Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Miss Mich is enamoured of the natural world. It is true. Give me nature over artifice any day. Over the built, the contrived, the imposed.
I am a girl of simple things. Well, sort of. As long as they are beautiful, then I am in. Simple and ugly does not an aesthete make. I’m not being mean, just well, selective. Or asesthetic. Or maybe just Libran. Actually, I sound like a first class wanker. Albeit a discerning wanker.
Alright. Enough of the tosser. Let’s get down to what I am trying to share.
The Natural World.
Charles Darwin had it. Joseph Banks had it. The Victorians had it. Dr Tim Flannery has it. Gomez Adams has it in spades…
The groove of the Natural World. I am going to keep giving it capital letters. You know it deserves it.
There is nothing better (except maybe you know what), than being out in the natural world. I mean IN IT. Not innit..yeh…or innuit…although I do love snow sports.
The Libertine and I spend most weekends “Beachcombing”. He doesn’t like me giving it a title. Given his current circumstance, he is not into titles at all. And I can understand. We take that beautiful mauve puppy to a special stretch of beach that shall remain a secret and walk and search for treasure. Such treasure! Seashells in the pinkest of seashell pink. Driftwood that is twisted and turned smooth by the wind and the tides. Stones that are tumbled and yet somehow homes to happy crustaceans. Carapaces of crabs and lobsters and all manner of examples of the exoskeleton. Coral that is surrendered by the reef and left to be discovered by me…
I collect these things. I cannot help it. I am compelled to. I search and I sift and I cull and end up with trinkets of the sea and shore. The Cottage is becoming somewhat overrun by the detritus given up. I assemble these bits into arrangements that amuse me. I carefully put together bits of things that once were real and yet are now still vivid despite the fact that in some cases they are mere fragments of their former selves.
A bit like the Victorian diorama. One of my favourite things ever. A folly in a box. A world in a box.
According to John Kean, Dioramas are enigmatic artefacts hovering enticingly between reality and illusion. The surreal stillness of the recreated natural environment paradoxically shrouds the very chaos of nature that the diorama purported to represent, and which today renders them rather archaic interpretive strategies. The 'frozen moment' is now seen to be a profoundly limited take on nature.
Whilst that may be so on the one hand, I like to think of the diorama as a keyhole view into what may have been. In a perfect world. The dollhouse view if you like. All of us as children played games where we made our own reality. Made our characters behave in a certain way to achieve a certain outcome. The diorama is no different really.
My bedroom and The Libertine are the perfect diorama. The world that exists there is a perfect world. One of completeness. One of perfection. Step outside and sadly it’s a bit like a snow dome. It starts to shake and the snow obscures the view. And the truth.
But enough of that.
I was walking that beautiful mauve puppy along the beach at Trinity just this morning and the natural world was at its heartbreakingly best. The sky was colouring pink and orange and red. A portent of rain. The light was making the surface of the water liquid and then the fish started jumping. Summertime…..and the living is easy…I couldn’t help myself. I promise you, the fish were jumping for joy. It was extraordinary. I have seen dolphins, and even a beached dugong, God love it. But these simple little fish were so sweet and so full of joie de vivre that to be honest, they eclipsed the flashier creatures by their simple joy. The puppy and I stood and watched as they flipped and skipped across the surface of the sea. Maybe they were being chased by something bigger, something more sinister that lurked beneath the surface. But maybe it was a Diorama moment and in that perfect world they were just having a really good time.
I prefer to ignore the sinister undercurrent. Even though I am pursued by my own. I will not capitulate to coercion. And I will continue to live in my own diorama. Call me Pollyanna. Call me foolish. I don’t care.
For every morning I watch the natural world wake and wake with it, it is worth the risk.