Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Burgoyne Church.

The wooden church.

The winter sun skims just above the ridge and lights the Burgoyne Valley in a pallid cool light. I stop the car and take a stroll around a little white pioneer church sitting primly behind a picket fence. I photograph the remains of some flowers in a window, and then wander around to the plain back wall. White painted wood siding, a single leaded glass window set high in the center: nothing here, I think. Then I notice the cast shadows of bare branches. The wooden horizontal siding is patterned with a complex web of vertical stripes that reach up toward the sky.

There is a confluence here that pulls at thought. The little leaded window is made in a formal pattern that obviously came from the same curving up-reaching form of trees as are now patterning the wall. How much of our art patterns and architecture can be traced back to their roots in nature? How much of their power to touch us deeply rests in their common ground with our own elemental selves? We know that the original Stonehenge was a woodhenge, that the Parthenon`s progenitors were wooden buildings. Even this little church is built of wood. Nature has provided both the inspirational image and the materials to realize it into form.
I take the photograph and record the discovery that has been waiting for me here. How close I came to driving right past.

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