Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weymouth Woods 100k Trail Race, a preface and an aesthetic arguement.


Zeno's paradox, zendo of sand and long-leaf pine, the final passages of a blog.

I've been immersed in a strange, echo-layered existence of deja vu for a few weeks now. Nostalgia and reflective pause filter my thoughts sepia, washy technicolor. . . life like a rediscovered, bentcorner photograph, a bending into the past, a begging for a younger time.  its the paradigm of winter, really; distorted & false. sentiment and grovel.  a coffee-stained life, overexposed, overanalyzed.. . . like an artist working an image. . . . memory peels back the layered grounds, grinds down pigments, distorts contours, extracts an essence and makes prominent certain details. In spaces where a face once smiled towards a bird feeder, or a black bike leaned on a boat, there is only a textured-vinyl background yellowing. A skew of the facts. Exhaustion.  Anyway.

Running through the woods of cabarrus county, chasing the tiny sounds of snakes and birds, following the anemic splashes of five-mile creek. . . a filthy creek, but it meekly trickled, sulfuric and beer-canned, unabated. filthy was just the way the creek was, neither good nor bad to a child's understanding.  Water.  A place to play. We would swim there on occasion, a small fish or black snake swimming by. Bamboo thickets. Red clay. Roots like mad hands reaching out of the steep river banks. The long shadows swallowing the thick leaves that never seemed to decay. sweet oak scent. The cracking and shuffling of my steps.
It is probably in those woods that my love of running began. I spent hours in those woods as a young boy.  Solitude and exploration, the prominent traits of a runner or an artist, are embedded here.  From my love of being in the woods came a love of hikes, then the freedom to run down a mountain, an intoxicating thing, a self-reliant act, a collaboration of earth and body. My love for running down a mountain remains, but with age, you also learn to run up the mountain, to savor the work. To build on the work.

Fast forward to the years beyond cobblestoned cannon village, the smokey seats of gem theater, smells of axle grease/ sweat at earl's tire, shotguns trained on dove in rural concord fields, the wild splash of catfish at paul's lake, the doppler roll of summer halfpipes, virginia amtrack stations and the phillips & the hirshhorn, prague and west berlin, stravinsky and picasso, hemingway and modigliani, coltrane & mingus, a midnight collapse in a greensboro club, lost paintings, college flunk outs, strippers in atlanta with an armful of ecstacy, deaths and births, mushrooms of florida, loves and loss, farming tomatoes in the mountains, strolling galleries in asheville, ER and ache, the stomachknots of hate during intervals of detox, various other failures, various other happenings. . . the tragic magic of existence. Insomniac eyes that bled and craved; eyes turned inward, anger turned inwards. Life turned inward. Eyes riddled with fear, anxiety, panic, lost breath, the vicious collapse of reason. Paint, a whole love, a Love Intact, a boy that once gave freely, that feared little, that laughed heartily, that embraced. a boy like any boy:  nothing special but the fact of his existence, which is an absolute diamond-marvel.
 
But here approaches a culmination of work and love and life with a trail race of 100km, a horrorshow of struggle and a series of miracles equivalent to anyone else's life.  ultimately, the 100k is the thrust of my belief, it is a duchampian happening, a kinetic installation, a self-portrait.  an alchemy and a restoration.

I fully intend on finishing, I would like to make between ten and eleven hours, and I would like to continue running after a few days of rest. my mind reels the distance into a zeno paradox, and if I can stay in the act of the stride, the mile-to-mile part of it, the loop-to-loop, if i can sustain a belief in the mental/spiritual journey behind the musclework (which is only the vehicle, like linseed oil or a train or an instrument), and remain in the act of enduring, then I will finish a 100 km trail race.

in conclusion, to run is a very natural thing.  to paint is to compose, to embellish, to dramatize.  art is a sociological-psychological thing. myth exists in these two acts, but at very different levels of the work.  to engage in the more primal act is more certain an honest labor. and running is primal, innate, instinctual, a gut-level burn.  running is a communion of body and ground, of mind and legs, of distance and silence. painting is a soloist act, a zarathustrian trapezist. art is a propaganda (especially in a contemporary art market) while running is a meditation.
for now, i prefer running, though i still enjoy the oiley dry drag of a charcoal vine as it bites black into a thin layer of zinc-white gesso. meanwhile, wherever the burn goes. . . to weymouth.

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