Friday, December 4, 2009

Everything Is Nature

The room is lit with a bright artificial white glow. The space is wide and long and the powerful light bulbs hide high overhead, their distance is like the sun, far away but felt by everything beneath it. A long stretch of black and white ads run across the back wall of the bowling alley. The smooth wooden floors of the lanes gleam with thick varnish and a weekly dousing of wax. Echoing through the space is the low rumble of heavy bowling balls. They hit the wood of the lanes. They hit the white pins waiting at the end. The temperature is a perfect 69 degrees. Everything about the room is artificial. Without a word, it manifests its aim, the geometric perfection of clean lines. There is no wave, no tilt, just constant even shape. There is nothing natural about it. Not the wood floors, long cut from the old growth forest. Not the paper used to create the ad campaign along the back wall. The bowling balls and white pins are smooth and nearly perfect. Nothing about this chamber is found in nature. There are no rocks so round, no trees so straight. It is a created room, a created game. But this is nature. It is here, on earth. On a flattened piece of land, in a city shrouded in mist and lit by a distant sun, it is “natural,” mutated and rearranged, but “natural.” The sun, a million times removed, is still present here. The nearly flawless shapes and lines, they exist because of the gleaming orb a million miles away. The wood of the floors grew with heat. The metal foundations were forged with tools from the earth and fire. The artificial composition of the pins and bowling balls are a conglomeration of substances transformed through human hands and ideas. And the humans playing the game, walking in mismatched shoes, smiling after rolling a gutter ball. They exist only because of the sun. Light brings them food, it nourishes plants and animals. Light gives them the ability to build and create artificial worlds with bright lights and wide lanes. The room does not smell of dirt and pine. It houses all the strange creations of the world, but the elements of the earth are still present. The life blood, the moving red vein, is here as well. The flowing red vein moves through the people, moving and walking and rolling. It moves through the filament of the lights overhead. What was once a living, breathing tree is the ground at their feet. What were once buried elements in the soil are now bowling balls. Everything has been transformed, but it has come from the one source. The source of it all. The sun. And while they play indoors, while they try over and over to hit straight rows of white pins, the sun shines outside. Far away, perhaps covered by clouds, but it shines. There is nothing unnatural, not in the cleanest white room, not in the grocery store or chemist’s laboratory. This is nature. Every thought, gust of wind, packaged food, water bottle. Each object is affixed with a million invisible tendrils, tied one to the other, eventually finding its way back, winding and curving through machine and heat, finding its way to the brightest star.

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