Monday, September 19, 2011
One Burns High
I just hung an etching on my wall—a little one by Nancy Dahlstrom, “One Burns High.” It’s a darkish print with trees barely visible in the background, and in the center is a burning stand of pampas grass. Last summer I was at Nancy’s home studio and had a hard time picking out a piece; I chose this one at the time because it seemed both simple and to possess a kind of mythic power.
So long as Western culture endures, a burning bush alone in a wilderness will always have built-in power. It will speak to us.
But I also think that I had some kind of sympathy with those burning grasses. To burn, all alone, even if no one ever notices (i. e. even if only three people buy my book) is beautiful. Even though I am gregarious and have a great love for people, I do not wish to “fit in.” What I go on wanting is to do work that matters. To stand for something worthy: to become worthy.