By Catherine Keefe.
“…when it seems to be nature, and nature hits the mark when she contains art hidden within her. (Pseudo-Longinus, 300 CE).
I’m obsessed with foraging on my daily hikes. Feathers. Bark. Dried wild cucumber. One million years ago when my kids were toddlers, in that late afternoon witching hour when we were all were tired and hungry, we’d wander the neighborhood collecting fallen leaves and acorns, dried flowers, empty snail shells. I’d settle my daughter and son at the kitchen table with cardboard and glue, with crayons and colored pencils. They’d collage their finds while I made a quick dinner.
I thought I was doing this activity to entertain my kids, but now that they’re long grown, I still forage and collage. I write this way too, integrating evocative quotes, (you can read about my scribbling in books here); poetry lines, scientific facts, bits of history and cultural arcana in almost all of my work. I suppose it feels like the ultimate eco-friendly way to create: repurpose what exists and give it a new light. To me, this practice feels like a way of paying deep attention.
How do you pay deep attention? Today take a minute to sketch, to collect, to arrange, to make a note of something you find particularly unsettling or beautiful.
You can read the full classic text, “On the Sublime,” on the Poetry Foundation website link here. From the introduction:
“On the Sublime” examines the work of more than 50 ancient writers under the lens of the sublime, which Longinus defines as man’s ability, through feeling and words, to reach beyond the realm of the human condition into greater mystery.”
The quote I pulled out to title this post, “For art is perfect when it seems to be nature and nature hits the mark when she contains art hidden within her,” is in the first paragraph of section XXII.