Thomas Anderson

"From this Place"
Ink, 30" x 22"
©2020 Thomas Anderson

From this place I cannot see
Heart is dark,
Beneath rising seas
From this place, I don’t believe
All my hopes,
My sweet relief
From here, I say I cannot breathe
Fear and hurt
Again we bleed
Unsafe, unsound, unclear to me
Don’t know how to be
From this place, I must proceed
Trust in love,
Truth be my lead
From here I will stand with thee
Until hearts are truly free
- Alison Riley

From this place is about a specific geographical location near my home where I often go to walk, to find solace in and inspiration from nature (the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve). It is also about a mental and emotional “place” that is sometimes specific but often in flux. This place runs the gamut of human emotion from terror to bliss and everything in between. It is the place where I sort out how I feel about the human world around me. It is the place where I wonder if homo sapiens will become extinct in the coming decades or if we will collectively come into our hearts and save the planet that allows us our lives. As my thoughts drift into the past and into the future, from my head into my heart and far out into space, I remain drawn to the specific place where I can be in the present moment. It is from this place I see tangible instances of biodiversity in action, the forces that will go on with or without me, the place where my ability to deeply care about life emanates, and from where I will always proceed.

And for me this composition fully embodies the state of freedom in which I perceive birds to live. I do not like to assign human emotions to birds or any wild creature. Yet these American Avocets, going about their daily business of finding food in the shallow water of the wetlands, are so focused upon existing in the present moment that this is the definition of bliss. This is how biodiversity functions when human beings do not interfere with it. It goes beyond the human concepts of science and emotion to become something entirely sublime.

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