Anchors in the torrent
of our fond regard,
the ecstatics have nothing
of ropes nor chains,
no thing, after all, to be held by,
other than unplanned gasps
gladdening each startled arrival.

GENDRON JENSEN
Mayend 1997


In all my years of artistic poustinia on behalf of the wild creatures' relics, people have asked me, "Why bones?" It is no surprise our bones and those of our fellow creatures have held wonder since before human habits of naming. Classically, from ancient times, they have been held as representative of sterility, aridity and death. For me, beyond the physical fact of death, bones are portals, thresholden estuaries unto exaltation. The bones seem to verily sing, they hum with resonant mystery. Mostly hidden within while being used, when the garment of flesh falls away, there they are! Hiking and discovering the skeletons of wild creatures, I become heavy with an eerie inkling of the meteoric impact which scatters the bones out from the place of deathly departure. Relentless predators, patient scavengers and weathery elements work to pull apart bony members as droplets freed where a cast stone meets the pond's still surface.

My experience with bones goes back to age six and a half, when I first met the wee, porcelainesque skull of rodent among reeds on shores of Pokegama Lake near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. During growing years, bones sustained my curiosity. Then in summertide of 1965, I fully began engaging relics. Searching forth oftentimes I found and gathered boxes of these treasures from the fields, forests and lakeshores surrounding property of Benedictine abbey in Southern Wisconsin where I worked in the abbey printshop. At the same time, during what were four years of quasi-eremitical life style, I taught myself to draw and have never stopped. From that beginning, over a decade was consciously devoted to resolutely draw one single relic on a given page. In early 1978, I drew comingling of turtle bones, braving configuration for the first time.

Almost half of my time past constraints governing knitness of their anatomical origins, is spent mutely hefting and brooding over and within the bones. When I find what I call the sacred bearings, I fix them into oiled clay mountings, then begin the pilgrim journey of drawing images which result from musings. If we but look into, inexhaustibly vital glories await our wondering gaze. We do look forth within our surroundings through bioptical arms of embrace. Our two yearning eyes reach out, opening unto all which realms the seeable. My heartfelt sharings are the resulting drawings, idealizations of the found forms. With them, I yearn to bring back echoes of what I am lavishly privileged to behold.

My one ardent expression for others is to simply see and to remain open! To look within Nature! If I am allowed more than this encouragement, my only credo is within the statement which I wrote and had translated into French Language, published in Clermont-Ferrand, in the poetical chapbook, "a/r/p/a, no.33, Cahier de recherche poetique," March of 1987. Here follows this statement:


TOWARDS REFINDING THE GARDEN

There is A Glory, found of the humane spirit, enjoined honestly within the natural world. Conceding my finite place in a greater encompassment, I must refind myself as being only and actually, a part thereof. Remindful of a firm distinction between my just needs and extraneous wants, it is for me to harmoniously re-enter this Ecolsystemed Mystery.

From of old, when our early consciousness first raised risible hand, divining image upon the caverns of history's first galleries, humans have regeneratively yearned to transfigure all else which realms the seeable. In present times, while global annihilation is being blindly courted, there must arise recreative hands from all regions of this delicate planet, recalling us, now, to our truest inheritance and birthright. The responsive labour of these hands must imagine the created world, more on its own terms, yielded from all pitiful, tightfisted monstrosity.

Towards refinding The Garden, let us ever look into NATURA, instead of at NATURA, the more deeply to partake of the inexhaustibly manifold feast surrounding our wondering, yearning awareness.