Today I was raking the universe. You know how this works: you’ve been thinking about a subject, maybe doing some reading, a little bit of research. This subject is beginning to crop up in your mind more and more often as you go about your business and you’re beginning to suspect that it might have something to do with – well, you’re not sure. You only know there’s something there, something unexpected, something that is more than the sum of its parts. And then it happens. The universe begins to make home deliveries.
Years ago I had a show coming up. I was spending a lot of time in my garden and wanted to make some images about the birds I interacted with every day. I wanted to know what they did during the time I couldn’t observe them. What were their habits? What did their nests look like? What about the eggs? I started in to do some research, saved some pictures, bought some books. Then, the nests started coming.
Right outside of my studio a Stellar’s Jay built its nest, and soon I could see the sharp topknots of the chicks and their beaks, popping up above the rim of the nest as the parents came and went. At the corner of the garage a wren built its nest in a gap beneath the eave. Every time you put a tool away and bumped the wall the babies called out. I found nests. Friends found nests. Nests started arriving in the mail. I was raking the universe, turning up just what I needed.
Today it was physics and time. I am not mathematically inclined, but lately I find I am thinking a great deal about time and space, matter and energy, and how those things might be tinkered with, affected and manipulated. Physicists are coming out of the woodwork. Twitter links lead unexpectedly to physicists. They’re busy making cool apps. They’re drawing comics. I am going to have to send out some emails asking for help with these slippery ideas. In the meantime I intend to keep raking. I’m guessing things are just starting to warm up.
The image above was taken by the Hubble telescope. It’s just a tiny, probably illusory snapshot of one corner of this generous universe. Sky candy.