It was a very long time ago. Long ago at a time I seldom recall because the memories are so vague, like watching children play, or recalling a river’s clear and frozen ice before the snowfall, like the face or name of your first classmates. When small birds fell from their colony nests from high above. When through fields I chased the horizon with my companion dog Sheen at my side; she always behaved so well. Perhaps it was when I was 11 or 12 years of age. Before I knew that silk scarves were comfortable against the winter wind. Before I understood the physical bluntness of agriculture and livestock. It was when I first saw the appeal of symmetry and substance.
Symmetry is the quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis. That critical definition captures the more generalized image of what is considered the correct or pleasing proportion of the parts of a thing. And while it might indeed apply to any thing, for me the thing was singularly a nexus of symmetry and substance.
Substance implies a wealth of indicia which themselves impute the quality of being dependable or stable, a critical feature to my particular connection to symmetry. Thus arising from that initiative are further descriptions such as uniformity, real physical matter and solid presence. While my notion of substance in this instance does not embrace the mere intellectual keenness of essential, form or style, it may however be indescribably intoxicating and stimulating. It retains the quality of being important, valid, or significant, something having a solid basis in reality or fact. Ultimately the combination of symmetry and substance is the quality of being dependable or stable.
The alloy of symmetry and substance is a living metaphor; that is, both real and imaginary. Here I suppose derives the artistic imperative which succeeds to defend my otherwise purely visceral pleasure – and make no mistake ça existe! The word metaphor comes from the Greek meaning “to transfer”. While we now use the word metaphor to relate to something other than what it is (like the theatrical metaphor of falling through a trap door), I intend its usage to capture what for me is a very real presence.
It is thus I also defend my shameless materialism, by “transferring” in my own manner the tangible to the emotional. And though it may seem that I am about to excuse an utter fantasy by shifting the visible to the venerable, the abstract nature of this narrative, while distinct, is a symmetrical part of the substance. Frankly to me it is a logical imperative, an axiom, that symmetry and substance coexist for both sides of the intellectual and the emotional experience to survive. From one springs the other. Patently I revel in the separation of the thing and the thought; but I only see the division as a balance.
Persistent with my native yearning for both ethereal ingenuity and rudimentary stability I have conjoined symmetry and substance. Preserving the authenticity of this enterprise is, let me say, not for the pusillanimous. It requires a degree of education which only arises from the most astute exposure. Rather like learning to ride a horse; that is, fun but not without its prerequisites, some of which may be unaccustomed.