A red radish from the Haupt garden.
A red elephant on its way to Colorado.

Southern Intarsia

Part I

The gap between “don’t” and “look” isolates “look” so that we experience it as a subliminal positive.

Memory is a current event, not a recall. We poetically situate memory as a tendril reaching backwards to yesterday, but in fact it is a construction in the present. This is not to descend into relativity. The present does not erase past realities, but it also does not conjure it. What we conjure when we “re-member” is a collection of current sensations.

In “The Liturgy of the Dominican Constitutions: Frescoes in the Cloisters of San Marco,” William Hood writes that there are no “story-telling” scenes in the paintings, that there is no attempt to “integrate the past with the present.” The Mocking of Christ is remarkable in this regard as intentionally disembodied hands and head spit at the blindfolded seated figure of Christ as though the not-Christ does not warrant more than implication. Here, not even the present integrates with the present.

In my art historical naiveté, I thought that the missing fragments of torso and limbs had been lost to time and that the visual information had been irretrievable to contemporary restorers. In fact, Fra Angelico omitted the material from the beginning so, in this context, the notion of “being lost to time” seems a saccharine self-indulgence. I was mourning the deterioration of a master’s work when in fact no one had died. But then, The Mocking of Christ presents a kind of death. The death of the beginning, middle, and end. The death of narrative. Fra Angelico may have been the first Modernist. God in the figure of Christ (here seated in a royal pose with orb and staff, not humbled on the cross) is situated as the great “I am”, as most immediate.

The Meeting House

Pleasureville, Henry County, Kentucky
 Saturday, November 30, 2013

While JoAnn teaches a newcomer to knit,
my mother reads Wendell Berry's The Unsettling of America:

". . .if we conceive of a culture as one body, which it is, we see that all of its disciplines are everybody's business, and that the proper university product is therefore not the whittled-down, isolated mentality of expertise, but a mind competent in all its concerns. To such a mind it would be clear that there are agricultural disciplines that have nothing to do with crop production, just as there are agricultural obligations that belong to people who are not farmers."

  Raise high the roofbeams!


Angie, JoAnn, and me:


This past Saturday, I went back to Henry County, KY
to see JoAnn, the Meetinghouse, and the sheep.

I went with my mom and Angie Davis: