By Eucalyptus Ike
Dotty calls these two imposing stick figures, apparently two of his latest
works, simply “Trickster Jay Couple.” For those of you unfamiliar with this
rather esoteric art form, “stickies” [a shortened form for ‘stick figures’] are
crafted from tree limb or branch selected for its resemblance to a life form,
often a human form. The artist “sees” in the naturally occurring shape or
form of a part of the living tree ‘another reality’ or a deeper meaning that can
be exposed for expositional or symbolic purposes. But there is more to this
art form than meets the eye. Should we not ask ourselves why these tree
forms occur naturally in the first place? Those who do not know or
appreciate wood talk (i.e. almost everybody) will be quick to assert random
coincidence as the obvious explanation, just as “the earth is flat” was obvious
to almost everybody once knot long ago…unfortunately what is obvious to
everybody is in fact often really not obvious at all. What appears to us as a
solid surface is in reality a kaleidoscope of atomic particles swirling in a whorl
of dizzy possibilities…So let us not be disposed so quickly to disbelief; let us
not be quick to assume we know what in fact we don’t.
Gesture, posture, facial expression, body motion—all are generally recognized by intelligent people as forms of
paralanguage. If anyone reading this doubts what I am reporting, I suggest the following test. Ask a pretty woman
(or vice versa) who is a complete stranger out on a dance floor, say nothing at all, just grind your pelvis into hers,
and determine for yourself if she understood the message. I guarantee you she will get the point….If you still
doubt that trees can communicate, apply your familiarity with body language to the photo you see above. Clearly,
there is ample evidence that a walnut tree was bending over backwards to make a similar point. Now observe
again, if you will, the photo of Dotty’s “Trickster Jay Couple.” Notice that the bark has been removed selectively,
but otherwise the shape of each figure is as it occurred naturally. Their resemblance to the human form is
unmistakable, the postures captured here in a graceful dance filled with a kind of swooping energy and vitality.
And this much would be obvious even without the added paint. Thus it is clear that Dotty knows tree grammar
and has ‘seen’ for himself that trees attempt to communicate. With remarkable sureness of vision, he presents us
with an image where strangely compelling birdlike but essentially anthropomorphic figures engage in a mysterious
dance where wood has become symbol and symbol merges with an alternative reality. But there is more.
In short, shut up and listen, for a change, to someone whose bark is better suited than yours to explain
what’s really going on. You see, trees can communicate with us. Granted, their grammar of form is
somewhat unusual, often ambiguous, and leaves something to be desired where visibility is concerned;
nevertheless, for those who have learned to look and listen, this phenomena is obvious. Who has not
observed the crotch of a tree limb and failed to note the obvious pudenda? Think about it. And a simple
observation of the number of times the limbs and branches of many varieties of tree appear in human
form will be obvious to anyone who looks even casually. We do not call them tree limbs for no reason.
Now, is there anyone who has any exposure to intelligence whatsoever who would be willing to dispute
the fact that humans communicate through body language?
The Craft of Odd Jim Dotty: 'Dances With Wood'
“Oh gentle reader lend your ear, ten fathoms ‘lo the atmosphere,
When ancient voices reappear, as words in wood so very dear
To seek, to know what you may see and hear…”
Mother Yasmadregal of Alas Morel and the Moonbeam, Lithe Madrigal,
Kept a nest made of hay like a Florentine Quay for the Blue Jay Frijole Pepito
And his Blue Senorita that May.
This Pajaro Pequito, neither pigeon nor Frito, the son of Shy Bird of OLE,
Sang with a twitterous, sonorous transmitter, and his songs were quite totally gay.
How he sang on his toes of his sweet Maori Rose, in the morning, and evening at dinner;
How he sang of the sun, in flight, on the run, 'til his throat was quite noticeably thinner.
God! He sang of the dance of Fair Bon Bon of France, of whom you'll hear more about later,
And his lyric gymnastics of legerdemain as the forest's vox-presto dictator!
You see, he sang for the reason that little birds do 'bout the country of birds in the blue,
And it filled her with joy when this sprite of a boy carried on with his cute ballyhoo,
His glorious twittering, sonorous glittering, outrageously piercing, susurrus tattoo.
On that morning in May in the time of decay near the close of the Ages of Sadness,
He awoke on the Quay with his song for the day, from his dream of Impossible Gladness.
Was it lunatic music or true?
As he sang his new song, Bon Bon followed along, when, from his little tail pert,
He ejected a squirt, which she followed 'til it hit the dirt
Far below........near Yasmadregal's slender big toe!
Now the sound of the whum from his little Bum-drum was a snap, crackle, pop of a ditty.
My Dowd! Was he witty, (Though she thought rather saucy)
and he certainly was singing pretty!
Then, SUDDENLY, oh so suddenly...
How the idea struck, like the kick of a buck: so dazzling bright was the flight
Of her cognitive sight that she winced from the light that quite lit up the fright
Of all of the previous blight.
(Yes she got the idea as the stream of his rhea struck the earth like a drum--Jubilee-a!)
What she saw that saws can't say--Hey, it was A-O.K.
Our seeds set sail upon the wind; so light and gay our Motes ascend,
To wend their way to be or not portend. Our tiny voices sing upon the wind.
With a shell to your ear you can certainly hear the tiny tune message they send.
Why do we grow so tall? The simple answer, love, is all.
And why so big around? The simple answer, love, is found.
In love, our roots below the ground so growing, intermingling and bound,
As intertwined as you are found at times below, upon the ground.
Your limber timber of the Dove, It grows when you make Love,
We know. Love is the answer why we grow. You see! We know! And now you know!
Well, as you can clearly see from the above, Dotty’s source of inspiration for “Trickster Jay Couple” was undoubtedly based upon Gravey’s reporting of
Yasmadregal’s Song [in Canto 10 of “The Songs of the Sons of the Woods” and we now know just who the original tricky couple really were: the Blue jay
Frijole Pepito and his Blue Senorita that May. Isn’t that just about the wildest coincidence you can imagine!
As you know, in P. T. Gravey’s splendiferous exegeses exploring the historical antecedents which lead to the dark
design of death and designation for many of the High Sierra’s pristine Redwood forests, his epic poem presents an
idyllic song authored by the Redwood tree, Yasmadregal, entitled “Yasmadregal’s Vision of Hope.” By courtesy
of the author’s estate, I append below for the reader’s delectation a portion of that illustrious Canto.
Yasmadregal’s big toe
The photo above, courtesy of the Gravey
Family, was taken by P.T. Gravey
himself (during one of his lucid periods)
while on a long trek through numerous
Redwood forests of the Sierra Nevada,
trips he often shared with his lifelong
camping partner Odd Jim Dotty. Dotty,
of course, was a frequent guest at the
Gravey family compound in Irvine and
the two are known to have spent as
much as several weeks together on
numerous occasions, roaming over the
west on vacations to New Mexico,
Arizona, Nevada, and Northern
California. There is little debate among
art historians in the know that Dotty had
read Gravey's EpicTome, a copy of
which is, even as we speak, gathering
dust in the Dotty family archives, among
the thousands and thousands of other
books and manuscripts Dotty collected
during his prolific career as a
graphophile, graphologer and student of
other of the most esoteric symbological
Without a doubt, no phrase short of “shock and awe” can ever hope to capture the reaction this bilious author’s liver experienced
upon receipt of recent news bandied about the multi-talented prodigitations of the Van Eyesian phenomenon now recognized
worldwide as the one and only Odd Jim Dotty. His crotchety self having only recently returned from a squamous and somewhat
surreptitious perambulation of unnamed national parks in the Pacific and Canadian Northwest (where it is rumored he opined daily
upon the accoutrements of arboreal splendor and the flavor of fine dining in the local fashionable hotels and watering holes etc.)
when suddenly we learn he has plowed entirely new furrows in the fields of artistic flocculation, now fecund with fertile forms and
undiminished femininity….What dimension, what scale, what layered domain of grandeur, what huge couture can one mere mortal
imagine? It appears that Dotty is determined [somehow] to explore these depths for all of us, to make his mark, to write large his
peculiar brand of achievement upon the blind bedrock of capitalist insensibilities where ‘success’ is ordinarily measured in the
mundane three dimensional realities of rupees, greenbacks, yen and Eurodollars. Yet, let us--certainly not us--go there but instead
percolate our senses beyond that pale where madness lies.