Chandra Garsson and D. Quentin Paquette

Garsson Paquette R

Chandra Garsson
Portrait of Noelle Gillies and Robert Brown
Mixed media, 24 x 31 inches
Created using D. Quentin Paquette’s poem (below) as inspiration

By D. Quentin Paquette

It had been a last-minute, spur of the moment decision.
It was a special occasion, difficult to spend it apart, but…
The distance had been too great for either of them to drive it.
The circumstances seemed unfavorable.
Many of their circumstances appear that way from the outside.
Late in the day, they had hit upon the same solution:
Meet in-between somewhere, figure the rest of it out once they got there.
Dinner done, there’s not enough time left to do much,
but too much time left to do nothing,
and still impossible to part again.
Not ever, until the very last possible moment has passed.
They leave one car, start driving without a destination in mind.
There’s a sign for a State Park, although the sun is going down.
Already the air is getting cold, so the accelerator is pressed a little more.
The world inside the car supersedes that outside, and a turn gets missed.
They drive further, until it’s clear they’re not going to the park.
At the next road, dirt and gravel, he pulls off and turns around.
And stops.
The valley and the car are in twilight shadow.
The mountains above still in light.
The colors of the sky, on a indigo background,
are apparent also in the trees under a viridian wash.
As the Earth tries to reproduce something of the heavens.
Turning back now, taking a different road of the same name.
In the dark, the lights in passing windows, the headlights shine on the road.
Here’s a gravel pull-off looking out into shadow without features.
Here another stop.
The mountain to the East has a bright light at the crest.
Roadwork?  Development?
It’s growing, drawing their attention.
As it clears the treeline, it takes the shape of the moon.
They get out of the car, her in front of him,
leaning against the side of the car,
and watch the moon rise for them.
Realizing this perfect moment could not have been planned.
Knowing that it was for this moment that they had come to this point.
Appreciating as just an extreme example of their every moment.
The moon continues to rise, the full-bellied Moon, Harvest Moon.
Lighting the meadow before them, and the creek bed, and the mountainside.
And they take a walk together, knowing.


Garsson I PaquetteGarsson I Paquette_B

Chandra Garsson
Totem I and II
Mixed media sculpture, and oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches
Inspiration piece provided to D. Quentin Paquette

Michaux Forest
By D. Quentin Paquette

And here are trees and I know their gnarled surface, water and I feel its taste.  These scents of grass and stars at night, certain evenings when the heart relaxes — how shall I negate this world whose power and strength I feel?  Yet all the knowledge on earth will give me nothing to assure me that this world is mine.  You describe it to me and you teach me to classify it.  You enumerate its laws and in my thirst for knowledge I admit they are true.  You take apart its mechanism and my hope increases.  At the final stage you teach me that this wondrous and multicolored universe can be reduced to the atom and that the atom itself can be reduced to the electron.  All this is good and I wait for you to continue.  But you tell me of an invisible planetary system in which electrons gravitate around a nucleus.  I realize then that you have been reduced to poetry: I shall never know…
So that science that was to teach me everything ends up in a hypothesis, that lucidity founders in metaphor, that uncertainty is resolved in a work of art.

Camus, from The Myth of Sysyphus

“Oh, sorry, I really crashed into a deep sleep there.  I was just trying to rest my eyes a bit.”
I’m glad you did, you should be tired after the past week.
“I am, working on a lot of big projects.”
You got a lot done this week; it must feel good.
“I dreamed you were singing to me.”
Then maybe you weren’t sleeping as deeply as you thought.
“Did you stop just because I woke up?  That doesn’t seem fair.”
You just wait, next good song…

(“Would that be one with high-pitched backing vocals?”
Verrry funny.  You want me to sing to you or not?
“You know I do. If you want to.”
Well, you know I do.)

“I can’t wait.  Where are we anyway? – this doesn’t look familiar.”
Caledonia State Park, 90 miles or so, almost halfway.
“I thought Breezewood was halfway.”
Yeah, it is also, but you can only see Breezewood a certain number of times.  You were sleeping, and I kept going up 15 instead of veering off onto 70.  Wanted to try a different way.
“I might have brought the navigator, I think it’s in the trunk.”
No thanks, I just want find my way through.  I have a general idea of where we are, but am trying to see something new.
“Makadekewin an.”
How’s that?
“It’s Ojibwe, like doodem.

(Where’d that come from?
“I’ve been doing a little poking around.  Was reading some about Hanging Cloud.”
Hmmm, I hope you’ll tell me about it.
“Finish your story first, my Nooke.”
Ah, I see.  What’s your sign, darlin’?
“Stop it, and get back to the story at hand.”)

Ojibwe?  That’s a little too Northwest for here, isn’t it?
“Don’t be too sure.  But speaking of here, why’d you come here?”
You’ve been talking about how much you like taking the smaller roads, and I just decided to try it.  To not be in a hurry, to be somewhere.  Maybe I’m trying to coddle that part of me that wants to see things for the first time, that likes to be surprised by what it finds.  To not know what to expect.
“Why don’t we get out and walk some then?”
Yeah, good idea.  I need to get out and move around anyway, shake off the road a bit, take some deep cool breaths.
“Plus it’s not even mid-morning yet, we’re not expected anywhere until dinner time.  Let’s  explore.”
Okay, here’s a parking lot, I can park here and maybe we’ll circle around and find something.

“’Too Northwest for here’, is that what you said?  How do you explain that then?”
Well, I can only explain why the parking lot is empty, must be off-season for the Playhouse.
“Better put your jacket on, it’s chilly.  And then come on back to the road, I want to see what the historical marker said.”
Hey, wait up…

The Michaux State Forest. Named in honor of Andre Michaux, a French botanist, dispatched by the King and Queen of France in 1785 to gather plants for the Royal Gardens. He and his son Francois Andre Michaux are noted for discovering and identifying a host of flowers, shrubs and trees.

(“Now there’s someone who was seeing things for the first time.”
Isn’t that the only way to discover?
“Is that what you want to do, discover something?”
I already discovered the flower grown for me.  And at that moment, everything became real.)

We’ve still got plenty of time, right?
“Yeah, hours extra.  Want to do something?”
We’re here, might as well use our hands and feet, really take a walk and explore…  Maybe walk along the stream for a while?
“That was what I was going to suggest.”
You want my sweatshirt?
I’m not in a big hurry to get to dinner.  I’m looking forward to it, just…
“Yeah, I know, me too.  Come on…”
The grass is tall and brown on the hill down to the bed, and then there’s open space to walk in.  We walk along the stream without hurry, we have plenty of time.  The water’s cold, with a leaf of two sailing by in it.  The trees are all in color.  We stop here and there to pick up a stone, or a particularly bright leaf, and pass it between us.  When we start to slow down, we find a big rock to sit on and listen to the stream, smell Autumn working its way through the woods.

(“You don’t do this enough recently.”
What, go for a walk in the woods?
“No, I mean descriptive passages.  So much dialogue all the time.”
Hmm.  You’re right.  There has been a lot of wordiness…
“I like that too, I like hearing what they have to say to each other.  And I know there’s always an idea, but sometimes…”
You’d like to have me just tell the story, instead of all the interpretation.
“No, I want both.  I want to walk and touch and feel, and I want to think about it.”
To see the world from both sides, with wonder and wisdom, naiveté and knowledge…
“Shush now, we’re coming up to my favorite part of the walk.”)

Walking under the trees on the way out, a breeze passed through, and a cloud of leaves let go of their branches and fluttered down over us.  We stopped in the midst of it, dazzled by the variety of bright colors and quick random individual movements collectively settling quietly.  I let my eyes go into soft focus in that red surround to listen to the whisper and be moved to both celebration and calm.  Coming back into focus, I find you doing the same.
You ready to move on?
“Yes, let’s go.  But…”
But what?
“I need another minute or two here, and then, when we get back in the car, instead of listening to the stereo, would you tell me something?”
I can try to tell you the one about the Moon…

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