Thursday, May 01, 2008

context and appearances

context and appearances
Originally uploaded by rod lewis
When I commented about how nice the silver looked against the log walls, Michelle responded with how tarnished the silver was. She quickly added though, that it doesn’t look nice right after it’s polished because it is so out of place in its rustic environment.
Oh, ain’t that the truth? Perhaps it’s thought that silver is silver and silver should shine. It matters not what its context may be. But nothing exists apart from its environment. There is context in which perfectly shiny silver is not beautiful, where it looks pretentious attempting to upstage its surroundings.
I feel I’ve spent much of my life as an everyday, weathered piece of tarnished silver comfortably fitting in with my natural environment. There are plenty of perfectly polished teapots and serving dishes attempting to mingle among us, but sticking out and remaining suspect in my rough-hewn world.
The irony is that the perfectly polished pieces have ceaselessly tried to put me under the cloth – to soak me in salt and baking soda to make me shine like they do and become suspect and inauthentic in my world.
Polishing the outside does nothing for the quality. The tarnish does absolutely nothing to the quality of the silver. The tarnish merely accumulates on the surface and what lies underneath is as pure as ever. Conversely, polishing up copper does not make it silver. On the outside, it may look perfect, but inside it’s still just a common metal.