but one that inspires me to keep looking.

Walker Percy wrote in The Moviegoer that "The search is what everyone would undertake if he were not stuck in the everydayness of his own life. To be aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair."

I think I've gone beyond just being aware of the possibility of the search. Just three short years back, my search was about my place. But Percy's words make me consider something else. What does search really mean? Is it an exploration? A study? Travel? What do we search for? Truth? Peace? Knowledge? Purpose? Wisdom? Or do we search for all of those things? I want all those things. But inspiration is what I really search for, and it is one word that can cover the rest.

Any place can inspire. Micro and macro views can inspire. My tendency has been to lean down into the micro, but with frequent travel, I also see the macro. Water is an example. I engage with the patterns, such as those created by the ice and water in the image above. By the sky-colored reflections. How does this inspire me, though? It inspires me to keep looking, to really pay attention. And so I look up, out, and beyond.

It's back to water again. I'm in Maine right now, on a lake, and the lake inspires me every day to come stand at its shore. To look at the macro view. To absorb it. To make it mine, somehow. The first few days I failed. I stood by the lake, watching the wind change the water patterns, listening to the water rolling up on the shore. But I walked away those first few days thinking that I hadn't done enough. I wasn't sure what it was I should do, but the lake inspired me to keep paying attention. Today is the first day that I walked back to the cabin from the lake fulfilled. What did I do differently? I stood still much longer than usual. I closed my eyes and listened to the wind spread fog and snow onto the lake. I watched the weather change over the lake. I stared into the center of the lake.

I respected the lake as I would an elder. The lake asked nothing of me but that. I wanted to hug the lake, but I could do that better in the summer and splashing water within the lake. I wanted my spirit full of the lake. I stood still much longer than usual until I could feel that. And so I'm inspired to keep going back. And so I'm inspired to keep paying careful attention to the micro and macro. And so I'm searching for more inspirations of the same. I guess I've just stated that, for me, it's not just any place that can inspire; it's the natural places that do it best. However, I don't really want to ignore all places because that might mean my search wasn't real.