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.

Leaning trees

November 13, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

Leaning trees, Prindle Pond, 2017

 

Pond is a deceptive word for me - I think of a relatively small body of water, like Jamaica Pond near my home. Prindle Pond, on the other hand, is considerably larger. We started to walk around it but then thought better of it, given its size and our time. 

I hadn't had my fill so the next morning, I walked back and found this lovely spot. At least it seemed lovely to me - perhaps the trees, leaning ever so much closer to the water - had a different perspective.

What a blessing is this calm body of water. I especially liked knowing that I couldn't see all of it - too big! And I liked that the houses that dotted its edges did not overpower the sense of quiet majesty of this space. I wonder how many hidden spaces there are like this.

I'll come back again...

 


Color

October 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

The time of heightened color is here. It joined us slowly this year, creeping in among the warmth and dry weather of an extended summer. If you weren't looking carefully, you might have missed the beginning, but it is clearly here now. !

We celebrate the transformation of trees, this shift away from green to a riot of yellows, reds, oranges and more. Yet this palette comes to us with another story, a different sensibility, if we continue to look carefully. As glorious as the color can be, these leaves are injured, they are dying.

So is it their death that we are celebrating?

In a way, I suppose it is. Good to notice; good to consider the message that has for we humans!

 


Bewildered

October 18, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

Moss on tree, Arnold Arboretum, 2017

Walking through the Arboretum, coming upon such a generous wealth of growing things, it’s hard to decide where to put my attention – so much to look at, smell, touch! This day I am moved to look closely, in smaller than usual frames. It is a way of generating mystery, bewilderment and that gives me pleasure!

Without any indication of scale or context, we might be unsure of what we are looking at. Rather than need to figure it out right away, let’s sit with that confusion, not fight to find what it “is” but notice how it makes us feel.  So I look and I can imagine a journey to some alien terrain, uneven, lush, profoundly unfamiliar. Is it rocky and hard, overgrown and soft, what would walking there be like?

It is a momentary delight to shift our perception to imagine what is clearly not so. When we are done, and we are back with our familiar thoughts, we might think, while it has some elements of landscape, it seems more likely to be a growth on a rock or a tree. I know we'd be right but we are wiser for the pleasure of our invention, no matter how temporary.


Boundaries

October 08, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

Roots and wall, Jamaica Plain, 2017

Clearly these old roots and this concrete wall have been in relationship for quite some time. These living roots, so put upon by human behavior and yet so implacable, are slowly overtaking the retaining wall. It won’t happen in a day or a year and if humans intervene it may never happen. Yet, to look at this scene right now, you’d have to say the roots have wrestled the wall to a draw. What happens tomorrow, well, let's wait and see.

Truly, this is about the boundary - between living and dead, between industrial and organic. That’s the confusing place and the place that might benefit most from our attention. Perhaps we need to temper our black-and-white thinking to allow for greater comfort at the boundaries. That would require a greater understanding of the other and might lead, in various parts of our lives, to great compassion.

Yes, wait and see.


Urban shards

September 22, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I was walking to JP Center and encountered this broken flowerpot. It is clearly beyond what epoxy can reasonably repair. I judge that it is mass produced and thus of little intrinsic value. What would have to change to think of this as an artifact? To see something inherently interesting in jagged chunk of fired clay?If this had been dug up in some remote archeological adventure would that change how I saw it? If these pieces of clay were buried for ages and weathered by wind or soil, would that shift my sense of what they are?

I've no answers today. My guess is that when the sanitation truck came by these were tossed in and that was the end of it, even if it wasn't. These things last for a long time, even when we choose not to think of them. 

 


Cut down

September 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Walking on well-kept trails in dark woods, this is not a stump I’m inclined to rest on. The notch that guided its fall won’t make for a comfortable perch. I do stop to notice it, though, and to make up a simple story of its life.

With its attention devoted to sunlight far above, the slow, steady footsteps over the years must have registered little. Likely these increased over the years, perhaps more noticeable. Yet still it focused on sunlight. And what crisis brought its fall? Wind? Disease? People? I don't know. Yet as I stand here I sense that this stump didn’t give up easily. Seems to me that's in the nature of trees.


Not straight

August 30, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

You wouldn't necessarily know that this scene is in a relatively isolated state forest. This meandering walkway sits on top of a small dam on Benedict Pond. Quiet in the morning, loud with day camp laughter during the warmth of the day.

The interplay of quiet and noise is echoed by the interplay of rippled water and rigid rails. There is much here to notice, even before the laughter begins.

 


Simple grass

August 06, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Can there be drama in weeds, in the interplay of species or of light and dark? How can so much be going on in a simple slice of a hedgerow? How can there be such grace, such lightness?

I don't pretend to know. All I am sure of is the pleasure of looking; all I can think of is the blessing of being surrounded by such simple, satisfying beauty.

 


Compost

July 25, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

It is the time of gardens, gardens that are coming into their own after sun and heat and rain and chill have played across their faces. Walking through a well-loved garden is a blessing in July. Look carefully and listen and you may learn something about what sits behind the urge to plant and harvest.

Your looking will need to go deep – it’s not simply evaluating the beans or tomatoes, seeing how thoroughly the plots have been weeded. I love to look in the hidden spots, out of the well-tilled, well-travelled areas: where the compost is tended, where the tools are kept. And it’s as much about listening as looking.

Listen to what the compost might tell you about the garden’s future; listen to what well-used tools might whisper about caring and respect. This can become an exercise in observing devotion, a commitment beyond this season’s crop, an opportunity to connect with a cycle much greater than we are. All from a walk in a garden.