Thursday, July 24, 2014
"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
~ Stephen Grellet, 1773-1855
French-born Quaker Minister
I think of that observation often and regularly since first hearing it. And I make a concerted effort everyday to live my life in a way that always respects the reality of it, with regard to people, situations, and place. I have thought of the quote almost everyday this week in the studio due to a reoccurring conversation I have had with a few clients, a conversation spurred by the photographs on display there. I have become very aware of the fact that I cannot go out and reproduce the best of my photographs. They are moments in time...captured once. And I do know this, I have tried. None of them were shots I set out to capture. I just happened to be there, and noticed something in that moment that captured my imagination and then stopped and responded to it.
When we miss the moment...it is missed...and it passes...never to pass again in the same way.
It pays to pay attention. In nature you might glimpse, in a moment, beauty that will take your breath away in a way that will leave you forever changed...awakened. When it comes to people you might just capture and create a moment of compassion that will leave them forever changed, restored....and that too will leave you changed as well.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
It is impossible to cheat this reality.....life is transient.
Everything is passing. It has been a very contemplative day for me. Most of it spent in solitude, stillness, silence, and surrounded by beauty. The photography is a contemplative practice for me as well. Whether I have the camera with me or not, there are times when my mind is still and I am attentive to remaining singularly focused on what is in front of me in each moment. Today I live in a mode of always sensing that there is no shortage of things worthy of the reverence with which I am learning to approach this wild trip of being alive and being here.
There are also times I attempt as best I can to enter into the Nothingness where all the clutter and noise of the surface quiets down. In this space one has a chance to begin to hear another voice speak. And I came to find out that this voice is not the "voice" I became familiar with in my days of religious practice. The religious voice was a voice that never brought to me the joy, and peace, and rest I have found over the past several years. And real tangible paradox comes into play here as well. A clearer view of "what is" happens in this contemplative space. A clearer view that travels right next to mystery and uncertainty and dances together...inseparable. I no longer feel the need to untangle them. Some things just belong together.
My best friend stopped by for a brief visit today...unannounced. He found me sitting on the swing in the garden space behind the house. He joined me on the swing for a bit and we talked. He brought up a new reality he is becoming acquainted with....transience. In a way it has been forced upon him. He has been in a long season of having things stripped away from him. Big things. Things that would leave most men I know cowering in a corner in a fetal position drooling on themselves. He and I can relate now. When that kind of season came upon me several years ago we couldn't. He didn't understand. When he had to leave, as he walked away he turned back to me and through a shaky voice and tears he said...and I am now losing this too. He and I have lived across the street from each other for 28 years. And that has happened in 3 different neighborhoods. We grew up in the same house too. He is my younger brother. Due to some of those things being stripped away from him they will be moving. To just surprise me at a moments notice by walking across the street to chat will not happen anymore once they move. Things are changing.
Who knows, I too might at some point be forced to let this quiet tranquil garden space I have developed over the past 18 years go. Everything is changing.
I am pleased to be able to say that I have come to understand and accept, embrace, that solid ground isn't ground that doesn't move. Solid ground is a reality and it is more like a river that flows and changes. And it is best to let go. If you don't....arms can get jerked off.
Acceptance is a very subversive and transformative force. And there is still a lot of pain to endure, regardless.
Friday, July 11, 2014
I can't possibly post this photo of the moon lit sky tonight without adding the ending, the last paragraph of my favorite book Eternal Echoes.
"In the pulse-beat is the life and the longing, all embraced in the great circle of belonging, reaching everywhere, leaving nothing and no one out. This embrace is mostly concealed from us who climb the relentless and vanishing escalator of time and journey outside where space is lonesome with distance. All we hear are whispers, all we see are glimpses; but each of us has the divinity of imagination which warms our hearts with the beauty and depth of a world woven from our glimpses and whispers, an eternal world to assure us that from all eternity we have belonged, and to answer the question that echoes at the heart of all longing: While we are here, where is it that we are absent from?" ~ John O'Donohue
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Just imagine as you look into this photo......I was standing in the silence and fading light under a canopy of trees when the last rays of the setting sun settled, for just awhile, on this lovely Leopard Lily. The lily was just available to reflect the light. And I was available to notice.
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
When I Am Among the Trees...from Mary Oliver's Thirst: Poems