Leap: Friday Fractal LXXIV

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Leap through Labor to Leap through Labor to Leap

I created a bit of ambiguous poetry recently, and I simply couldn’t resist trying another. And well, it is Leap Day, after all... which is also my birthday, so it seems like a good time for a "free choice" fractal. That said, I couldn’t bring myself to simply post the art and line. I’d fidget all weekend wondering if anyone understood it. Even if I do explain, it still may not make any sense.

When I initially started to create this fractal (from a formula ambiguously named Andrextrandom) I called it "Flight", for several reasons. Most obviously (to me) is the jumping figure on the left, who is spreading arms as if to fly. If you look closely, you’ll see other symbols of flight: butterfly outlines, and then a crane-like figure on the right, which appears to be dipping its bill into a pool. "Flying" is a term that has multiple meanings to me, which you might catch in last week’s poem. But that isn’t quite all I saw in this fractal. It is really about life... or reproduction, to be more specific. The leaping figure is made to look like a flying Venus of Willendorf, while the crane-like figure is meant to be rather phallic. (C’mon, it’s dipping its head into a opening... or maybe it’s just me.) The colors and patterns surrounding the figures are also meant to represent reproduction. The near-monochromatic lines twist into one another in places, almost spiraling. This represents DNA... genetic variety, or the mixing of two sets of variables. The red.... well, it is traditionally a color of love and passion, but it is also the color of blood, shed in so many different ways.

Then, there’s the "title" which should (but probably will not) explain it all. You’ll notice the line repeats itself. (The fractal does, too, but that’s normal.) I’ve been reading The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas lately, a book written by Gertrude Stein in the voice of her lover and companion, Alice B. Toklas, in which Alice describes how Gertrude Stein perceives others (like Alice B. Toklas) and collects their personalities in her poetry and prose. If that sounds a bit round-about, I expect it is meant to be. One section of the book centers around the time Gertrude Stein composed the famous phrase, "A rose is a rose is a rose." Now, I’d always sort of liked that phrase, without knowing why. ("Yes, we have no bananas" is another favorite... perhaps not written by Stein, but certainly influenced by her style.) Reading Alice B. Toklas has shed some light on the subject. Stein herself said that she created a circle in writing "a rose is a rose is a rose". I interpret that as saying the phrase isn’t nonsense, nor is the word, but, in repeating it does become dynamic. The meaning of the word, repeated, changes as the line is spoken. More importantly than the meaning (which is sort of detached from the words themselves) the words form their own sort of rhythm, and the form of the line (or circle, if you will) outshines the meaning.

I rather liked that. So I tried it.

Leap through Labor to Leap through Labor to Leap

Perhaps I’ve tried to plant more meaning in my phrase than Stein did in her garden of roses. The day will give one meaning to one word, of course, but there are many other meanings for that one word. Indeed, if you try it out, you’ll find the meaning changes as you read.

Leap through Labor

Though many women will disagree, this is one way I see giving birth. It takes one great amount of effort to push this new being into the world, surrounded by both pain and fascination.... and then it is over before you know it. This is where you’ll probably disagree... it seems to take forever. But if you compare the process of giving birth with the process of raising a child, you might see how one is a simple leap.

through Labor to Leap

We give birth, and send children out into the world, to take brave steps into an unfamiliar world... what, to them, may seem like a gigantic leap. (I know from the parent’s perspective, it passes so quickly.)

to Leap through Labor

Once sent into the world, the child (which is us, too) struggles to survive... in our parlance, that would be the daily grind, work work work. You know what I’m talking about.

through Labor to Leap

But it isn’t all bad, is it? We labor for survival, and in so doing, we create the world around us. Innovation, invention... all quantum leaps, if you’ll allow me to borrow the term. We seem to jump like a sub-atomic particle from one stage in life to another, either riding along some rough wave, or floating above like a ray of light--and we’re never completely sure until it’s done. But that’s the idea... we aren’t sure where we are going, we’re just along for the ride. It isn’t supposed to mean anything, but it is easy to appreciate the rhythm and leaping form.

Leap through Labor to Leap through Labor to Leap

So, where to leap next?

I’d like to thank Lynne for this one... she wrote me last spring when she found this description of the edge of chaos, and thought it described the energy of labor and birth quite well. While I’d agree from my one experience, I’d trust her opinion more. She works as a midwife, aiding women as they leap through labor. She asked if I’d ever created any fractal art around birth. I hadn’t, but kept the idea all this time. Well, Lynne, here you are! Fractal made using ChaosPro.

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