Monday, November 17, 2014

Swimmers Splashing


Swimmers Splashing by Sandy Kinnee |


What I wish to say is how John Cage became a life long influence, how he rubbed off onto me.
I knew who John Cage was when I was a kid. His famous piano piece, in which the pianist just sits at the piano for four minutes and thirty-three seconds, was as ear opening to me as Robert Rauschenberg’s “Erased de Kooning Drawing” was eye opening. In both cases, the singular work seemed to live conceptually. One didn’t need to look at an erased drawing or sit in a concert hall and listen to a piano not being played. But that was the me as a kid.
Swimmers Splashing is a collection of my recent writing, juxtaposed with details of my 2014 Carnac paintings.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Ponderosa Pine Next To The House

 The Ponderosa Pine Next To The House

There is sawdust and wood chips on the roof, in the 
same way the snow collected there months ago and the year 
before that and a long number of winters 
before the sawdust.
The house is well over a hundred years old 
and the girl who dug a little hole for 
a pine seedling is long gone.

The tree is now gone.  
Twenty-one days of rains saturated the soil 
and high winds rocked the tree until 
it was tilting like a tipsy drunk 
imitating a tower in Pisa. 
Gravity had taken over and the tree was going to fall. 
It was a matter of hours.






The Ponderosa Pin Next To The House.


There is sawdust and wood chips on the roof, in the same way the snow collected there months ago and the year before that and a long string of winters before this or any sawdust settled here.  The house is well over a hundred years old and the girl who dug a little hole for a pine seedling is long gone.

The tree is now gone.  Twenty-one days of rains saturated the soil and high winds rocked the tree until it was tilting like a tipsy drunk, imitating a particular tower in Pisa. Gravity had taken over and the tree was going to fall. It was only a matter of hours.

I suppose this is about a Ponderosa pine tree
I suppose it is about three little girls

The first little girl asked her daddy if she could plant the pine tree in the yard. She did, digging a little hole for for the seedling about two feet from the brick wall, just below the kitchen window.  She watered it and took care of her little tree and it grew as she did.
The tree kept growing.  It was still a young pine tree when the little girl became an old woman. Possibly she said good bye to her tree before she left that final time.  I like to think she did. I’d like to believe the tree shook it’s long needles for her.

Count the rings

How sweet the scent of the wood and gum released when the branches went into the chipper and came out the other side.  A fragrance so basic that strangers knew this was a special tree.

Count the rings, back from the outside until you reach 34, when another girl came along. She watched her cat chase squirrels up and down the trunk.
Standing at the kitchen sink, filling a glass from the faucet, she looked through the window and marveled at how the morning light illuminated the red bark or how the shadows at dinner time animated the valleys between the islands of bark. Or how the sunset caused an orange glow as if the tree was more than a big plant, but a friend happy to see her.

There is no more counting of the rings for the third little girl who by chance is the same age as the one who planted this tree.  This little girl points up at the man wearing an orange shirt. He has a blue hard hat, safety goggles, and muffs over his ears. “That’s my daddy!” He rides in a bucket and uses a chainsaw like a surgeon or musician.  Her daddy knows trees and he loves what he does. 
        
It is strange to go out the front door and down the steps to retrieve the morning news and not see the big pine tree overhead.