In My Back Yard
The view out the back door
A (Low) Tech Perspective

Sacraments of the Natural

[A week ago we ended a six week creativity learning lab, hosted by me and Michael Toy and led by the great Mark Scandrette of ReIMAGINE. We threw an art event to showcase the work of the 18 artists who went through the course. As Mark led us through exercises to tap into our God-given creativity, we explored our connection to the natural world, as a way of giving time to a part of ourselves that is often neglected in our tech-heavy society. Below are words (by Michael and me) from three signs that greeted guests on the way into the event.]

Awakening Creativity

We have shaken ourselves awake
to find ourselves in a place, reserved for us
since time began to tick,
as partners in play, creation, stewardship,
holding gifts meant to be shared with the world.

Over the last six weeks we have followed the story of Jesus as he awoke to his destiny and creatively discovered and pursued his calling to beauty and sacrifice.

What is the result of our pursuit?

New insights into our own journey and destiny,
and several objects of art that remind us of God's love for us
and of our heritage as part of a beautiful creation,
and as people with our own calling to both eat the dust and breathe life into it.

Shadows and visions of our future selves

At the turning point there is a side of us that faces back, and a side that faces forward. We are learning to raise a stone, to mark the moment when we turn: at that point we see all sides, all choices, and we take note.

When light passes through a forest,
each tree is drawn twice
once, outlined in light
and once, etched in shadow.

We also stood in this light, letting the camera catch an image of our shadows and the illumination of our future self, in a moment of hope. For both portraits we had to stand in the light. ... The shadow portrait exploring the artificial, the superficial, technological, commodified and conforming; the future portrait exploring the uniqueness and the authenticity of who God made us to be, our natural, organic, beloved selves.

Marking life’s waypoints in wood, water, earth, and stone

In our creative explorations, we have tried to get as close to nature as possible. Our goal in this moment is to let go of the tech-heavy, mass-produced, homogeneous culture of ownership and to explore elements of the earth in a form as unprocessed as possible. This means we favor natural materials in the selecting of objects of meaning, and we do projects that require more from our hands and feet than from our keyboard and mouse.

We aren't rejecting the culture we are born into: some of us are able to pay our bills because of our work in the tech industry, and most of us use our computers daily to communicate for work, family, and social connections. But the rise of technology has not reduced our need for a connection to creation. Sacraments of the Natural is our exploration and celebration of the “Land of our Fathers and Mothers”, presented through a collection of meaningful objects: sacraments that speak to us--and we hope to you--about the goodness of God, and the wonder that is our lives.


[circa 1990]

A grand despair.
Standing alone
In a valley of dry bones;
The dead and dusty landscape
Of a dreamy nightmare vision.
And a question comes on me
From beyond my mortality,
"Prophet, child of Cain!
Can these bones come back,
Stand erect again?"

Out of ashes, the adam,
First sojourner, while still one,
Wandered from the elements
To life: called by You.
"You made me human,
Who would walk away,
And welcomed me!
Can these bones come back?
Have eyes again to see?
Great God of bones
And dust! You know what
The mystery is worth.
Only You know the profit
Of putting breath back in earth."


Ghost Words

Could use a kind word
About now, a velvet touch,
To grout the cracks, to stem
The flow, arrest the oral
Entropy of seemly weak
Community. Right about now.
The spirit won't cooperate,
Or can't. Instead, the bleed
Increases, and hungry death

Wraith-like words emerge--
Slimy, demonic under-words,
Unfriendly, to wake old enemies,
Which warlike bend against
The sun on my behalf.
A whole, wide virgin field
Is cleared, and battle lines
Are drawn.
                  But before it starts,
It's done. The end is the beginning.

Drained and grinning. One helpful
Ghost is left, and groaning
With me, in me, softly sends
Me, through me, words
Which love-like, split the
Seams that isolate my hopes,
My fears, my dreams.



Copyright, Davo, 2005 through today