Carpinteria State Beach, 12 March 2004
Odd day with the sun in and out, with the wind up and down. The tide is out--a wide stretch of wet sand, smoothly gliding from the pebbly dry mounds to the gentle foam. What is the connection that keeps drawing me to this place? Weeks ago, the pressure had begun. A woman reported that she had found a whale's vertebrae as we walked along the shoreline. The wind around me and the smell of the water inhabited my spirit and I knew that I had to make "a river of stones," a spine that wound from the surf to the drier shore.

9 am. with a latte and a pan dulce--very international--I begin my work not exactly sure where to start. Passing all the comfortable, neat piles of rocks, I settle on a deserted stretch of beach. Oh well, I guess I'll grab a bunch of these large rocks and see where it goes.

In November, 1995, I facilitated the rambling of one quarter mile of paper through the Missouri woods, leaving it for six weeks, and documenting its change over that time. I also bandaged a circle of trees with long strips of paper handmade from junk mail. At the bases of some of those trees, I put large sheets of white paper with tempera powder sprinkled on them. During the life of the installation, the elements sculpted the paper ribbon, claimed the bandages, and painted with the pigments. Rain and sunlight created magic. Pulp dripped from the bandaged trees to form intimate unions with leaves and twigs. Tempera settled in low spots on the paper, staining it as it lay there in raindrops. Leaves got stuck on at the wet spots which were now dry.

After almost two months of visits to this place, I said goodbye to that forest for the last time. I was sad to leave the patient trees who had permitted me to hug them, to cover them with my paper. The trees had watched me walk between them and had stood alongside the visible evidence of my having been there. They were the witnesses, the papers I had placed at their feet were merely my offerings to the trees. The only thing that had changed out there in the forest was me. I had not affected the trees--they were my teachers.

Turning in Time double spiral, Catal Hoyuk Turkey, 2001-2003
How can we learn about the religious impulse of preliterate cultures? One way is to allow the images made in that culture to speak. The wall paintings at Çatalhöyük appear to describe mythic stories, and spiritual practices of the people who settled in that area, and have tantalized me from my first viewing of them. Not only do these paintings offer clues to the rituals associating humans with animals at Çatal, but they also suggest that myth-making may extend back at least 8,000 years.
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