I concede for the Official Record that my web-publishing choices are often eccentric and idiosyncratic. After all, a post featuring four closeups of a vine-adorned, chain-link fence shot one blue-sky day in Charleston, West Virginia — and rendered all in blacks, whites, and greys — is not ever going to be an algorithmic barn-burner on the ‘Did you see this?!?’ interwebs.
Still. The T.E. Hulme quote (above) gets at something essential. A small thing, an unconventional view or a dry-as-bone chainlink fence might be just as much an aesthetic encounter with beauty as the theatrical sunset, a tea-rose in all its glory, or a fetching face.
To be honest, I was not intending to freeze-frame the hundred nuances of light and shadow these fence closeups reveal. (Click them bigger to see what I mean and thanks again, Sir Jobs, for slipping a high-end camera in my pocket in iPhone 7 form). I was, instead, seeking to capture the top-half signature of an 18-wheeler passing on the interstate before getting in my car out back of Capitol Market.
For updates on new essays, poems, diatribes, photo essays, experimental videos & sorta memoir excerpts, subscribe to this site’s free e-mail newsletter: TheStoryIsTheThing.substack.com
When I eyeballed the photos later I was pleased to find these unexpected still-life portraits of the reciprocity of sunlight and shadow. They play out against the knotted, tensile strength of rigid fingerlings of chainlink, while nature’s own viney fingers interlace with this net of human steeliness. These vines seem like delicate visitors, tentatively climbing, link by link by link. Yet isn’t it the case that Mother Nature’s lightest touch can also be a bear claw’s crushing death grip over time? Give it half-a-century and these vines will overwhelm this wall of metal. And — eventually — bring it completely to heel.
We do not have dominion over Nature (much as dominionists and other creation hogs may love to believe). We are instead part of a multiplex story. A linkage, speaking of things that link up, one to the other, next to next. A quantum net. I fully expect the human portion of Nature’s intricate, sinuous web will be overthrown and we’ll be brought to heel ourselves before the existence of this great web of being is ever truly threatened with annihilation.
If we don’t get our chainlinks right, that is.
Men who chop down mountains,
Who eat a forest whole,
Are like the blind pickpocket.
Blank to what they stole.
(from “EPIGRAMMAR: Short Poems and Epigrams for a Post-Dow Industrial, Anti-Delusional Age,” by Douglas John Imbrogno (1997, by A-OK POETRY Press)