Monday, January 4, 2010

A Forest Blue Moon

I celebrated New Years Eve watching the moonrise. This was a blue moon, which heralds nothing more than an attribution of special meaning to a natural world that does not fit into the 29.5 day configurations of the man made calendar.

Apparently, this common definition of a blue moon, being where two full moons occur in a calendar month, is not accurate. In the modern world of the wiki the popular mythos becomes the new reality. The more real truth is the one closest in popularity, rather than that more distant in history. This transforming of meaning is part of how post-modern subjective knowledge becomes structuralist in its teleology. Our evolving social reality will soon gain this perspective of seeing knowledge transforming in its own trajectory. It was a night of significance never-the-less. If nothing else this heralding of the new year was a spectacular sight.

My vantage point for this moment was Hester Brook Retreat, the integral ecology land conservation project in SW Australia. The stars and constellations appeared resplendent before being chased from the ever brightening sky. The forest was alive that night. A celebration of a different kind.

The reason for the post is I looked at my photos today and in the dark I had mistakenly changed exposure settings on one photo of the moonrise. The photo that resulted (below) made me recall the Howard Taylor Retrospective Exhibition Phenomena which I saw at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney some years ago shortly after his death.

His was a remarkable body of work, inspired by similar surrounds, immersed in the Northcliffe forest of equal grandeur, not more than 100 km away. Striking in its simplicity and the execution of form, light, colour in their essentialness. A quest over 50 years.

That particular reversed light image of Taylor's has stayed with me for years. In seeing it reflected in my own photo, the understanding of the ongoing engagement with that landscape, the simple inquiry into quite ordinary phenomena, reoccurred for me. Fifty years is such a short period of time to get something right.

If a blue moon occurs once every 19 months on average, I wonder how often it is we stop to take stock and see what is simply around us with a different lens, or a different setting (for that lens). Probably not more often than 'once in a blue moon'.

In the words attributed to Marcel Proust in the (again) popular (but inaccurate) re-quote "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes", which reads in translation (surprisingly also on an Icarus theme):

"... A pair of wings, a different mode of breathing, which would enable us to traverse infinite space, would in no way help us, for, if we visited Mars or Venus keeping the same senses, they would clothe in the same aspect as the things of the earth everything that we should be capable of seeing. The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is; and this we can contrive with an Elstir, with a Vinteuil; with men like these we do really fly from star to star.*

Perhaps with pause we, occasionally, may behold the universes others behold,

... to see the familiar with other eyes.

*(Source: The captive. In C. K. S. Moncrieff, R. Kilmartin, & A. Mayor (Trans.), Remembrance of things past (Vol. 3) )

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