Saturday, June 8, 2013

Palouse Mntn: Kamiak Butte II (June 6, 2013)

On Kamiak Butte, situated almost 1000 feet above the rolling wheat- and lentil-fields of the Palouse, rocky sage-covered desert terrain abuts open wildflower meadow abuts forest of Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir and Cedar. It’s a National Natural Landmark, a county park and popular hiking spot 11 miles northeast of my home, visible in the distance from my campus office window.


What was at hand, and underfoot, and around – bringing it all in close around the poem-label to make portraits (not landscapes) resolving the tension (fuzzy/crisp) between foreground and background that my camera lens often captured.

A lyric portrait, embedded with social relations – the I (behind the camera) and the you (in front of the lens) – like the lyric poem. Kamiak Butte is a social place (runners’ footprints in the dust), a site of human language (in English officialese, in graffiti, and in the universal language of cairns), and of myriad communications that arise from adjacencies, give rise to intimacies: moss clinging to or sprouting from bark, the ladybug perched precariously on the Prairie Star Flower (as I daintily untangled the strings of the poem-label, she tumbled to the ground). The molecular exchange across permeable boundaries, like my skin.