Rest Motion, by Todd Sformo
"It does not follow that a thing is not in motion in a given time just because it is not in motion in any instant of that time." —Aquinas
What colour shall we call the sidewalk, wreathed with wrappers, eaten by mud, stormed by feet and sun? No such colour, save concepts, clear as tap water and dew, insipid, as an infant needing everything. The clarity of concept and the heft of stuff came together for me in what seemed to be a last Romantic look at the world, where I happened to turn Doubting Thomas into a patron saint of science. It took place on a lawn chair on a hot blacktopped driveway while reading about Auguste Rodin. Art's true meaning came, in translation, in Rodin's invigoration of Newton’s First Law: things at rest tend to or in motion go. R. revised eyes in his sculpture John the Baptist preaches in one static motion, both feet solidly, serially stand, the muscles, at least in theory, slide in complete stride, an infinite flicker fusion frequency summed, looped, replacing the "or" in St. Newton's inertia with "and" instantly making instantaneous photography, all animation, a reduction to the absurd.
Todd Sformo is a biologist living in Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska. His interests are overwintering physiology, art, and measurement. He has published two prose poems, "Knots" in Hippocampus (1 June 2015) and "Gray" in Cirque (Summer 2018), and one essay on studying a fungus gnat in winter "So much depends upon" in Catamaran (Fall 2020).
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