Just Now Our Blood Dances to Other Music: Summer Field Studies
This project was part of the group show Summer Field Studies at The Henry Art Gallery
I created a map and illustrated guide of all the things that keep me in Seattle when everything in me is yearning for the horizon. Full description below images.
Just Now Our Blood Dances to Other Music: How to Keep A Feral Creature in the City During the Wrong Season
"Why do you ever come back, then, at all?" he demanded of the swallows jealously. “What do you find to attract you in this poor drab little country?”
“And do you think,” said the first swallow, “that the other call is not for us too, in its due season? The call of lush meadow- grass, wet orchards, warm, insect-haunted ponds, of browsing cattle, of haymaking, and all the farm-buildings clustering round the House of the perfect Eaves?”
“Do you suppose,” asked the second one, “that you are the only living thing that craves with a hungry longing to hear the cuckoo's note again?”
“In due time,” said the third, “we shall be home-sick once more for quiet water-lilies swaying on the surface of an English stream. But to-day all that seems pale and thin and very far away. Just now our blood dances to other music.”
–Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
I rediscovered The Wind in the Willows while bicycling across the United States. I was staying at an observatory in West Texas with a family of fiddle-playing astrophysicists, and I had just called off an engagement over the phone while illegally camped in a cow pasture. Broken hearted, exhausted, and overwhelmed by the ceaseless impossibility of reconciling my contradictory longings for wanderlust and roots, I turned to the security blanket that has saved me since childhood: I picked up a book.
Wayfarers All, the ninth chapter of The Wind in the Willows, fundamentally changed the way that I look at the world. It provided a lens that explained the divergence of my desires, and from that point on, I have understood myself as a migratory creature. I am someone who is fiercely bound to the concept of home: but I am a seasonal pilgrim, and I must follow my home as it moves.
When I feel the pull of the horizon, I listen and I leave. But it sometimes takes time to shuffle logistics into place, and there are periods of weeks or months in which I find myself stuck in the city when everything in me is aching for the horizon. At those times, I try to remember that the seasons will shift and that Seattle will become home once again, that in time I will feel called to return.
Just Now Our Blood Dances to Other Music is a field guide documenting the ways in which I remind myself of the love that I hold for this place.