Sunday, May 18, 2008

Places within

My dad used to say that there were systems within systems: molecules inside of matter, atoms inside of molecules, particles inside of atoms, and so on. Clifford Geertz recounted a conversation between an anthropologist and a wise old informant about the latter’s cosmology: it seemed the earth rested on the back of an elephant, and the elephant on the back of a turtle. The anthropologist asked what the turtle stood on. The wise man said, “Ah, Sahib, after that it is turtles all the way down.”

My project this year is searching out places, and the old man’s wisdom serves this task as well: there are places within places within places.

The iris above, which blooms now outside my window, secrets a dewy place within (click on the photograph to enlarge).

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