Dr. Cohen could not have come at a better time. I seriously have just recently acknowledged my fascination, my life-long infatuation, with Stone, —and this consciousness has brought me to ponder my beginnings.
When my father was younger and in school, his parents were overseas working, building glass factories. My father was very lonely. He would wander out on Sunday afternoons from his hidden away forestry college in New York to the one cutting highway and sit on a hill to watch the cars going by. He once told me that the way that he could cope was by looking at the Moon at night, knowing that his eyes were looking and connecting with the very Rock that was looked at around the world. He would be comforted by this connection. He could connect with his parents knowing that they looked at the same Rock. The Moon was the Great Connector, and it would move him deeply.
I have grown up with this and have found myself, uncountable times, looking at the moon and imagining the pondering to come when night falls upon India, Tokyo, Egypt, New York City… -The Moon I am looking to, looking through. And, when I process what I am doing in my head, it is always the word touch that comes about with the word look: my eyes are falling upon that same rock, my vision is coming into contact just as others’. Well, I have taken this and moved much farther: not only can distance be transcended through the Rock, but Time; and this is Key really because Rock, Geology, is actually studied to age the Earth. Beginning about four years ago, it seems every time that I look at the Moon I begin to think of my heroes (it’s funny but Walt Whitman seems always first to come to mind!), knowing that their very eyes descended upon that Rock. I do not feel so disconnected and my Age seems far more an occurrence as does theirs, then– that we don’t live in such a different World. -and maybe this sounds silly, but it is something terribly easy to dismiss. I am transcending Time! Whenever I acquire a new hero I find myself always resorting to the primordial Stone as a way of knowing, a way of feeling. When I cover my ears (if there are cars or the breathing of the City about) and look up through the treeleaves and see the stars residing beside the Rock, I can be anywhere! Any Time! Anybody!
And that Moon is not the only Rock through which I transcend Time. When I am walking in the night, alone, and I go down a cobble street (primarily the street that lies by the ball fields coming off of the water front, with its quiet and its marsh smells dwelling), and no one is looking, I get down on my knees and put my palms to the cold Stone and feel my hands there on the day of their placement, on the night of their first stroll, as a kid running down the alley at night going to a candlelit home. The carriages! -And this transcending through Stone!
Stone has always been the destination in my life. Like Melville ponders the magnetism attracting Man to water, I go for Stone! I go and have gone to the town of Waynesboro, VA constantly in my life, and there is a trailhead that is connected to the Mighty A.T. up on the Parkway that goes up winding to Humpback Rocks! (And I do claim to have attained enlightenment for a yearlong 10seconds of that Stone.) I have been born into this. Just recently, about 3 years past, I have discovered a new trail, the White Rock Falls Trail, that goes through the watered woods, with boulders about, and that crosses a rushing stream where Rocks, very big Rocks, lead all the way up the mountain. But the important thing is that, when you cross the stream and make your way up and around the inside of the mountain that stands erect beside, you come to a jutting boulder where you peer down into the untouched valley! A very untouched valley, the crest of the bosom of the world! Last summer I hiked this alone (as is usual) and made it to that Rock. I sat upon and with my knees on the slab bent back so my 21st century shoes were out of sight, and with the Stone there in bottom of my vision, with my fingers digging into the craggy moss, I went through a list. You’d never believe how many people I was! Ahhh, The Rock!
So, last night, when Cohen spoke of Man’s drawing to Rock, I only thought how Rock has drawn me, shaped me, my whole life. (which kind of means the same thing, maybe)
I completed a paper only two weeks ago in Romanticism, which I called “Rocks; or, The Keys of the Poet; or, The Poet the Rockhead,” that was of Wordsworth’s epiphany and the becoming of The Poet, which was triggered by The Moon when he reaches the top of the mountain in the “Conclusion” to The Prelude– The Poet becomes the body of the cratered cranium and transcends and knows Time by the privileged access. And also on the way that the rock cliffs in “…Tintern Abbey” connect the Earth to the Sky, which directs the mere pondering of the landscape into the boundless sky that contains the Mind–of which I was blown away by Jeffrey’s paralleled sequence of blocked-stone monument slabs in Berlin, directing and opening him to the deep grandeur of the sky on that day ; and then on Keats’s “Old Meg she was a Gipsy” and the way that the Stone of the Tomb jutting out from the dirt is the final grasping of the dead for the sky! –that is illuminated by the Moon in the night, shedding on and giving that grasping the Whitelight of the Heavens– which too was paralleled by Cohen’s returning to the grave-suggestive slabs at night, where the light of a Harvest Moon would meet and light the stone–and he did say after that it was for that Stone to Stone meeting; and on the way that Meg, herself, contemplates the Rock, where “‘stead of supper she would stare / [f]ull hard against the Moon.” and how “[h]er book [was] a churchyard tomb” (and Cohen did speak of inscriptions). –The Great Sequence! I told Cohen about all this last night after the lecture only to find out that he is working right now on a piece that is to do with the Moon! And I was only triggered to study these things by my own infatuation! Little did I know…little did I know. He asked me if I’d seen the semi-recent Lunar Eclipse. I told him that in fact I had laid back and looked on from beside a little bonfire on the beach at Folly. I told him that, as the Moon faded away, the Milky Way came out and gleamed—then I realized that that was something terribly, terribly significant.
———These are quotes and questions and ideas and my thoughts (maybe not in wording but in content) of and on Cohen that will stay with me: “Stone and humans desire to bring into being cohabited spaces”— “Stone as monument is Stone in movement,” and where that movement originates is the question; is it from the hands that fashion it or from the Stone itself?—- that Stone conducts, inspires, and is lived through, is life indeed—- “Stone not only matters, it shimmers. It is a kind of Poetry; the liveliness of that which is inhuman. Even the most solid thing becomes a kind of intensity on the move, and no object remains mute or lifeless!” — “A Stone monument is a force sent to the future to induce memory”—- “Life goes on in the shadows of great tragedy,” the Stone monument opens itself constantly, continually, to life, contact, and interaction.
And, on High Culture (and switching gears completely to look at structures of complete impermanence) ————-