Thursday, April 24, 2008
A new lithograph. "Flock".
There's a story that was translated to me a few years ago.
When Adam's old friend Dave moved from the relatively crowded North Fork of Long Island, NY out to the expansive emptiness of southern South Dakota, he and his wife bought a farm.
A 60-acre farm, if my memory serves me. On a hill so that you couldn't see any neighbors, and the vastness was punctuated only by the wild thistle and the leaning out-buildings that came, part-and-parcel, with the house.
The acreage in the front of the plot allows for the kind of privacy where you can feel free to hang your laundry completely naked. A space where you can have bon-fires that no one will see, where you can build intricate found-object sculptures that obstruct all your entrances and no one will shake their head in wonderment. It's that solitary and that vast.
Soon after buying the place, Dave went walking in the fields with his father-in-law. They were surveying the land and taking in the small noises that fill up large spaces. These small noises were the buzzing noises of biting insects, the rustling noises of small mammals burrowing in the grasses, the feathery noises of the occasional barn swallow dividing air with their wings. They were about to head back for dinner when faintly, far off, another noise came. Like a rumbling engine in the distance, the feeling of a storm just beyond the line drawn to indicate the horizon.
And then they were there. At first they were simply scattered dark spots, like a few ants moving on a kitchen floor. Soon, the spots clumped to form dark shapes, their individual bodies became solid masses of dense vibration. Dave felt like he was watching a pointalist painting take shape in front of him, disparate dots converging to make pictures in the sky.
The birds, in dense migration, filled all that new vastness with sound- an undulating black mass, a shock of electric pulse. The mass blotted out the paleness of the late October sky. Someone had taken a bottle of ink and spilled it across the blank page of the evening. The birds flew.