Ox-Bow as Self-Portrait

“As I reflect on this experience from the mitigating distance of years, I am staggered by the power it still holds within my heart. And by my heart I mean the seat of my emotions as well as that physical member within me. Perhaps this is because, as with all fantasies, I remember it in an idealized form. Yet even the least ideal aspects of the time hold a remarkable glow to me.”

“At the time, I saw that land – that Large Place – as a separate sphere, a space out of time, out of normalcy. It strikes me how, when I am able to recall it very clearly, my heart almost seizes within my chest as I briefly sense again the stinging joys that I felt there.”

“It was an exploration of myself, not simply a holiday from the reality I had always known. Sitting there on the shore of that ancient lake, gazing back west towards the big city that has since become my home, I marveled how it seemed that I was gazing across some chasm of time and space.”

“I was dislocated, thrown, out of my time into another, somehow timeless, yet time-full arena. I was looking backward and forward to that other shore of past experience and an unsure future. I could never be the same.”

“I could never be the same.”

“I could never be the same.”

“I could never be the same.”

All text: from A Mnemonic of Longing, an unpublished essay, 2002-2009.

All photos: Self-portraits taken between May 2001 and August 2001, in roughly chronological order.

Drawing: Matt (Hardass). Ink and Sharpie on paper, 11 by 14 inches, 2001, by Reid Thompson and unknown Ox-Bow Fellow (A.G.).

PS: Don’t smoke, kids.

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