Friday

White



Stark white blossoms of dogwood have opened throughout the valley.  All the other flowerings seem softened by a misting of green, a bit of pink, a splash of yellow but not the dogwood.  The white of it is purely Malevich. His was the White Square that carried us into abstraction, into modernism, into the twentieth century. His hopes and dreams were for a new era of materialism! that would allow for greater spiritual freedom!  Ah...the artist.

But the dogwood has never, to my knowledge, had need of dogma, theory or meaning.  It comes, it grows, the blossoms make their startling appearance, then the green leaves.  Young girls swing from its smooth branch. Birds nest in its forked twiggery.  The occasional squirrel runs its trunk.  The berry drops and is eaten by someone or other I'm sure.  Or with ideal condition gives birth to yet another dogwood.

Kazimir's father managed sugar factories in the Ukraine where the family had fled, refugees from wars in Poland hoping to live, if not on poet Anne Sexton's sugar cube happily ever after, then surely in some sort of peace, or as much as would be possible in a household containing nine children.

When I think of Malevich I remember how the elegance of his bold audacity seduced me utterly early on.  Nihilist now, I mostly am.  But still,  I remember the sweetness of belief in our species possibilities.  Not as long-lasted as my love for the dogwood though.

All that white. So stark.  And those silky branches.  Perfect for swinging.  Just the size for a smallish hand to grasp.  A young girl's hand.  Mine.