A Stroll Through the Woods


A poetic paper that was initially solicited for a collection edited by Gyorgy Kepes. Kepes found it too experimental and rejected it. This triggered a lengthy letter exchange between Brodey and Kepes — it’s available in the Kepes archives at MIT. The original was originally in Judith Johnson’s possession.

The walk...yes...through the time, space, information world that forms as I stroll among the woods. Blush! No woods can be written down.

I cannot measure my woods...I will not bore you now.....with words unattached to context. The Universal philosophers: the university generals. Enough. The rocks around the lake. Join me, again, grass. Leaves of golden yellow, red factories wind flown down for it is fall time the wind puffs intricately delicately...yet sharp enough for birds to play with in their detail. Their detail comes of riding wind. I have usually lived on land horizon-oriented for simplicity.

This afternoon Oct 15 is a rainy time. The sound is a light steady strangely irregular ththrrrr...if I had my tape recorder here and this were not print hut a richer medium you could hear it; and the hum mm nun mm of the freezer, and you might if we had the use of sound equipment now But I would not be able to duplicate or even symbolize the drain of heat from my left arm which is near the cinder block wall. The heat drains toward the cooler wall. I radiate heat towards the wall. It beckons my heat with my warmth.....should I say from my warmth.

My feet rest sideways on a persian carpet...actually the right ankle rests on the left. You could see my body move if we were talking face to face. My hip rests on the couch my elbow deep into the couch supports my left shoulder leaving my right available for wrighting.

You must come with me on a walk.

It is raining.

Raining is a good time for wrighting.

Puff; Sh Sh; cooling of wind my clothes are leaves and trees. My skin does not contain me. that. Come walk with me. Rain now has stopped. The walls in here shut out the me that lives beyond them, the Goddam refrigerator barks the lumiere squeeks — I must move through the door of this room ... out of this confinement to change the permeability of the surrounding in: which: I: am: immersed. Lets go. I wonder what I will say out-my-side.

Out my side there is a sore. I hear the earth being burned and torn. Oxygen and Fuel Oil are used to melt granite in the quarry next door. A crane lifts the lumps and dumps them into cities near and far __ curbstone, gravestone, the facing for our justice department building in Washington Trucks roar --- my own voice cries silently for the opportunity to make a difference. The Stone is used for facing, for facing stony stares at flesh. Huge cranes, plastic facing flesh. Hard edged impermeable, unalive, simple easily translateable to paper and diagrams and drawings on flat pages.

I look up and see the most beautiful of trees made ugly by my ears contamination. How can people live in cities or suburbs? They must be insensative.

As we walk along the road the roar continues — How far must I to find a woods to walk in. The trees are all around me but the space has been simplified by men and women’s needs for facing buildings with rocks granite, brick --- hard heavy unrelenting walls. To KEEP OUT, their outer skin, beyond their clothes. At 5 o'clock it will stop. A jet roars overhead. Each tree I put between me and the coise shadows it from me. We must walk further.

The sound dims, that jet has passed. Our woods grows deeper. I expand. The paper is wetted by the leaf's drops. There are a multitude of clumps of creatures pines, oaks, maples grass rocks birds all intermingled. And I expand and join them — no, join — no, am again aware of being an intermingling.

What is this space-time-information union. I loop through, in many loops is ecological space flat, a perspective of the whole, leeched out to fit the page ho Is it continuous. Who cares. I am playing the Universal Game: the more general the word, the more important its consequences in words, the less difference the utterance makes to action.

Let us sit together here on the ground. You are probably dressed differently than I. Your clothes may prevent you from sitting squatted where the soil can feel your skin. The noise is gone. A Coffee break for industry. You will laugh with me or cry — above more planes and in the distance 1 actually hear and must listen to the local ’National Guard’ exercises which I know from watching them at their Armory includes ’riot drill' to suodue those who become ’Aggressive’

You must be confused. I live with a small group of friends in New Hampshire: A once rural state.

I live on 50 acres of undisturbed land, an oasis ........comparatively.

I have a long beard and long hair.

I enjoy my world even as it extends to include our connections, our passage yours and mine through these pages.

A chipmunk just rescued me he is two trees away. Gray bushy tail Chssik shwwik, chchuchch - a fine german throat sound. If I had away of being with you in sound or motion we could watch ...... my squirrell friend is gone. Now higher birds chirping perhaps they are glad the air is clearer and the smells are good.

So many happenings, relationally spaced in time. So many relations happening in the time-space around me. So many times, different clocks which musically map intervals so they will reveal the relational events repetitiously into things for our naming and playing.

The rhythm of the pen on this page, of the thoughts in my head or of the thoughts in my head as I connect events which may be for the squirrel or the tree unconnected;

But I have been taught A SOUSA’S MILITARY MARCH — in school, as a doctor, as a scientist. A Rational that forgot the word ratio was a part of rational. The sound world

H H H H — uh more planes. A two engined jet. It whistles in an unrelenting way.

I am sitting next to what once was a house — It covered by trees, Just a bit of wall shows, the rythm of clearing, land use for agriculture, quarrying, regrowth of woods is not the same tythm as the leaves that sit around me. The grass, acorns, flies, fleas worms, elephants and babies all live in relational worlds that only they can simplify ---- and they do. Uck - this is getting boring. I am beyond my ability to communicate let us walk farther and share our pace of moving, of pressing branches aside, listening for each other’s breathing to metranome our chant of behaviors.

The back gets stiff from sitting we stretch and. walk together released from talking and thinking in words and we share touch images that include doing actions, moving our eyes with our heads turning together, perhaps arm in arm striding. The richness and freshness grows and nothing seems without relation.

And this is ecology space, the space of time and idformation [sic], and meaning which comes of metabolizing - growing as the tree does its surround.

I am warming the lichens underneath me. the pine bough by my beard is stirred differently as the wind swirls among us.

Relational time, 

Relational space, 

Relational meaning, 

Relational information.

How does one find a way to use ecological space? 

If a young or older computer specialist says .......I have broken it all down into a linear program, which is mathematicially precise, and denies the complexity you and I have shared, and the ambiguity we know exists. Hit him. If he uses a formalation which would be ture for all time, as if time and clocks were god goven, tell him to join the other religionists of science in their acontextual monasteries so osten called institutes of learning. But I shrink even as I declare my anger at those who have used the sence of those who have used the sence of ovjectivity knowledge ’God peeping through the clouds at phenomenon below’ to join the sleepwalk of all of us unaware of the consequences of our granite walled skin. Ivy leaves and words of print crowns of thorns and sheepskins are now being left remembrances of the rythms of a time passed over in passage. 

I remember well the day I stood on a stool in my own laboratory and solemnly declared “I am no longer a scientist — I wish myself to be no part of those who have not taken responsibility for the consequences of their acts. Now I call myself an ecologist — the idea of being an anything pains me. I sleep underneath my favorite pine tree, I swim early in the morning. I sometimes work building toys and tools that help me understand the relational existence. If I can build toys that pay attention to their environment like a squirrel or a worm weaving round a buried nut, then I shall have perhaps a way of showing you what I can not say in print symbols, or pictures except 

If you already know what I mean. And if you do. Think of the fun children would have playing with environments that intermingle in away that is like my forest clumps of creatures. 

If I synthesize complex environments, you can tell me Ha yes — this is what is familiar I know how to deal with it. It is what 1 grew up knowing. Funny! the complex world of ecological space is simple to all creatures — or they would not exist. It is only hard to write down when our media is limited — print, and the symbols that can be carried on. a page — a sheet — a flat surface are not adequate for passing on ecological skills that all peoples and species initially possess. T.V. is better, Jacques Cousteau's films are worth eons of writing. Colour T.V. would bring you the soft floor of pine needles, my foot feels, the bouquet of intermingled branches and spaces they entangle. The birch touches my eye। I feel bark in my finger even as I write. But T.V. will not bring the smell nor the coolness of my butt pressed upon the rock. Now will laser T.V. do it. But these are the channels into which the new codes will bud. And

Science may yet have provided the means for its transcendence.

By building with plastic, air, light cellular materials which locally and centrally compute we create materials that have their own behaviors. These streamline when the wind blows at them so the wind goes through, they gain energy, store it when the sun is high. Indeed, we have ...... the means of using solar instead of fossel energy - the kids want it and will have it. 

I hear the military vehicles at the Armory --- or is it some heavy trucks. Fossel fuels [sic] may be protected. Education by schooling children for the industrial society is over.

Birds call back and forth, and if I stop them there will be no birds. And if I stop children from opening their skins to their surround, there will be no children - and I find no way but to join my...

Puuuuuuuhhh, a shot. A hunter, a vigilante, someone who simplifies with guns. Sounds of people. And sometimes I feel alone, and discouraged...