Tuesday, May 25, 2010
A stroll down Loopy Lane.
As I clamber along the rocky beach at Indian Point I am remembering my last visit not so long ago. Then I was struck by a sense of kinship with all that existed here: the ocean shoreline, rocky beach and all the trees that cloak the steep hillside. I start again where I had left off and this time look at individual trees and rocks. It is one thing to feel a general sense of kinship but to communicate from one individual to another is a true test.
Individual rocks? This really is a stroll down Loopy Lane. The rocks I am carefully negotiating along the beach are so pervasive, underfoot, that it is a much bigger stretch of relationship than an otter, or the almost human ‘skin’ of an arbutus tree. Rocks do not think, grow, feel anything, are the basic definition of inanimate so why even try to reach that far. Never-the-less, a leap into the unknown is always a fertile act for me so I begin to photograph the rock beneath my feet. This rock on the point is the same type as that at my home, a very hard metamorphic volcanic ash with streaks of white quartz running through it. A long time ago all this was laid down beneath the sea, folded, eroded and still it is here during my brief lifetime to look back at me through the camera`s lens.
With my new mind-set I see three jagged boulders lying side by side and the angle of sunlight picks out some definite human facial features. Here are three old men sitting on a bench before the village post office trading gossip from a half millenium ago. Click. I have done the easy first step, made them human. Just over the next rock ridge is a rounded granite boulder, unrelated to the bedrock it rests upon. A mere blink of geological time, ten thousand years or so, saw this rock carried by a glacier and, when the ice eventually melted, ushering in the next warmer period (that we consider normal), it was left behind as a glacial erratic. I walk casually down to the low tide line, turn, and catch it unawares. I have photographed this particular rock before, as part of a larger scene, but now I make the leap to a rocky candid portrait. Farther down the beach with my eyes now prepared for it I find a grey, quartz streaked, massive piece of the bedrock tipped on edge and balancing over a cleft. Finally, I simply see it for what it is and take its portrait. Every rock I see from now on will show its individual self, the beach and I have made the transition.