My work explores an inner wilderness by way of an outer one; I believe that the natural world is not only an inherent part of us as human beings (and we of it), but that it is the original, exquisitely sensitive mirror in which we find our own inner terrain and wildness reflected. My work has always been an act of reverence for the natural world. There is an element of science in it, in the desire to study and observe. But there is an element of spirit, too, in the continual reaching for something just beyond the visible.
Though the devoted naturalist in me is always present, these images come as often from within as without, informed as significantly by emotional texture as observation. I am interested in moments of elemental experience that feel resonant in this way, in the way of dreams. Sometimes the forces of our world seem to align, and the concentric motion of insects, the unique geometry of the land, or the slow-waning glow of green things at dusk lends a feeling of otherworldliness to something previously familiar. These are the times when the veil feels thin, when an omnipresent but unnoticed magic moves beneath the surface of the ordinary. We are finely tuned to these existential currents. In my work, I aim to cultivate a receptivity to them, to pair our desire for understanding with an equally honest experience of imagination.
Next time what I'd do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I'd stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.
When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I'd watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain, any
sign of what lifted the voice.
And for all, I'd know more -- the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
like a light.
- Mary Oliver