Some of the ice I found yesterday is pure art. Here’s a fragment of ice that is acting as a prism, creating blue light out of the early morning.
These artworks looked like “lake ice” until I looked closer.
For is not art an artfulness, an artifice, a fashioning, that entails taking the material of the earth and making of it a beautiful thing, like a mechanical bird in a golden cage, or, perhaps, the earth itself?
Yes, there is a difference between that form of artifice and the wind piling up ice on the shore of the lake and breaking it apart again, when it is so cold that the water freezes up again in minutes.
They were, of course, beauty all along, but it was a different kind of beauty, one that stretched endlessly back to the Big Bang, and not a human one, all caught up with human stories and time.
Traditionally, beauty tied with time and impermanence, ah, that’s a romantic story.
But not so much of one if you consider that it’s not the human self that sees, but the earth, through humans. Sure, we’re doing the seeing, but we are of this earth.
More people viewed the space on the Louvre wall where the Mona Lisa used to hang, during its first year of absence, than ever viewed it before it was stolen: they were not looking for the painting but for an image that was not even there on the wall. Once conclusion that has been drawn from this historical curiosity is that art is a mirror, that humans look into to find their bodies. If that’s the case, this is a human:
And if that is a human, what is watching? Yes, another human, not exactly a biological one, because it is the self that does the looking, but perhaps that’s just cultural, and it really is the biological human which does the looking and the thinking human is just along for the ride.
And if that’s the case, then it really is the earth looking.
No wonder it finds this ice beautiful. The “looking” and the earth are the same, yet the “looking” makes the earth into art.
That is not only the most delightful artifice, but it reveals the “looking” as a physical act, not a cognitive one.
The looking is the ice. What it sees is the energy we call a self.
How else is a human to find itself? It draws the vastness of the world down to a tiny field of vision and animates it.
Every human is art. Human science concentrates on the energy that can be drawn out of objects or events.
Although there is no event. That’s not to say nothing happens. It does. Of course. It is to say, though, that it is all present, vast and intricate to the horizon, and beyond. That that horizon is a limit, or that the horizon is not as intricately viewed as the gravel at one’s feet, well, that’s a human limitation, a matter of seeing and looking, or, as I’ve pointed out above, art.
Maybe that’s what humans are up to, as well: taking the energy of the great falling away to stillness, called entropy, and turning it into presence, into being physical in the physical space. If that’s the case, then these words, too, are physical in a physical space.
And the recognition of story and animal intelligence and will in the following cluster of bubbles …