Beauty sweet enough to make you cry. Fear and joy. A world of grace and surrender. This is the new show Varekai at Cirque du Soleil.
Every day, I admire the beauty of nature, but last night I fell under the spell of something more sublime than what nature can offer. Nature is. It exists. Animals and birds exist for their own sake, they survive, environments thrive or don't. But man creating art purely for the sake of adding beauty to the world -- that cultural beauty is more stunning.
Watching the show I sat in awe of the forms as the artists leapt through the air, disappeared into holes in the floor; interlocking human forms engaged on a swinging trapeze; a single man twisting in sweet undulations on a sheet of woven rope hanging in the center of the tent; illusory fireflies dancing throughout the darkened arena; and a final orgiastic dance of flying men and women flung from seesaws into outstretched sails. This morning, the images play in my mind, but more than that they have marked my soul. Looking out the window watching simple crows rise in a thermal, and reaching the top, glide out across the treetops below me has been transformed into a dance, a work of art that engages my heart.
The same birds in the same flight yesterday were beautiful to watch, but there is an added layer today in my seeing. It's not a new idea that nature would not be beautiful without the addition of man, that there is a greater beauty in the culture that exists at the intersection of man with nature, but until now I didn't know this. Now I do.
[thank you to Katt and BloggyOpinions.com for their generous review of field-notes]
posted by Lisa Thompson on 9:23 AM link | comments 
You have to get off the beaten track to find skulls. I've got four of them on my mantle, all found when I ventured off-trail in pursuit of mushrooms, shortcuts or solitude. Deers are different, they're often found dead trailside because the carcass is simply too big to be carried away to a more private place for eating, and besides, mountian lions are the highest order of the food chain around here so why bother hiding. Last week we found a deer by a well-populated trail that was stripped of flesh and whose ribs were broken indicating that it was a mountain lion kill. A very graphic reminder: a lion was here.
But I'm more interested in the smaller skulls. I think the skulls I've got are a river otter, a skunk or badger, a fox and some kind of gull. I'll let you know when I get positive id's.
I'm surprised that my friends and I don't find more skulls. A day doesn't go by here that I don't see at least one bird of prey; they eat often and have been doing so for eons, the ground should be covered with skulls, the ground should crunch with them. I need to find the roosts for owls and hawks and prowl around under them.
Friday we attended the Skull Exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate park. Thousands of skulls, from a tiny shrew to an elephant.
Skulls fascinate: at once a sign of life and of death. To hold in one's hands the fragile remainder of a wild being that has come and gone is to be reminded of the steady progression of life -- one generation following on the heels of another, slowly changing, giving way to the forces of time. The skull reminds us of the the slip of time we inhabit; the mineral composition we share with the rock under our feet; the biology that we forget in the rush to make a mark or to take our pleasure from the culture. In the end, a skull is only a temporary mark on our passing, for given enough time, that too will find its place in the earth.
posted by Lisa Thompson on 5:20 PM link | comments 
Copyright 2003 Lisa Thompson. All Rights Reserved.