by Hamid Taghavi 22-Jan-2010
I was a doodling kid. In school it paradoxically helped keep my mind focused on the class. Otherwise my mind would drift into a world of mischief. The pages of my notebooks and the blank margins of books were fertile grounds for doodling that next monster, or dinosaurs rampaging through their favorite city, Tokyo, or cartoons of our old, grumpy teacher in a swimsuit flexing his droopy muscles for giggling teen age girls. If other students began circulating the cartoons until one chuckled and got the attention of the poor teacher then very creative explanations had to be made up quickly. Those who remember sleeping on rooftops of Tehran on hot summer nights know what a treat it is to fall asleep with a starry sky as the last thing you see. I had a tiny telescope through which I would look for the spectacular worlds seen through Palomar’s fabled telescope. When no such things were revealed the telescope became a tool to check out the boring lives of the neighbors. Yup. The rumors were true. Mrs. Next Door did use Tide to do her laundry. Fortunately, I had “War of The Worlds”, “White Mountains” and “Chariot of the Gods” and such to feed the delirious imagination. Over time, the doodling intermixed with a fascination with space and what alien landscapes might look like. Humanity may never get to experience those worlds for itself, but there is nothing to keep the imagination from creating its own universe and exploring it. At one point I had the silly notion of taking some classes to actually learn the craft instead of wasting so much good paint. But the world of art must have taken a collective sigh of relief when I came to my senses. And so it has remained a fun side hobby that has incubated in isolation. It so happens that I ended up living within hours of a place that once belonged to another world, Mount Palomar and its magnificent observatory, where I have visited and camped often. There, at nights you fall asleep with the black velvet canvas of the sky and its tapestry of stars as the last thing you see, thanking Cosmos for its delightful ways of time travel.