Alaska black and whiteMetaphysics of Love and Aesthetics

1973

A logging cabin 33.3 miles North-West of Fairbanks, at the edge of some woodlands, underneath tall mountains with snow-caps, below a cold morning sky.

A bearded man with a broad back and round shoulders, dressed in lumberjack clothing – a thick shirt with red and black plaids tucked into brown dockers held by two green bracelets – with a heavy axe in his right hand moves towards a disorderly pile of wood which needs to be chopped.

The man begins to crack the logs one by one. Each time the sharp blade penetrates the wood, the cracking sound echoes through the woods. With each echo, Icarus is turning to see what was being dismembered, not paying attention that he is flying into the sun.

After fifteen logs, Icarus’ wings melt, and he falls like a rain over the lumberjack.

Heavy dark clouds come unannounced from behind the mountains. Cold drops are falling fast, but the man does not flinch: the weather is of no bother to him. He continues with the woodchopping.

The earth becomes mud, and the green leaves of the trees are dripping rows of dusty rainwater on the soft moss beneath them. An eagle flies into the woods for safety.

After a few hours, the logs are all cut and neatly arranged one on top of the other, in a rectangular pile. The lumberjack then looks up, at the charcoal sky and only now he notices the rain. With a tired gesture he pulls on his wet beard as his blue eyes look in the distance at the mountains: humidity is evaporating slowly, and a thick white fog is floating above the pine trees higher up.

The man then picks up four or five logs and walks inside his small cabin. After a few minutes, the chimney releases a thin spectre of smoke as the flames consume the freshly cut pieces of wood.

Outside it is quiet. Only the falling rain can be heard. No beast. No man. No god. Only the silent nature.

As the fire is burning, somewhere in New York a car’s engine is started by a man with orange leather gloves, a London’s office building opens for the first time and twenty people walk in, and, perhaps in Paris, although it could have been Moscow, words are being written in newspapers as we prepare for another war.

It is now 2003 and the images held by a wrinkled polaroid in the pocket of an American soldier are covered in blood and dust. His grandfather moved to Alaska to cut wood in 1973, when he was his age – twenty-three. Today, his grandson finally gave up, on a field in Iraq, under no rain and a white sun.

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