Saturday, August 27, 2011

Old Age, Sickness and Death

One of our cats has been sick for almost a month now.

It's scary and hard - he's only four years old, but we got him when he was about one and had been living on the streets, literally. Friends of ours rescued him, and he's a super cat - snuggly if jittery, soft and affectionate. I named him "Drala" which is Tibetan for "above aggression" which is used to mean "Magic." He's definitely his name in all uses.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reflections at Pewitt's Nest 

Underneath the grave skies flashing occasional white space
My face fills up my own reflection

Mirror Mirror on the river
Who is the most alive of us all?

When someone dies, they take the present moment with them
A chunk of it lost forever, uncontinued
Without perception
One less person to help keep this clumsily constructed world
Rolling forward

My memories are buried alive
As are everyone else's - gravestones flagging
The fields of living just beyond our daily walls

They add to the past - a collection now so vast
That cemeteries have overcome cities

Death has certainly overcome me
From memory to memory creeping closer as I age
More in the cache, more fading away
Fewer years ahead, the present more potent
Poignant seconds

I line up my camera, frame the shot:
An acorn cap, a yellowed leaf, a rotted log
Everything in its place, liquid, lucid, beautiful
As I snap, the dead frog
I did not think I saw
Reveals itself to me
A moment of not memory
A moment of pure existence
Witnessing the split second dissolution
Of every other thought

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Down Time

I find that when I am left to my own devices, I don't interact much with people.

I would categorize myself as relatively extroverted, or would have, since I have strong interaction skills and enjoy - thrive even - off interacting with others. However, I have come to understand that my state of rest and recoup is to be alone - alone even without Dylan. To putter, read, write, meditate, do yoga, walk, photograph. If this state goes ignored too long - if I am traveling and always a guest, teaching a lot, or "busy" with work (a student of mine prefers and suggests using the word "full", which I appreciate), I get cranky and funky and my ability to socially interact shuts down. This is my self's way of reminding me that I have limited resources, though mine are higher than most folks I know. I have to take that down time before it takes me down with it.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Fragments of Language

Rotterdam, August 2011

Aaron Siskind, Abstract Expressionist photographer extraordinaire, published a collection of his works called Fragmentation of Language in 1997. In it, he explores what it is to receive seeming messages from the visual world of cluttered ads and graffiti, sometimes even torn or ripped non-verbal messages, or rust in calligraphic form. It is one of my favorite collections, as I am drawn to photographing this stuff myself.

I am in Rotterdam right now. It's a city that lives under the shadow of Amsterdam, the far more famous coffee shop and canal-ridden other big Netherlands city. I've been to Amsterdam before - it's quaint and enjoyable. But we have friends in Rotterdam, and Dylan and I are both fascinated by modern architecture. Rotterdam got flattened by a fire stemmed from a 15 minute German bombing in WWII, so the whole center of town is new. Brand new. New like a lot of Eastern Berlin is. Cranes everywhere, still in progress. Old and new right next to one another, and the new here is very powerful to look at - cubed buildings, special skyscrapers with nicknames like "The Apple" and "The Pencil." Photos will follow on Flickr (herspiral) of course.