Initiator: Lance Jackson – Dowsing 2023
Initiator Artist: Lance Jackson
Artwork Title: Dowsing 2023
Size: 18.25 x 15.25″
Medium: Sepia print of drawing
Responder Author: Alvin Ziegler
Writing Title: Dowsing, A Painting
In the forest of Mesopotamia, a rare cave painting from 5,500 years ago chronicles inventors who were also scholars – the first humans who made papyrus from wood pulp.
On this paper, they voiced rights of the individual.
Because they wrote stories of the sacred singular that defied their brutal tribe, they worshiped trees that gave them little books, tools – even flutes as they loved music.
But the ruling clan denounced the story-tellers as criminals then scorched painful tattoos into their skin with the word hater.
Once labeled, the writers with their books and flautists with their flutes were escorted far into the woods.
Still, the crisis grew until anything spoken about the tribe was called hateful.
Many moons later, the tribe worried after a book about a hero scholar appeared in their village – all the way from the scholars’ encampment.
This raised a fury. Would books endure as long as the other forest existed?
So, that night at tribal council meeting, the group held a vote to decide if the trees where the scholars lived should be destroyed.
Many disapproved of the action but feared speaking out. Voting was unanimous.
The secluded scholars – known as the haters – needed to be silenced forever.
So a band of men with torches marched to where the scholars were banished and burned their trees to the ground.
Finally, surrounded by smoldering evergreens, this cave painting depicts a solemn ritual performed with sticks. The story-tellers could only “Dowse” embers with words to grieve their loss.
© 2023 Alvin Ziegler