Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Rift in the Clearing...

Apparent extension of the fields on Sunday. Born of two causes: absence of sounds and absence of visible objects. Noise that comes from a single place makes the places around it seem deserted. When it comes from several, it makes even the intervals seem populated. It is to the mind, to the soul even more than to the eye, that the countryside seems extended, immense, uninhabited.

The silence of the fields. How everything hushes imperceptibly with the fall of night. How everything seems to be gathered up: men and animals, by the work of unanimous silence; plants and all things that move, for the wind falls when evening comes near, and the air holds only a single, frail breath. It is from this immobility of all things, and because the remaining light is reflected more during these tranquil hours by the earth and its rocks than by the trees and plants, that the hills and fields seem to lift up the earth and stand in wonder.

Fogs that dust the trees.

~ Joseph Joubert, excerpts from The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert, 1783-1824


The Notebooks, as they were written over the course of an entire lifetime and as they have been restored to us - emerging from this hazard, this pressure of life - are passionate reading, carrying us along in their hazardous movement towards an end that is only revealed at rare moments, in the brief rift of a clearing.

The word does not negate, but consents, and if it sometimes appears to be conspiring with nothingness, this "nothingness," says Joubert, is none other than "the invisible plentitude of the world," evidence of which is brought to light by speech, an emptiness that does not show itself but is a luminous presence, a fissure through which invisibility blossoms.

~ Maurice Blanchot on the writings of Joseph Joubert


{Film stills from Visionary Landscapes: The Films of Nina Danino}

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