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  • Sunday, July 22, 2007

    Like the Pulse of Stars Projected on the Dome of a Planetarium
    By Sean Ripple

    He was pleased that he met his goal of producing 5 drawings of the monument a day for every day of the current year. 1825 new examples of the structure in all variety of weather, shade of light, and relationship to passersby (transcribed onto the page using nothing more than charcoal and gouache) now existed. In year's past his yearly rate had been as a little as one drawing of the monument a day, to as many as 20 drawings a day – this rate was determined as arbitrarily as was the time of time of day he would step out into the world to make his drawings. And although the days he stepped out into were somewhat predictable thanks to thousands of years of human observation which had come to understand solar/lunar cycles and weather patterns in an increasingly accurate manner despite constant fluctuation, he still had to make decisions as to how he should respond to the daily conditions. For instance, if it were raining out, sometimes he would wait until the rain had stopped before he set up to draw. Other times he would draw in the rain, without an umbrella even, allowing for light smudges to occur when the rain was of the spitting sort. Still other times he would embrace a downpour with the page, the charcoal lines of the transcribed monument losing all shape, while the page itself tore through as he drew.

    He had been drawing the monument in this ritualistic fashion since retiring 10 years ago from the architectural firm he helped found. He had none of the obligations associated with a wife, children or an immediate family and had accumulated a nest egg that was more ostrich than chicken, so this freed him of any feelings of irresponsibility that may have come with devoting his time to a ritual that provided no substantial income. For the most part, he found his act to be a perfectly fine thing to do with his time. However, sometimes when deeply uninspired or detached from his ritual, he thought he should devote his free time to a detailed study of mathematics. When faced with the internal oscillation that came from having such an episode of doubt, he generally concluded that either activity, because it would ultimately be disconnected from a larger social function, amounted to much the same thing. What that thing was, he couldn’t clearly define, but mostly he considered it to be a sort of biding of his time.

    On this day, the last day of the current year, nothing of a dramatic nature happened to him. He did not die while putting the last of his 1825 drawings into his portfolio. The monument was not destroyed in his presence. A person did not come up to discuss the little known history of the monument having caused a political uproar when erected back in 1907. The heavens did not open up.

    There were only billions of people breathing at the same moment...expanding and contracting...

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