Homily Sticks, Ponder Panels, and Words of Wonder & Endearment

The illuminated wood writings of James L Hickey

Illustrated by Alicia Araya

In the course of its tumbling meander toward the sea, the rivers hereabouts cast up a practically limitless amount of cast-off wood, frequently as one sort or another of wooden needle. Beaver-bitten, human-hewn, or merely shaped by calamity and gravity and wind and water and stone into the classic shapes of daggers and handles of one sort or another, these forms are not what most passers-by would consider prepossessing. Often stuck in muck, covered with dirt and detritus, or moldy and buggy on the surface, these examples of nature’s short-swords often appear both common and homely.

Jim Hickey begs to differ. For many decades, he has collected samples of such items. Recently, he has begun to work the wood: cleaning it, sanding it, shaving it, developing the faces of the sticks so as to be more presentable.

He then lets the pieces sit, listening for what each one has to say until a semblance of sense emerges from a piece. After writing down and shaping these words, he burns them into the sticks: inevitably, some element of philosophy, morality, or intellectual investigation is what emerges, since even though he’s listening to the wood, the message is going through the ‘Jimbo Translator,’ which cannot help but bear the imprint of someone in love with words and ideas.

Alicia will often add touches of artistry to the words. Jim provides color and, as a final step, stains and finishes each piece according to what will both enhance and preserve a particular stick.

Although many of the sticks have holes and wire attached, adding potential functionality to the conceptual or aesthetic presence, others are freestanding or appear on finished bases. They all proffer some message—hence the ‘homily’—but mainly they are beautiful, natural sculptures that invite an appreciation for the infinite number of ways that time and tide craft gorgeous material for our contemplation.

This collection documents all of the texts that have gone on these magical pieces of driftwood, roughly separated into six different categories describing elements of all existence. We hope you enjoy these messages.

COSMOS

THAT WHICH ILLUSTRATES SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, AND SEEKING KNOWLEDGE

 

The cosmic cradle’s rocking, rarely detected, barely detectable, has incubated the stuff of galaxies and stars, the earth and us: the vast span of matter & energy in transit contains… Nearly infinite reaches of Time & Space that in turn yield both every strange, unexpected artifact and… Its contemplation.

The cosmic cradle’s rocking, rarely detected, barely detectable, has incubated the stuff of galaxies and stars, the earth and us: the vast span of matter & energy in transit contains…
Nearly infinite reaches of Time & Space that in turn yield both every strange, unexpected artifact and…
Its contemplation.

Any consciousness that envisions attaining heavenly heights… somehow must first root itself somehow in the muck & mire of some good earth.

Any consciousness that envisions attaining heavenly heights…
somehow must first root itself somehow in the muck & mire of some good earth.

Attempting to keep Wisdom’s cup filled to the very brim will always express… Both the point and the paradox of consciousness.

Attempting to keep Wisdom’s cup filled to the very brim will always express…
Both the point and the paradox of consciousness.

beaver-big

The circle, or the wheel, represents an almost ideal metaphor for existence in the Cosmos: it is merely nearly perfect because, however striking are correspondences between past & present, no cosmic revolution returns all-that-is precisely to any prior point of origin.

"I Am Drawn to Those Who Seek the Truth, But I Flee in Horror From Those Certain That They've Uncovered Its Very Essence, For Nothing So Assassinates the Search For Veracity As Does a Certainty That One Already Knows Exactly What It Is." "Me atraen las personas cuales buscan la verdad, pero huyo en horror de aquellas personas convencidas que han descrubrido la fundamental essencia de la verdad, pues nada más asesina la faena de buscar la verdad que la certeza de que uno ya ha decubierto exactamente de qué consiste."

“I Am Drawn to Those Who Seek the Truth, But I Flee in Horror From Those Certain That They’ve Uncovered Its Very Essence, For Nothing So Assassinates the Search For Veracity As Does a Certainty That One Already Knows Exactly What It Is.”
“Me atraen las personas cuales buscan la verdad, pero huyo en horror de aquellas personas convencidas que han descrubrido la fundamental essencia de la verdad, pues nada más asesina la faena de buscar la verdad que la certeza de que uno ya ha decubierto exactamente de qué consiste.”

 

Whatever boons result from our outside cranial capacity... our humble, clever hands, which permit us to shape & then grasp productively any tool that the mind might conceive, and our sturdy pedestrian feet, which have allowed...

Whatever boons result from our outside cranial capacity…
our humble, clever hands, which permit us to shape & then grasp productively any tool that the mind might conceive, and our sturdy pedestrian feet, which have allowed…

 

"Anything Old Enough Ends Up Dried Out And Full Of Holes: Still, Through Desiccation, Rot, & Collapse, Measures Of Strength & Beauty & Meaning Miraculously Remain." "Cualquier Cosa Lo Suficientemente Vieja Termina Seca Y Llena De Hoyos, Sin Embargo, Por Medio De La Desicacion, El Deterioro, Y El Colapso, Cierta Medida De Fortaleza Y Belleza Y Significado Milagrosamente Prevalecen."

“Anything Old Enough Ends Up Dried Out And Full Of Holes:
Still, Through Desiccation, Rot, & Collapse, Measures Of Strength & Beauty & Meaning Miraculously Remain.”
“Cualquier Cosa Lo Suficientemente Vieja Termina Seca Y Llena De Hoyos, Sin Embargo, Por Medio De La Desicacion, El Deterioro, Y El Colapso, Cierta Medida De Fortaleza Y Belleza Y Significado Milagrosamente Prevalecen.”

chair2 chair3 chair4 chair5

 

 

DANGER

THAT WHICH CONCERNS POLITICS, ECONOMICS, AND THE REALITIES OF CITIZENSHIP

fish

Bloodthirsty wolves, brain-sucking zombies, flesh-feasting megabugs: much more diverting and entertaining are our psychic monstrosities than the panoply of the grotesque that we foster or tolerate through ‘rational’ evaluation, such as every flavor of chauvinism, the manifold and ubiquitous tortures…

of imprisonment and the varieties of mass collective suicide attendant on modern warfare

leviathan Our culture of victims and vengeance often manifests as fetishistic narcissism– a grand spectacle characterized by both obsessive assessment of fatuous official diagnoses and horrified fascination at the noisome toxicity that results from ‘therapeutic’ intervention: observer might liken the entire charade to a mandatory pool party where a marauding hungry leviathan discourages waders from leaving the shallows to plumb the depths of their complicity in their own disempowerment and irresponsibility.

“Without

“Without Exception, Every Human Cousin Starts As an Infant: Every Single God-Fearing Christian; Every Allah-Loving Muslim; Every Torah-Toting Jew; Every Nonattached Buddhist; Every Reincarnated Hindi; Every Wild Wiccan; Every Godless Atheist; Every Single Terrorist, & So on & So Forth, Establishing a Ubiquitous, Indisputable Biosocial Context the Dire Daily Reality of Which Ought to Require All Inquisitive Minds—With the Utmost Urgency & Diligence—to Inquire, ‘What Would Need to Happen to Induce the Far-Flung Members of Our Fractious, Factional Clan to Treat Each Other With Amicable Regard & Mutual Respect.”