More Notes on Shape (from roundscape back to flat earth)

Prose, including snippets (mini-memoirs).
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mnaz
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More Notes on Shape (from roundscape back to flat earth)

Post by mnaz » November 9th, 2018, 8:55 pm

A heatwave came on and I headed north from roundscape, from its curvaceous valleys of fire toward higher ground where you might catch trout with a shovel in a snowmelt stream if you knew the right canyon, and spreading out far and wide beside those canyons, the great bright dry lake playa planes and their worlds outside of worlds . . . I had to leave curvacious space behind and go back to my flat earth beginnings, deep into the blank sheet land of mirage. I knew I'd end up there.
........I crested a rise, and spent asphalt slipped toward a blinding flat. For a brief minute I thought it might disappear into blinding silts near the bottom, and I might see stunning things in the long haze of desert heat, maybe an old oak masterpiece from a San Francisco bar, its ornate, carved art being hauled across the desert to some boom town in boom rock hills at the height of a craze.
........Salty grime filled the cab. A hazy, gentle pain of a hundred six degrees. Smoke whiskey sounds of Dwight Yoakam crackled on the FM band, and slopes on the horizon tapered to a single vanishing point. Tired of engine drone I turned off beside a road sign shredded by shootin' irons-- "A*ST*N 1*9 MI."-- where I saw one more thin etching stretching into the void, and I should go out and scour the bluffs, follow their contours. Prospecting never ends. I hadn't quite worked it out, hadn't found a place to stop running.
........Vista seemed wide open when I was younger, but then a few roads closed. In time I might run out of desert, the last ridge, so I'd turn inward for outward. The boundless desert was an impression I caught in a glance on a road to Vegas, but I found limits as I went out, so boundless had to return to the eye. Some roads hit fences, and some hit boulders on ridges with nothing but star terrains beyond, where the rock flies solo, a spinning lump of silica and iron with only a fickle silver moon in tow, and she can't decide when to rise or set, stay or leave, like a range bum, or a gambler up against flash, alone in a crowd of stars.
........Back to my flat earth beginnings . . . and somewhere along the bright shore I might find an abandoned shack, where reality and imagination crossed a rattlesnake porch and went through the same door to come in from the sun, eat lunch and hash out their differences before retreating again into heatwaves that can't tell them apart. And out on the bright plane a car would flow, shape-shifting. Or did it really move? It's steering wheel vibrates, though no other sign of motion. It would flow toward that which never existed, like an old ship sailing toward a drop-off at the edge of a flat earth sea, coming to rest almost where it started, as things do in that space.

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sasha
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Re: More Notes on Shape (from roundscape back to flat earth)

Post by sasha » November 13th, 2018, 3:57 pm

unfathomable vistas, strange and almost frightening to one accustomed to the deeply wooded hollows and glens hemmed in by our ancient granite hills - a landscape someone accustomed to the desert vastness might find claustrophobic... as always, enjoy these travelogues, as alien as the landscape they describe seems to me - maybe that's why, at least partly
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mnaz
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Re: More Notes on Shape (from roundscape back to flat earth)

Post by mnaz » November 19th, 2018, 5:06 pm

Thanks sasha. Open lands are open to imagination, and one might see things on a more "planetary"-type scale. Rock is naked as far as the eye can see, ridge after ridge, and one becomes attuned to the shape (and color) of it, and how it effects perception. Not always easy to put in words.

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Re: More Notes on Shape (from roundscape back to flat earth)

Post by sasha » November 20th, 2018, 2:04 pm

In the brief interlude between the foliage dropping and the snows, and again in the spring between snow melt and leaf out, we get hints of those vistas here in the eastern forests - not as vast as those out your way, but broader than we usually get. There's a sense of revelation, or near-revelation, in glimpsing topography ordinarily hidden behind foliage - like viewing disconnected parts of some Master Plan, or having a flash of long-buried memory rising near the surface of consciousness - again, hard to articulate, but profound and real, part of the experience of immersion in our respective landscapes.....
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mnaz
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Re: More Notes on Shape (from roundscape back to flat earth)

Post by mnaz » December 7th, 2018, 6:03 pm

When I first got into McPhee's 'Basin and Range,' I was disappointed-- lots of geo-jargon. But I kept at it, and some of those rock tales tweaked my imagination & intrigue-- like the "jumping mountain" story-- those tilting fault block ranges all over the high desert I bummed around in. I made a trip to Tobin Range to check out the fault along the latest "jump" (1915). The academic side of geologic classification, etc. doesn't ignite burning passions in me for rock science, but just the idea of "living rock," fluid, fallible and forever transforming, is eye-opening, mind-opening. Humbling.

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Re: More Notes on Shape (from roundscape back to flat earth)

Post by goldenmyst » January 13th, 2019, 11:20 pm

Mnaz, I bought your "Roundscape" book years ago but lost it while moving. This lucid prose scape reminds me of why I need to reacquire your book and enter into that naked rock and those contours which enchanted me in my crossings of New Mexico and Arizona. Your desert prose takes me into a world of space and geometry which fascinates me. Though I live in bayou country the desert beckons me to return and your prose takes me back if only in words but no mere recountings a journey into the heart and soul of those barren lands.

John

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