Walking into Motte’s studio, you do not see the art front and center. You see the rocks. River rocks, almost all of which you could fit in the palm of your hand, arranged, stacked, organized, piled upon the long countertop, on the floor, in the windowsills. River rocks everywhere. And there’s something astonishing about it, something that makes me step back before I can take it all in.
“Take any you like,” Motte says, friendly as ever. “It’s the weirdest thing–my art just didn’t start flowing until I started going down to the river and picking up these rocks.” There are thousands of rocks. He goes on: “These rocks are like three hundred million years old! They are some of the oldest rocks on the surface of the Earth!”
I wonder if that is true, not being a geologist, but knowing that the Appalachians are some of the oldest mountains in the world, and picking up on his enthusiasm, I realize suddenly that I now value river rocks more now, just seeing how my short-term neighbor Motte values them. And I wonder if, because Motte is here for only a short period of time, he makes it a point to absorb more value, more beauty in this place that is already so rich.
There is a part of me that wants to be ashamed that I have not walked all the trails, found the giant beech trees at the head of the creek, gone to the river’s edge and let rock after rock rest in my palm absorbing its beauty. But instead I look at these piles of rock, all gathered and appreciated by Motte, and I say I’ve learned something tonight.
The Moon, full and silver, coats everything in a glow. In my hands I carry a rock, heavy for one hand, but still managable. It is white with slate blue crystals of kyanite. It is very, very old. Shadows of trees vein the driveway. The sky is open and magnetic. I breathe the sky, my heart an open palm, ladled with light.