Submission
Filip Dvořák

STRŽ / THE RAVINE

Filip Dvořák STRŽ / THE RAVINE Luxfer Gallery, 
Česká skalice, Czech Republic 18/9 - 15/11/2020 
Photo: Studio Flusser


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THE RAVINE

A gorge, chasm, or ravine is a very narrow and steep gulley, rift or fissure in the ground.
A hole that never used to be there, and is now.
 
That’s what our ravine is like. It’s chilly down here, with ferns.

High up above the lip of the ravine, right there just below the starry sky are the tips and branches of trees from which food falls on our heads.
Once upon a time one such a food-giver sprouted and grew and was assigned a custodian, a tree guardian. The role is hereditary, the guardian keeps watch, and our tree grows stronger over the years, in the middle of the ravine, ever taller.
Beneath it we are born and die, with a song on our lips about how as early as next spring, or maybe next year, the tree branches will get so close to the ravine’s lip that it will take just one small leap.
Just one small leap, to see it with our own eyes. To see the world and everything around. Not just a hole, but far-and-wide outspread ground. And then we, all of us, will get out of here.
 
All around us, from all sides are cliffs, down which water runs all year round, too slippery to be climbed with even the sharpest claws.
But some have tried, the squirrelly fools.
Others have sought a way out downward, following where the water seeps away.
Only one ever came back alive, and never spoke of it again.
 
There were even those who tried to get caught and lifted out by a great bird of prey, but they ended up consumed.
 
Yet some of us have completely forgotten who we used to be. They don’t even want to hear about it. Clambering up seems to them a needless aspiration. They don’t want to go anywhere, they feel right at home here. They say the ravine is all they need to get by. And that only a mad fool turns his head to the sky.

The story is one we’ve all heard since our childhood days. How our ancestors sank here back then when the earth suddenly gave way. No one knows when it was, there are none still here from way back then.
And so here we are, trapped here we live, are here at home. We live long, we live happily. We live in the ravine, which is our sanctuary.
 
Maybe as early as next spring, or maybe next year, the tree branches will get so close to the ravine’s lip that it will take just one small leap.
Just one small leap, to see it with our own eyes. To see the world and everything around. Not just a hole, but far-and-wide outspread ground. And then we, all of us, will get out of here.
 

It’s true that the last one who saw the world before the ravine has long since passed on. And so no one really knows what if anything is up there.
 
We young ones have long been quietly reconciling with the belief that there is nothing up there anyway, and the ravine is all there is in the world.
 
The world is the ravine, and the ravine is the world.
 
But there must be something there. There has to be. There just has to be something more.
Maybe as early as next spring, or maybe next year, the tree branches will get so close to the ravine’s lip that it will take just one small leap.
Just one small leap, to see it with our own eyes. To see the world and everything around. Not just a hole, but far-and-wide outspread ground…