If there’s something that’s a predominant feature of the visual or acoustic landscape of the Far North, it’s the lack of predominant features.
A chickadee is the lone protagonist swooshing around up there. Eyeballs, with nothing much else going on, will always find him in the sky.
A blank white field is a page upon which snowmobile or moose is a transient sound and shape, an unremarkable author who passes unremembered, before leaving the page in a spiritual emptiness again. We may look upon this void and see ourselves reflected. In time and reflection, we may no longer see a mirror but a meadow, unremarkable. In yet more time, the meadow becomes less than an object; it is wholly invisible.
What Are You, Plow?
I turn the key to The Plow, but the engine does not roar. It sighs, reluctantly turning over like a dreaming bear. The Plow and I will transform the absence of stuff into stuff itself.
What shape, what image, what symbol to pull from our collective and etch into the fields of man where our consciousness might wander?
I have selected a single word to be carved into the meadow.
I have been practicing my Plowing for several lifetimes. I am a Plower, just like the I before me, and the I before him. I rise to give definition, showing paths where this is only obscurity. In days of anxiety, in a a time when breath is held and sighs wooshing around begetting yet more sighs, we need a Plow.
When the reaper is seen as someone grim, and not as a festive and welcome guide, the Plow may arrive. A force for shaping the world not along the lines that man has chosen to live by in a short-sighted construction project, but along a perfect and yet-unknown highway. The Plow can reshape and recontextualize the boundaries we are literally bound by: With care, the Plow is both the tool for building and shaping our confines and for dismantling such walls.
I pause and think of the future as still-falling snow, unresolved.
As the engine climbs the rungs from sleeping bear to roused drunk to berserking warlord, I think only of the arc and bite of the dropped blade.
I feel the wind in my hair, stiff from the cold.
The blade drops as a single word is formed from the created absence of snow and, an alarm-cry emblazoned upon the canvas, the path revealed: