I started a blog back about 7-8 years ago. It was my way of sharing how I look at things, sometimes directly, sometimes less so. Now I'm integrating it with my web site. Smart... Perhaps you'll find it interesting. If so, read on.
Our activities shift to reflect that transition. It isn't always easy. Sometimes I have more doing than my day can hold; other times I get groggy before the sun arcs toward setting. Of course, the day does what it does without regard for where I am. And that's mostly a good thing: ultimately I can generally accommodate myself to the reality of the day's cycle.
But when there's too much going on, when the stress of doing feels oppressive, I wish at those moments that we could move ourselves away from distress to focus our attention on what is working in our days and live, what is holy. Easier said than done, no question; but still worth working on.
It seems strange to me, a stranger with, I hope, an open mind. Such reverence and familiarity with death. Here, at the cremation site on the River Ganges, where any Hindu would be pleased to meet the fire, the space is crowded with mourners and those doing the work of cremation. I have encountered death - rarely, but occasionally. Yet here death pulls up a chair or grabs the other end of the pallet. It is familiar here in a way it isn't to me.
It is reassuring in way. They've been accepting of death as part of life, basing their life decisions on that, and doing it for millennia. I need to look more closely here.
They are pilgrims, rowing to a sacred site along the River Ganges. We are travelers, rowing to watch those going to a sacred site. Quiet fog envelops the river and the people and things along the river. In a brief while, the noise, the clutter, the smells will be unavoidable. But now, we are wrapped in silence.
Oh, this is getting tiresome: long moans about cold and wind and, sometimes, even snow. In April. I am reminded how I get fooled every year - that with April's arrival, the warmth comes in and remains. And every year, it feels like it is worse than usual. The unusual usual...
I walked yesterday in the Arboretum, seeing skeletons of trees, buds tiny if present at all. It seemed natural to think in black & white although the grass was trying its best.
Yet the blessing of this time without leaves is to see the structure of trees, the smaller branches and twigs that form the basis of growth for the future. It's good for me to notice that, even as the wind blows me back indoors sooner than I might have expected.
It was a day after an inch of April snow. A walk in the garden was no harder for that and to watch this meager snowfall disappear, it was worth the tramp.
This is the time when gardens are likely to look their worst - even for those diligent enough to have cleared the space in the fall, there's still a tumble of leaves and rocks and winter's debris.
Yet this is an encouraging moment to walk amidst the slowly reawakening soil as it is transformed from quiet winter to riotous spring. There is much that must happen before seeds are planted. But it is clear - or at least so I can convince myself - that it is just a whisper away.
I am aware that spring has come to the calendar if not to the ground I walk. And while the Pond doesn't necessarily look like this today, it has had at least this coating of snow fairly recently. This shot is from early in the month.
I'm frequently struck by how quiet these pictures of the Pond look, especially considering that the Jamaicaway is right there with car horns and motorcycles and ambulances rightfully rushing, noisily rushing somewhere urgent. What a blessing to turn down the volume, indeed remove the volume.
Beyond that it is quiet, there's little to say. I like the rhythm of the upturned boats on the dock and the people as they walk around the Pond. But mostly I feel rested as I look at this. That's enough...
I've seen this picture before, or almost. I've seen these trees, overlooking this always-changing Pond. Last time I looked, though, there were leaves on the trees and grass rather than snow. And as tired as I am of wintry weather, it is a blessing to see these trees in this state.
Without the leaves, I can see the structure and the texture of the underlying branches. Notice the elegant curves of the smaller branches, the twigs that will grow to support greater weight, more leaves.
There is something reverent about this congregation of trees, standing or slow-dancing on this gentle hillside overlooking a favorite body of water. I wonder whether a static image can capture the essence of this scene without the motion of the wind, so present when I grabbed this shot. And on another level, it doesn't matter. It stands without the wind.
On this day of surreal warmth after a stretch of typical winter fare, I am struck by how just a taste of easy sunshine can shift more than my mood. We walk around the Reservoir, until a week ago completely ice-covered; now it yields to the temporarily inevitable warmth and its debris – leaves, twigs, branches – is free to make its way, with the wind, upon the liberated water.
It is a striking scene, absorbing on this May day in mid-February. I am grateful for the alignment of color and texture and shape – it makes me hopeful, reminding me that beauty is available at all times, under all circumstances.
Indeed, the water was green. Why? I haven’t a clue.
History, the word has new meaning for me. Here, in this palace in Agra, built perhaps more than a thousand years ago, I feel deeply what it is to be "old" and to live in a land where one can see, daily, things that are older than most anything I will see in my country.
It forces me to slow down, to wonder how this particular place came to be, how long it's been this way, what is there to learn.Multiply that by hundreds of things in this city and hundreds and thousands of cities and villages across the county. The sheer intensity of so many people, so many places, such a long, complicated, diverse and, at times divisive history.
This puts my today in context. It doesn't make it easy, just give some perspective, some greater clarity about what I have and what I need.
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