Sumi ink and watercolor on Arches paper
11 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches
In "Becoming phoebes," I described the satisfaction I feel when contemplating the giving over of contained corporeal energy to the rest of life. I dubbed this process "reconstitution" and, citing the essayist Edward Hoagland as a writer who "speaks to the magic of" this process, included an excerpt from his terrific book On Nature.
A week later, I picked up the most recent issue of Harper's Magazine and read Hoagland's essay "Curtain Calls," an inconsistent and rather bleak take on the contemporary state of things. I later debated the merits of Hoagland's rich pessimism with my father, and decided that older writers must be forgiven some of their bitter steepings; after all, it generally holds that older thinkers long for what once was and younger thinkers dream of what may be.
In any case, Hoagland again dedicated some lovely passages to the notion of reconstitution. In light of the recent, related post, I thought I should share them here.
"If this globe is the only heaven we have, I doubt the trip will be a long one. Downward into the seethe of soil and the sea, we landlubbers become marine again.
I believe in continuity through conductivity: that seething underpinnings of life's flash and filigree, its igniting chemistry, may, like fertilizer, appear temporarily dead, but spark across species like the electricity of empathy, or as though paralleling the posthumous alchemy of art.
Gazing out the window, I see nothing but motion, high and low - scudding clouds, swinging leaves, right down to the millipedes (if I step outside) seething in the soil. Death, be not proud. Plant me when I die so that I can seethe with them."