As one moves toward the center, one is too far from the beginning to remember the ecstasy of the start, and too far (oh, far too far) from the end to have any hope of finishing. Besides, there’s the question of how to make people move away from that blasted “end” of the desert and continue to its upper parts.
This is the panel where I discovered that between 3:37 and 3:59 on November whatever the date was, the sun highlighted an area of the mountains surrounding the desert that I had not seen before. Nor since. I called this the Long Slope, when I wasn’t calling it things not fit for tender ears. It always looked like a rather hazy blank cut-out, until that day when I had decided to pack it in and shut things down for Jer’s arrival at 4.
I was standing looking out over the desert, and suddenly saw that these mountains, the long slope, were being picked out by the sun for special attention. Forms, shapes, cavities, declines and uplifts, basins and overhangs — all started to appear. I grabbed my camera, but of course, we’re talking miles of territory and I could see that it wasn’t going to be an adequate photo. I clutched my (thinning) hair in despair, and wished I were someone who could report on what I saw, report visually, that is.
and the, I remembered — S…, I’m a painter.
I spent the next few minutes running, literally, from the canvas to the door back to the canvas back to the door, trying to capture the lines and spaces and shapes and forms. And at 3:59 they disappeared. And Jer appeared. And I tried to explain what had happened, but ultimately just cleaned my brushes, did the thing with the toilet and the water in the tank, and went home to contemplate visual miracles.
And those mountains are still just about as I painted them that day. I didn’t dare muck with them, since I never could see the shapes and crevasses again.