The soul pattern of a bridge is a straightforward one, we use it to cross from one state into another. I have mentioned related patterns before, that of multiple crossings and that of the arch. Today we talk about the pattern of the closed bridge.
This is the Harmony Way Bridge over the Wabash River in the town New Harmony (about which we’ll learn more next time). The bridge opened in 1930 and was used as a toll bridge, and was designated as structurally deficient, and has been closed since 2012.
It has been clearly adorned with warnings, as you can see. But somebody cut a hole into the fence, and those who know me can guess what happened.
Which brings us to the point of this pattern: A closed bridge can be used for crossing, but there is a price to pay. You don’t cross such a bridge casually, you hesitate.
Angelopoulos’ mindshattering film The Suspended Step of the Stork distills this moment of hesitation. What happens in us when we consider to leave, to cross over?
Standing there, looking back, and looking forward can last an eternity. Don’t do this often.
When I first saw this nicely bent tree in McCormick’s Creek State Park in the fall of 2008, I did not expect to see it again.
Arch like trees have become something like an archetype for me, or rather, as I am not so fond of C.G. Jung, a pattern, as in pattern language. They serve the (purely symbolic, of course) dual purpose of creating a connection between two sides and signaling a passage through, and all this under the apparent duress of being bent to the verge of breaking. In any case, this arch was still there in winter, the next summer,
and the following years.
Is it still there? I leave it to you to decide whether this year’s image shows he same tree again.
It does not matter. Thomas Mann explains in his tetralogy Joseph und seine Brüder his concept of time: Events, or motifs for stories, or patterns, reoccur or are at least thought to reappear over and over, with no hope to trace their origin or future repurposing.
There will always be trees ready to bend, even after countless others have been broken.
In Memoriam, Orlando 6-12-2016
The french Nature Morte is a peculiar contrast to the english Still Life. For today’s images, the french version is better suited.
The dead tree, resting on a large boulder in front of McCormick Creek State Park’s canyon wall, invites to contemplate about decay and the passage of time very much like many still lifes do.
The image also follows an iconographic pattern, which consists of a platform, a presented object on the platform, and a backdrop. Traditionally, in a still life, the platform is usually a table, the objects can be fruits and flowers, and the backdrop is often a dark wall or piece of cloth. Here, the platform is the rock, the object the tree, and the backdrop the canyon wall. Several of Francis Bacon’s paintings (e.g. the Figure at a Washbasin) not only rely on the same pattern, but are compositionally reduced to it. In his case, the platforms are tables or chairs, the objects distorted people, and the backdrop is often a door or window.
I have probably taken about a dozen images of this tree over the years. It survived several winters.
However, heavy flooding has moved the tree out of the frame, making room for the next object.