Archive for August 15th, 2022

GC Myers- Botanica Vitae

Botanica Vitae– At the West End Gallery

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.

–Jack London, The Call of the Wild

I really like the excerpt above from Jack London and his 1903 classic, The Call of the Wild. The idea of being as alive as one can be, to be at the peak of one’s existence, to be so fully vital that the sensation of ecstasy achieved feels natural and inborn, is intriguing.

I think I may have experienced at one or two points in my life when my faculties, both physical and mental, were at higher operating levels but I can’t be sure. I think it must be so powerful and all-encompassing that one doesn’t realize that it is an extraordinary feeling they are experiencing.

I think I still have the capacity for this feeling. At least, I hope.

I guess to put it in a symbolic form, like the growth in the painting here, I wish I could grow and blossom once again, to exude some part of myself, a flower or a leaf, that tells the world that I am alive.

Maybe this painting is such a flower?

Maybe. I don’t know.

But it gives me something different to ponder on a day when there is much to consider in this world at this time.

Here’s song that expresses this sentiment pretty well. It’s a song from back in 1968 called I’m Alive from R&B/Pop singer Johnny Thunder. It was written by Tommy James, who later released this song in 1969 with his group, Tommy James & the Shondells.

You probably don’t know this version from Johnny Thunder which is unfortunate. Bob Dylan, in a 1969 Rolling Stone article, when asked if he was impressed by anything he was hearing in the world of rock music, mentioned the Thunder version of this song, saying: “Never heard it either, huh? Well, I can’t believe it. Everyone I’ve talked to, I’ve asked them if they’ve heard that record. It was one of the most powerful records I’ve ever heard. It’s called ‘I’m Alive.’ By Johnny Thunder. Well, it was that sentiment, truly expressed. That’s the most I can say … if you heard the record, you’d know what I mean.”

High praise. Johnny Thunder definitely feels alive here.

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