Of form and formlessness

Lava_Creation_Destruction.jpgIn its own way, this finger-looping process that I’ve committed to is mysterious. Everything about it seems organic like nature, magic like myth.  But then, nature is magic to me—the way it comes into being, dies away, returns again—resurrected, transformed. 

I once had a chance to see volcanic eruptions on the coast of Hawaii—new land bubbling up, breaking the surface, destroying the old.  Two days later, walking in a state park of black encrusted lava, I saw a bit of green.  It was a tiny fern.  Wedged in a crack, it was unfurling its crinkly new fronds—the only spot of living color for as far as my eye could see. 

This is the way of nature: creating, destroying.  Between the caterpillar and chrysalis stages, a butterfly dissolves into a viscous stew of disembodied body parts—before it emerges as a new whole being.  In cultures throughout the world, mythologies of creation often depict formlessness, which separates and differentiates, becoming the forms we know as bodies, trees, mountains.

Every act of creation begins with an act of destruction according to some artist (I think Picasso).  The great mythologist Joseph Campbell described the human mind’s emergence from a chaotic state of unconsciousness to an orderly state of being fully conscious.  I envision the state of formlessness as the makings of life in utero—a state of potency, possibility.