Before California, I'd lived in rural Arkansas. When we decided to leave there in 1985, we'd had to borrow money from my father just to buy the gas to reach San Francisco, and make a deposit on the first and last month's rent. I had mixed feelings about the move (to put it mildly), and I remember my father's saying, by way of encouragement, "It doesn't really matter where you live." I never understood that and have puzzled about it ever since. It's possible that little matters more to me than where I am.
One morning early this month, an artist on Facebook posted this photo of the ground where he lives, in Georgia, wet with spring rain.
|Tim Hunter (Georgia)|
That orange puddle gave me a thrill. One of the things I love about where I now live is the color of the soil: not that beautiful orange above, but a loamier red shale clay. This is how it looked early in those thawing days of spring:
I look down at the soil a lot, wherever I am. It's a way of orientation to the world, which I've wanted to incorporate into my work for some time now, the connection I feel to the ground under my feet.
I asked my friends on Facebook to contribute their own photos to this blog post, so I could have images of the spring season as shown in the soil under my friends' feet. As I might have anticipated, only a few responded - many of my friends live in cities and are probably not looking at dirt every day! Of the ones who did send me a photo, I surmised they already had photos of the ground, because they might be preoccupied with where they are, they are connected to what being there means to them, and they might even have incorporated that into their own work.
|Matthew Wong (Hong Kong)|
|Betty Tompkins (Pennsylvania)|
|Lynda Fay Braun (Florida)|
|Altoon Sultan (Vermont)|