Friday, August 29, 2008
I took this picture recently to illustrate a story about a mushroom lecture at Saddleback Mountain, a ski area in Rangeley. That's gravel -- the mushrooms are about half an inch tall. As I looked at it, I thought about the comic strip Cul de Sac, not because there's anything about mushrooms in that strip but because it provides a window on childhood that I really haven't seen before, and the specific connection is that, when I was about six or seven, I would have hunkered down and looked at this tiny forest of mushrooms and really examined it and considered its colors and textures. I'd have had, as a matter of routine, the kind of viewpoint that this photograph artificially provides.
Calvin and Hobbes was childhood as we remember it. Cul de Sac is childhood as we don't remember it, but as we do as soon as we're reminded. It's a strange little world in which we don't quite know how to rank the things we've noticed, so we just notice them all in a big pile from which we haphazardly select random things to worry about, or to believe, or to laugh about or to obsess over.
This relatively new strip is brilliant work by Richard Thompson, who also keeps an extremely thoughtful blog about things he's done and what he thinks of them now. The piece on Ingres is what reminded me to post this. I've just added his blog to the links on the rail to the right because it's certainly worth visiting and I suspect you'll end up bookmarking it. (Though you're welcome to come here regularly and use the link provided!)
Meanwhile, here are a couple of Cul de Sacs that cracked me up. Click to get a readable version.