A few years ago we volunteered in the morning out at the Nature of Art project at McCarran Ranch and, finishing in the late morning we decided to continue on and soak up a little Pyramid Lake sun on a warming but-not-yet-hot spring day. We laid on the beach for a while and then, fine sand being pretty ideal, Renee started doing handstands and I taking pictures. We’d done a few handstands by then, but it hadn’t quite yet become a project the way that is is now, but looking back at this moment I am struck by this windy beach, this ancient body of water, and its expression in a handstand.
Some days you just handstand. But looking at this and the many more pictures of handstands this week I asked myself why do we do this? Why does Renee love to do handstands in nature? And, why do we want to share the memory of them with people? There isn’t really just one answer to these questions, but what I’ve been thinking of lately has to do with how we want to be with the natural world. You’ll notice I don’t say “what we want to do in nature,” but “how we want to be with nature.” Handstands are play, they are an expression of the body that turns its normal state, well, literally and figuratively, upside down. They invert standards about what we are supposed to do when we are outside, but they do not discard them. They are a way for us to express something about how the forms of the natural world affect us, how we can bend to them rather than they bending to us. This is, I think, really key to the point we want to make about the world and our place in it. We are not outside in order to accomplish something, we are accomplishing things outside in order to be in the world.with Renee