The little sketch in ball point pen on lined school paper records a place I used to love, the pond down the road from my grandmother’s house. We used to walk there sometimes in the wilting heat, walking past wide fields of soybeans, seeing the long leaf pine woods in the far distance, though there was narry a tree to break the sunlight of our walk for the whole mile. I must have been tough as a pinecone myself.
Then upon reaching the spot, still there is the heat but you can see the clear water like a mirage in a desert. I might rewalk this path in memory now. The blacktop under my feet responds like sponge, the measured distance slowly grows shorter, the water appears even more cool to see and think about, if not to feel.
Looking at this drawing now, I marvel that a line becomes a wake in the moving water — as easily as that.
This morning I draped my favorite cloth — the one with the pattern of big roses — over a chair and began drawing in a 9 x 12 notebook with a Uniball pen.
The drawing featured above was actually from my second cup of coffee. For the first cup I made a smaller drawing of the same drapery.
Some mornings you have to wake up gradually.
My fear of spiders dates from the earliest years of my life. I’ve written before about an episode in my past where my efforts to confront this fear paid off, during that phase of my life during a summer long ago when my nightly habit was to finish the chores early so that I could spend an hour watching the porch spider build her web.
Years prior to that time, during an autumn interlude, I confronted this fear a different way: I made spider drawings which culminated in a spider etching. In my youth just looking at photographs of spiders was enough to move the dial of my internal fear meter. Yet for some unknown reason a hidden prompting from life led me into drawing spiders. I don’t recall consciously making a decision to face my fear. It was more like an unconscious decision shaped my choice, and I got a book, picked out the creepiest examples of spiderdom, and began drawing. I sought to express the fullness of the creepiness to the best of my ability. I wanted the perfect image of arachnophobia.
Looking back upon it now, I wonder if it set the stage for later spidery encounters in a continuum of gradual rapproachment between me and the spider kingdom.