Just a few lines this morning as I am down with a ferocious virus which refuses to go away and seems intent on morphing into the usual bout of March pneumonia.
What is interesting about the situation is that, able to wander about with a camera or not able to wander about with a camera, my eyes persist in lighting upon every mundane thing they see with something akin to delight.
It may have something to do with the high fever that has me glowing like a lantern this morning and shaking like a leaf. The eyes themselves and the smile in their depths, the hand and the cup of jasmine tea - these are complete within themselves and owe nothing to this old hen or her raging illness. They drink in the light and rejoice.
March 11, 2014
March 9, 2014
The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.
Carl Sagan, Cosmos
This evening, the first episode of Cosmos airs on Fox and the National Geographic channel at 9:00 pm, and the thirteen episodes of this magnificent updated series are hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson Watch it, and get ready to be amazed.
resting easy in saying yes to the world
March 8, 2014
It would be grand to be capturing images of returning geese against the clouds this morning, trees budding out and and tiny crocus blooms peeking out of the snow in the garden.
It is still winter here though, and my realm is one of bare arching branches, translucent ice crystals and deep snow, this perfect early light. This is what I see.
March 7, 2014
"Silence" comes to us through the Old English swige and Old French silence, thence from the Latin silentium and silere meaning "to be still and (or) tranquil". I could happily have traced the origins of the word all the way back to the beginning times, but found myself pausing and wondering at silere, still curious about the word's roots farther back, but engaged by its easy kinship with rest and repose.
As a species, we are nourished by notions of stillness and tranquility. Our songs, stories and tales are eloquent expressions of the human tribe's wanderings in their entirety, but other things come to light when we look closely at individual words and the spaces between the words. Both elements are little works of art or theater, each a tiny play or composition descriptive of a moment or feeling, a physical sensation or encounter, a dialogue with other beings or with existence itself. Spaces don't separate the words - they join the words like lacquered beads on a long silken cord.
Silence and mythology are closely interwoven, and the word mythology has its roots in the Greek mythos, meaning to speak or to relate something - and not just in the written or spoken sense. The etymological roots of the word mythology are shared with other words connoting silence, wordlessness and the inability to speak. In other words, what we are not hearing or saying is as important as what we are hearing or saying. Our silences are as meaningful and as expressive as our conversations, and often more so, the spaces between them as vibrant and eloquent as the bookending words themselves can ever be. There is a profound causal relationship between what we communicate in words and what we do not (or cannot) communicate in words. Our silences are complete within themselves, liminal and transforming.
There is silence between one gust of wind and the next, between icicles and the rising sun. There is silence in incandescent intervals at sunset when the falling light illuminates melt pools in the park, turning water and reflected trees to gold as one stands nearby, breathless and staring. There are the sunless winter days I sometimes write about when I can hear snow falling among the trees or coming to rest on the old Buddha out on the deck. All silences are interstitial - the eloquent space between one bead on a mala and the next, the space between two words in a tale or narrative, the mindful expanse between the opening chime of the meditation bell and that which closes our fumbling meditations.
Sometimes, we simply need to be able to hear ourselves think — or better still, not think at all — just show up and BE right there in the moment. In our small intentional silences, we dwell (however briefly) in mindfulness and infinite possibility. It's all good, and one of these days, I shall put those words on a t-shirt.
March 6, 2014
March 4, 2014
First there was snow, then milder temperatures. Now we are back in the lap of winter, earlier seasonal offerings having reinvented themselves as bitter wind, biting cold and ice in unexpected places. The world beyond the windows is a handsome place at times, but it is cold and slippery "out there", and walking is downright treacherous.
In the absence of good weather for pottering around outside, this is a fine day for oceans and oceans of tea, stacks of art and photography books and wispy Japanese flute music on the CD player, for indoor photography exercises, getting out my pencils, pens, inkstones and brushes, for trying to capture the day in broad and sweeping strokes.
Teapots in shades of turquoise and slate blue, tiny porcelain cups rimmed in sunny yellow, delicate rice paper fans and lightly brushed calligraphies - all have something to say, and they seem to be tucking themselves into fetching arrangements in the early sun coming through the window. The camera's eye loves everything it lights upon at the beginning of day, and it beguiles the old hen holding it with the tantalizing possibilities inherent in a circular coin of sunlight and my macro lens.
Perhaps a series of ensos, each drawn in a single flowing movement? Whether or not the day's efforts embrace the "Way of the Brush" (筆禅道), holding vitality and eternal experience in their curves, they will surely hold snow and lingering winter.