Thursday, March 24, 2011

Exploration as Art

A blind river fish from the Rio Bameno, Amazonian Ecuador.  Known as "wiami" to the local Huaorani.
Mountain View, California.  Beyond all else, exploration is my greatest passion. It is the process of discovery with risk. It provides the opportunity to experience what few others have and the potential to witness that which no one else has. It is both the hazy cloud of the unknown and the shining beacon of enlightenment. And to me it is worth any cost.

Unidentified mantis at the Bilsa Biological
Station.  Mache-Chindul Range,
Western Ecuador.
Exploration is an art. Like all forms of art, it is a means of self-expression, discovery and a reflection of reality. It is also the tool by which I paint the picture of my life. The means through which I tell stories in written word and film. It is an ever-changing landscape on a kaleidoscope of color, culture, geology, climate and biodiversity. It is a deep crevasse of self-awareness, the mechanism for finding one’s own place in this world and understanding the texture of our souls. Nothing shows you who you are quite like that which you are most not. Exploration places you in intimate proximity with your counterbalance. It entwines who you are with who you are not, with who you may be and most of all, who you appear not to be, but in fact share almost everything. In doing so, exploration catalyzes the creation of something new. This creation is artistic expression of life in its purest form.

The author, Arlo Hemphill, straddled with a killed peccary during a hunt with the Huaorani.  Amazonian Ecuador, 2003.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I am Wilderness

Pico Blanco, Ventana Wilderness, California.  July 2009.
Words describe my connection to wild places, my symbiosis with the wilderness.  I am wilderness.  My soul is those wild, lonely places - windswept mountain passes, the rocky crags, and wandering herds upon endless grasslands.  There is no difference between those things and what is found within me.  This is true too of the sea.  The vibrant blue of tropical waters.  I am but a damselfish in an ocean of coralline hues. The schools of great fish swim through my heart and onto the deserts of my mind - those Forgotten Lands, bone dry - but bright and welcoming.  Bring your own water, for I have none to give.  I am wilderness.