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Sierra Nevada Sentiments

Sands sweep across the late afternoon, light spatters the surrounding mountainous terrain, and sweet succulents inundate the air in this desert abode. I return to the Coachella Valley and hear the quiet of my mind again. It takes more than a while for me to become completely aware of all that I have to check off my list. I notice the nights coming and going too quickly, another day done. But, I use these days to fill in the blanks.

Everything begins with empty space--sometimes lined, sometimes white, sometimes nothing at all. Ideas emerge from this nothingness to become something; something we can grapple, put our hands, eyes, ears, tongue, and mind on. It seems overly complicated, daunting and intimidating, but not always. Moments occur when we become motivated to affect our short time in this life.

A moment can happen anywhere and at any time. This moment might be motivated by an experience—a day crawling up a canyon amongst the boulders, coffee with mom, a brisk body surfing session in the Pacific. The moment may arrive spontaneously without any rational explanation. How will one know when the moment is the moment?

An artist fills in the empty space, capturing our existence in the senses before spewing it into being for an audience to consume. This duty is as essential as food and water. People must experience culture whether it’s the fiddle finding Jesus or the singing bowls that bring nirvana. Aesthetics provide the details for the individual to process the experience. The specific sensual notions that come from a work of art present its identity as well as that of the artist.

The grueling day-to-day routine of life wears on every human in its own personal way—struggle and emotional expression the only common denominator between everyone. Although some people lead very similar existences—no one is exactly the same, word for word, leap for leap, fall for fall, and resurgence for resurgence.We all seem to travel on a similar wave, a similar frequency. Every person experiences triumphs, every person experiences pain—no matter how trivial the actual occurrence, how we process them is what makes us unique.

The artist sees many dimensions in what happens in their day. The artist watches others’ experiences also, accumulating characterizations and representations foreign to their own account. The artist produces our culture and when we finish our short waltz through life on Earth, this culture remains to live another day. Is this cliché? Does everyone just know that culture is like crackers that nourish our soul? Should we eat Matisse when we take our communion? If I were Catholic I’d rather not waste a good buttered biscuit. Why not eat a morsel of Coleridge’s verse to feel whole?

We cannot live on cultural representation alone, but that does not detract from its absolute necessity. Even out in the wild bramble of Alaskan tundra a person must find art, and he/she will with all that the natural world provides without any alteration on our part. Feast one and feast all, but don’t forget to fill the blank space.

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