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May 17 2022
We’ve never been good with heights; so the confidence of our attitude during the whole of the climb was mystifying — something besides will was pushing — though if we are being frank, very little of human life is willed — right? Heart, lungs, the precise fading/persistence of memories… not a lot of choice there…
Anyway… we took a break at what was probably a little over the halfway point. We had no water and there was no shade, at around 95 degrees. We nestled sweatily and a little shakily into a rock nook, next to a solitary juniper — really just a single meter long branch with a Dr. Suess-like tuft of green at the end.
Shielding the sun, with a flat hand above our eyes, we looked out at the radiating miles of flat wash land, cut by the zipper of asphalt that led to the Puente Santo mountains. We thought we could still hear a little accordion music from the copse of Palo Blanco trees below; but the sound was more like a distant tinkling of bells.
At the base of the small juniper was wrapped a torn, white strip of gauze, like a bandage around a bony wrist — the sight of it brought to mind a long forgotten, extremely strange memory — a remembrance right on the cusp of feeling like a dream — but it for sure happened.
When we were about 10, we were eating cereal at the kitchen table before school. Our mother was standing at the counter reading. When all of a sudden we heard Liz (our sister) yelling from the bathroom above:
“Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”
“Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”
We ran upstairs to find her lying straight in the bathtub, shower on, crossed arms and her towel tied in an odd loin cloth fashion around her waist. Our mother grabbed her and shook her, trying to wake her from the trance.
“Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”
Worse, our greyhound Peter was sort of pressed into the corner, by the toilet, standing on two legs, disturbingly anthropomorphic and Anubis-like — having some sort of seizure. When our mother finally broke Liz from her stupor, Peter simultaneously fell to the floor.
Our sister didn’t go to school for the rest of the week and slept in our mother’s room for a month. The strangest part of all though, was that for three days after the incident we were inundated with mail. But not just random junk stuffs, but books, magazines, scholarly journals, etc. all dealing with the theme of ancient Egypt. Really, just mountains of material on Egyptian art and history. There must have been every Egyptological publication piled high on the living room carpet.
Our mother had to go to the post office to terminate our service. But neither the publishers or the post office manager could explain how all of it was addressed and routed to a random house in the Las Jorgas suburbs.
Since the sun was lowering with steadiness, we thought it best to return to our climb.
Stiffly we turned back to the stone face, and looked up to plan the rest of the trip upwards.
(End of Part II)
Sites in Use
Looking at Sarah Sitkin’s highly affecting, puddling, blooming, grizzled flesh piles (like some sort of dimensional conversation between Picasso, Leatherface and Roger Caillois) — we were reminded of Jim Woodring talking about his experience with salvia divinorum: “It makes your body feel like it’s turning into a set of gears which are grinding into each other… like my mind was plucking at the surface of reality — just plucking at it like a dead man plucking at the coverlet… the world was ripped off of itself and I saw what was underneath…”
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Shops on Cargo
An offering of pieces and projects from around the web.
Don Paterson, Why do you stay up so late?, 2009
Ane Graff Exhibition at Kunstinstituut Melly, 2022
Diego Diapolo, Cryonics, 2020
Sterling Ruby Exhibition at Sprüth Magers, 2020
Bernhard Willhelm, Spring/ Summer, 2009
Of both the Tarot and the I Ching, we asked the following:
This might be quite personal, but of course the highly personal can have broad utility, as often what seems specific to oneself is generally true — just not talked about. But alas, we’ll see… Something that has been persistent in our psychology for many years is the thought of suicide. This week we ask the oracle what is its wisdom regarding the subject of self-termination.
First, nothing stays the same — this may be cold comfort in times of extreme difficulty or protracted anguish — and certainly life’s endless reorderings may actually be the source of one’s desire for oblivion. But decisions of finality must be made keeping change in mind.
One’s life here is not permanent under any circumstance, whether that be by one’s own hand or by old age. Listen to your emotions as you reread that sentence.
Another important thing to consider is the imagination (this could also be called curiosity or invention). Maybe it would be helpful to think that suicidal thoughts are a transcendental falling short of one’s imagination. With a loving/dignified heart, access all of your creative powers to explore your faults and achievements — without any judgment. Do not let dark thoughts linger — keep casually rejecting them.
In short, creatively move with the changes. (“No one will regret having taken this road.“)
This week we pulled the Page of Cups. Here we have the card of the imaginative fantasist. The shortcomings here are obvious: head in the clouds, daydreamer, etc, etc. But the strength is perhaps not as apparent: the imagination is the fount of all creation(s)/creativity — like, the speculation of today is the science/knowledge of tomorrow. Discount the dreamer (and the imagination) at your peril.
Our first hexagram this week is #24, Return (The Turning Point). The I Ching expounds the notion that all that happens in this world happens within cycles. Here, #24 is where the dark is descending and renewal and rebirth are forthcoming (fyi hexagram number 33, is where “the power of the dark is ascending” and light loses power). not diminishing). Note, there is a particular line of warning: “…everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to a flowering…” There were four changes this week, of which the specific notes are: don’t let bad thoughts root in the mind and develop a desire to move with the changes — don’t be obstinate.
Our second hexagram, the one that suggests how best to meet the challenges (or the changes) is #9, The Taming Power of the Small. “The hexagram presents a configuration of circumstances in which a strong element is temporarily held in leash by a weak element… To carry out our purpose we need firm determination within and gentleness and adaptability in external relations.” Here the feeling is something like being on a plane caught in a holding pattern; you are at the mercy of the pilot and air traffic controllers however you can take time to prepare a little bit more for your arrival (whatever that purpose might be).