Tag Archives: chaos

A fissure in the sky

honolulu kapiolani park

fissure in the sky (departed)

A fissure in the clouds, shape of a spermatazoa, dissipates in the wind before I have a chance to take a picture of it. (What is that layer called, by the way, where the clouds reside?)

The things we see in the clouds – animals, geography, Jesus Christ or the Alchemist – flee with the wind, absconding with our thoughts, leaving behind weary eyes and good intentions.

Ever been to a place three, four, fifteen, twenty times and basically had the same exact experience every time? Kapiolani / Queens Beach is like that. The circumstances may be vaguely different – why you’re in Honolulu, how long you’ll stay. But the weather and the old men in chairs are always more or less the same. The boys on the sand are never precisely the same ones as last time but they’re still the same nonetheless.

Man on Sand - Queens Beach, Kapiolani

Man on Sand – Queens Beach, Kapiolani


rain on me

Sometimes I wait for the fissure in the sky to burst open and rain newness. Today was that day. The fissure was erased by the wind then a layer of sheet metal grey clouds slipped in and spat rain. I dragged our things beneath the wide umbrella of a sea tree. The newness was rain: it never rains in Kapiolani Park. Everything else was essentially the same, though I noted that they put some nice container plants around the snack bar. Very nice. Regrettably, the bathroom is still disgusting.

Kapiolani towel in the grass 2011

Kapiolani towel in the grass 2011

Recursive structures: Tree in Kapiolani Park

Recursive structures: Tree in Kapiolani Park


and then there was…?

If nature is chaos and the universe is recursivity (the hallmark of structure) and the multiverse is a manifestation of recursive infinity – same universe, only slightly different circumstances – and if God is responsible for all of this then God is chaos and God is recursivity and God is multiverses and that tiny fissure in the sky that evaded my camera was a portal to infinity. Just a glimpse, mind you. A peek into awareness. Fleeting like a tease.

Picnic table, Kapiolani Park 2011

Picnic table, Kapiolani Park 2011


Embracing chaos

In his review of a new exhibition of Claude Monet at the Grand Palais in Paris (Harpers, Jan 2011), John Berger notes that the great Impressionist “once revealed that he wanted to paint not things in themselves but the air that touched things – the enveloping air. The enveloping air,” he explains, “offers continuity and infinite extension.” It transforms a moment “into an eternity.”

A few months ago I took up yoga again, after a brief flirtation 25 years ago with asanas and pranayama, which is the exercise of moving air (one’s breath) through your body as you move into yogic positions. Each day of practice I dedicate the session to a different goal or emphasis: for example, focus, patience, being less critical, compassion… Today’s yoga practice was dedicated to embracing all aspects of my life – the mixed bag of how I make my living (a clumsy structure of orderly disorder governing multiple projects) paired with, and in constant conflict with, my writing. In other words, I dedicated today’s practice to embracing chaos.

For me, chaos is the underlying structure of the universe. It is randomness overlaid on discernible and more often than not indiscernible structures. It is conflict and dichotomy. Birth and destruction. Love and contempt. Darkness and light. Chaos is the infinite extension; it is Monet’s enveloping air.