Art, plants, the world, and death

Weidenblume is down. The canopy of willow that once tessellation fractals through an enveloping dome no longer stands.

It was sick. The collective of Sanfte Strukturen that created the piece must be lamenting its death. It is likely uncommon that their pieces are deconstructed, likely that their pieces cannot grow, likely that where they once bound the tree limbs into our constructions of shapes and graphic elements, likely that they knew the environments, the tunnels, the domes, the houses that they built would come down.

It is odd getting over the death of a plant. With a pet you can converse, you interact in a way that you know it cares about you or knows that you are caring for it, but did Weidenblume? Did the willow know when it was transplanted, when it was tied together, and when the metal birds that sat among its leaves were put into place, that it was of its own accord or volition?

A chemical, were it sentient, would know the exact time of its death, but parts of nature that are less predictable, less stable do not. While the half life does not creep up, while it cannot choke, while it cannot strangle a small compound, moss, molds, parasites, creatures, and forces of mother nature can take down the most magnificent of redwood trees.
An ecosystem can predict large forces that blight it, can predict that the birds are going to flee, that the army ants are going to crawl away, and that there is a slow death encroaching on it.

But can a living art piece? Did the pieces of patrick dougherty know that decay was inevitable? Does any plant know that it is dying? Does the world?

The death of trained organic material, not quite conscious may creep up. A bonsai tree may know that it has limited room for growth and is being trained. A bamboo may know that it has a limited time in a Chinese restaurant, but what of the art? What of the world?

Does the world know we are killing it?


The Bog (Leave No Trace)

In the deep Poudre, past the narrows, the beer shop was just a blur on the left.  Maybe I’m half way to Steamboat.  I don’t really know where I am, the deep Poudre as a description is more than satisfying.  We are here in the shade of this chalk stained boulder, perching on the layer of white ice over the slush.

I remember as a child being told to leave no trace, but there are white finger prints up and down this face.  It is the only indication of humanity that I can see, but I know that through the trees there are footfalls on the frozen river, the road on the bank.

The great hypocrisy.  I wish I didn’t have to remember it was there.  I want to be among a humanless nature.  But I am here.  It makes me wonder about the place that I am working to make mine.  I’m afraid to take too much of myself there.

Leave no trace.

Even footsteps from rubber soles seem too unfamiliar.  So, here we take our shoes off, leaving our toes pink with cold, and we step carefully between the ground cacti and pine needles.

I guess the chalk will blow away in the wind soon enough.


Day Parking Only

“Why do you only call me when you’re drunk?”

“Why do you only call me when you’re high?”

All my friends are tired of listening to me rant on and on and on about the same problems. Are they problems? or is it just the wind passing by, scattering dust?

I’m living through it, not in it.

Silence is golden, the wind is blue; sit long enough in both and I turned green, greener than the valleys at dawn. His eyes are greener than the valleys at dawn. A whole sun focused and burning, a dilated pupil in the sky, and it still isn’t shining; it just feels that way.

I didn’t realize how much the weather mattered until I moved out West, until my dad called mentioning the weather here. Always here, always here. Never there, home. “But Dad, the grass is always greener…” he huffed into the mic. But Dad, but Dad, the grass here is dead and dying and he tells me he’s jealous. Green with envy.

“That road trip was for the both of us.”

A raging river, a raging heart. Four walls don’t make a home. the thought of me dying.

Green with envy. “That road trip was for the both of us.”

Green with envy, tears are always pure. only day parking. Forgive me father, that my suicidal detour through Orlando’s downtown and Dothan’s inner circle, was a nostalgic reminder of your past. It’s still raging, that river; but I can stand on the rocks that used to drown. This is what fresh air feels like.

I dreamt of driving over the edge. It was around the corner from Kelly’s Rock, where I found that one rock. Do you remember? We didn’t hike any farther than the fence.

I will spend forever remembering your eyes in the wood grain. Keyona always loved sunflowers, but her eyes, her eyes, her eyes, never fully looked at mine. Sitting in the dark, we drank wine under a ceiling fan. The sun stared hard at my back.

Some things weren’t meant to have names. There is a fullness in my mouth where gravity seeps through. A grain of sand that weighs a ton and it’s forming into a pearl and I still try to find the right words.

Day parking only, nobody wants to listen to me rant on and on and on about the same problems. “You should smile more, you look prettier when you smile.” But love isn’t a problem. It’s the unsettled dust in a heart that’s still beating, moving, breathing, and breaking. I am beating, moving, breathing,


I dreamt of driving over the edge, I dreamt of a gun in my mouth. Raging.

Some things weren’t meant to have names. Silence is golden, the wind is blue; sit long enough in both and I turned green, greener than the valleys at dawn. A heart full of green but I do not care for anything more than the

now here.

A whole sun focused and burning, a dilated pupil in the sky, and it still isn’t shining; it just feels that way. A gift without a condition, a sincere thing that can’t help but radiate and be heavy. Say what you mean, mean what you say.

It’ll all be taken out of context anyway.


Breathing Grounds: A #4



Feeling overwhelmed by the constant droning of the television, I decide to up and leave the couch, allowing an indent of my unmoving body to take my place. I am now sitting under a giant tree. It’s dark outside, but the moonlight is just illuminating enough to light up the large branches above me, wrapping into a hug. I will not be attacked out here, I have my tree, I tell myself over and over. The cold while undeniably present, restrains its bite into a light nuzzle. I plant my hands into the ground, picking away at the dead pine needles until I feel dirt creep under my fingernails.


After understanding the tree as she is rightside up, I decide to change my perspective. I rest my back on the ground above her roots. She shifts into a kaleidoscope of stretching arms, tendriling fingers, crawling bark. In the gaps between her limbs I catch glimpses of the sky. Clouds meander their way across the globe, occasionally lingering when they meet the moon. I force my back to be as flat as possible against the Earth, ignoring the pricks of the Earth, and I close my eyes. I take a deep breath in. I swear I feel the ground swell up and deflate with the movement of my belly. Eyes open.


I move my head so that my cheek rests on the dead grass. I pay close attention to the crumpling leaves. I breath in, and a gust of wind so slight I don’t even feel it causes a twitch among the leaf congregation. I wonder how alive a dead leaf can be.


I lay like this, watching my place exist, allowing myself to exist with her.


Stored in mind, I carry this image of a barren oak, its vibrancy replaced by punctuation. This tree is not beautiful, but haunting, always looming in the abandoned field. If it were to symbolize anything, it’d be entropy, decay back into the swaying brush, the arid soil. And yet, this image holds a meaning for myself; I remain fearful of its instability, but admire its fall into shadow existence.

Whenever I walk, I find a tree. I don’t set out to find any particular one, but I end up stumbling beneath a towering monolith, its arms stretching into the sky. Bare or blossoming, it commands respect.

I place my hand upon the bark, dragging my skin across its surface. I clasp the ridges of carved armor. This vessel I call a tree, never yields to my touch, and it’s no wonder; the damn thing never yields at all. I know its impermanence, but it stretches the years with grace.

I have seen snow weigh upon its branches, wind strip it of youthful buds, children rob it of it of its armor.

I can see the years have not been kind. Branches have fallen, patches refuse to grow, and the scars remain embedded into its flesh.

But every fall, the tree sheds itself for winter. The bountiful leaves, refreshing in spring, mourned in the fall tumble to the piles below. I trample beneath its arms, bidding this splendor farewell. I smile at the glowing remnants of an ever coming event.

A#4 Wherefore Art Thou Spring Break??

I needed this.

Preparing for midterms has felt like preparing for a winter storm. Being from Texas we don’t have “red shovel days” like 9News in Denver, instead we have ‘grocery store panic days’. If there is even a hint that Dallas may be getting snow everyone hops in their cars and rushes to the grocery store, stocking up on water and bread, emptying the shelves- an overpreparation to ease the mind. Studying for my midterms feels a little like this. I’m frantically gathering information I may or may not need, in preparation for something I have no control over to a certain extent.

It’s nice to be out here, where I am reminded of the trivial. As important as these midterms are, they hold no weight compared to what the Earth can offer. The reward of a good grade shrinks in the face of the Earth, becomes minuscule.

Im borrowing the support of two large trees, hanging over the dry winter cove. I can’t help but ponder if I I’m hurting the trees. I lay my hammock straps smoothly around their trunks, each tree more than large enough to hold my weight, but I still can’t help but wonder…

During most of the summer months Horsetooth will creep up into the cove, filling the space between the two trees with sparkling water. My four year old Golden Retriever- Great Pyrenee mix, Luna, glides through the water during these months, cooling off in the shaded water. During the winter however, she warms herself on the sunny rocks surrounding the cove.

If only we could stay here forever.

I went for a walk away

I went for a walk,  away

from the city  west along

the creekside but not before

long, I had to stop  short

of the bank on the farside

sat geese gaggle’d around trash

snaggled in the scrub brush  slowly

the water moved  still slightly

frozen – but sounded flowing from

the geese’s commotion  as I

left walking west, the geese flew

too flocking east

I followed

the breeze

`            along the banks


around the trees

over the

reeds and beyond

where the water


the starving creek mouth


a glimpse of green struck my eye

and lured me inside the concert hall

to see an elegant ballet, a pas de deux

as if on display for only me  I

watched the delicate dance unfold

from unraveled hips to swift dabbled

dips under the dimming dramahall

light  until at once the paired

dancers took flight  west

I continued to


until the smell






when the wind’s whisper turned

to howl, the clap and crack of the

canopy above emulated blistering red

reflections  I turned, hit the button

and waited for the white pedestrian.