marcoclicks: Blog en-us (C) marcoclicks (marcoclicks) Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:49:00 GMT Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:49:00 GMT marcoclicks: Blog 120 80 Ripples  

Melting ice and leaves, Brookline Reservoir, Brookline, 2018

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.

]]> (marcoclicks) abstract brookline reservoir ice water Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:48:39 GMT

Agra Fort, India, 2018 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.



]]> (marcoclicks) abstract agra history india Sun, 11 Feb 2018 18:01:04 GMT
Seeing clearly  

Field near Jamaica Pond, 2017

That dark and grey of autumn has come. Much as we might want to ignore these changes, they are real. Indeed, they will give way to the solidity of winter. This time before the coming of the cold has a tentative quality to it. We wait, knowing or assuming that the burden of winter will come upon us sooner or later. We might take heart in the field without snow even knowing that it will change and likely soon. Perhaps we can decide that we don't mind, that it's all just weather. Perhaps. Of course it's easier to do that with warmth and quiet surrounding us. Let us hope that everyone can find that in whatever way works for them.



]]> (marcoclicks) buenos aires green urban Sat, 30 Dec 2017 15:22:21 GMT
Green house  

Green house, Botanic Gardens, Buenos Aires


A glass house, set up for growing things. Old but still functioning. Come up close and peer inside. It is hard to see. The door is locked. In some places, it's hard to know what is inside and what is out. Walk around it, knowing that you cannot go inside. That's OK, there's much to look at, think about...



]]> (marcoclicks) buenos aires green urban Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:58:52 GMT
Fading in the south  

Jacaranda flower petals, Buenos Aires, 2017


It was toward the end of November, the time of more frequent bitter winds, the time to find the snow shovels and rock salt, the boots, mittens,scarves, all the gear to keep the winter at bay and the heart's warmth close. It isn't easy in New England, especially since you know what's coming. Yet here I am, literally half a world away, watching with surprised eyes as spring continues its more enthusiastic  southern dance.

The wind blows here, too, but gently, and the jacaranda trees show off exuberant flowers, impossibly beautiful. I see the detritus of spring but even while having lost contact with their host, these petals still seem serene.

I was sitting on a bench surrounded by traffic, noticing these quiet, surrendered petals. This urban world has much in common with my home, yet it is mysteriously, unidentifiably different, unique - slower, more open. I'm glad to have been there... 



]]> (marcoclicks) aires buenos flowers urban Thu, 30 Nov 2017 18:04:45 GMT
Leaning trees  

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...


]]> (marcoclicks) autumn tree water Mon, 13 Nov 2017 21:00:27 GMT


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!


]]> (marcoclicks) abstract leaves rot tree Sat, 28 Oct 2017 13:35:22 GMT

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.

]]> (marcoclicks) abstract root rot tree Wed, 18 Oct 2017 15:27:13 GMT

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.

]]> (marcoclicks) abstract concrete root tree wall Sun, 08 Oct 2017 18:05:47 GMT
Urban shards 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. 


]]> (marcoclicks) abstract broken clay Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:03:43 GMT
Cut down  

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.

]]> (marcoclicks) hampshire new trees woods Sun, 10 Sep 2017 17:37:16 GMT
Not straight  

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.


]]> (marcoclicks) garden grass light weeds Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:15:58 GMT
Simple grass  

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.


]]> (marcoclicks) garden grass light weeds Sun, 06 Aug 2017 13:25:18 GMT

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.


]]> (marcoclicks) decay garden tools Tue, 25 Jul 2017 23:14:16 GMT
Home town  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Photographs can partial stories. This one, for instance, doesn't document the crowd that just got off an in-bound trolley. Who knows where they were going; who knows right now, in this image, where they are? It is silent and people are absent.

Looking at this image, it would be wise to ask what happened just before or just after it was taken. Clean and quiet it is now; what is was or will be is the mystery.

]]> (marcoclicks) fenway green line urban Sat, 15 Jul 2017 21:01:09 GMT

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Sometimes you see things that don't immediately resolve into familiar objects. I've seen lichen growing on concrete that looks like landscapes or tree roots that look like painfully distorted body parts. After the initial double-take, I can identify the object for what it really is. Which, for me at least, raises the question, what am I REALLY looking at? Which is the truth here: my first glance or my studied analysis?

In this case, the pattern doesn't resemble any familiar scene, at least nothing that comes immediately to my mind. (If you see something, do please let me know!) Yet the more I look at this, the more I feel it SHOULD be familiar to me. I can keep looking at it, enjoying the textures and color shifts and that small dash of yellow. 

What it is, what it represents, that's somehow less important, the more I look. Hum...

]]> (marcoclicks) Woods Hole abstract boat color Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:43:21 GMT

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

Yes, it's small. Not far off the shore with billowing clouds overhead, a dinghy no more than six feet long. Calm waters, brilliant colors. Does the boat register, much less its occupants? Three souls out for an adventure, can you see them?

It helps me to notice what a small part of this planet we sometimes are, to see the scale of clouds and sea next to a dinghy. It helps me to remember perspective. I can imagine the laughter and excitement of those in the boat. I can imagine a natural world not the least concerned about them.

So on a calm day with bright sun, I am close to those on the water and those natural elements that surround them. 

]]> (marcoclicks) Hole Woods boat color sea water Wed, 14 Jun 2017 19:38:27 GMT

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

This hasn't been a time of much shooting. This year spring has been undocumented by me. This shot is from last spring. Dare I say that one spring looks much like another? Seems a bit cynical but then again leaves are leaves and they grow as they grow, much the same this year as last.

So this image will stand in for all the shots I've not taken. It will remind me that even without my documentation, trees pass through an almost infinite number of shades of ;yellow and green. They are a record of the diversity of colors and textures that make up a forest.

I will treasure that which I see but don't record with camera and endeavor to stay connected without recording everything!

]]> (marcoclicks) color leaves spring trees Tue, 30 May 2017 14:04:51 GMT
It is come...  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

How many years have I had the same reaction? How many times has March and then April disappointed me, professed to be the coming of the warm time only to have late rain and wind and sometimes even snow descend?

Yes, it happens with some regularity. New England, yes.

Yet eventually the warmth outweighs the chill, the miraculous buds transform into common leaves, so many of them. And we settle into humdrum summer. Yet let's slow down a moment and notice the array of colors, the beginning that prefigures the colors of fall. 

It's worth slowing down and noticing, humbly, how quickly something that is truly extraordinary becomes common.

]]> (marcoclicks) color leaves spring trees Sat, 06 May 2017 19:36:47 GMT
A bit late  

Windy island in Jamaica Pond, 2016

The energy I have to put into shooting has been pretty well consumed by the book I've just finished for Desmond. He's going to be three soon and I'm following up my opus on construction equipment with another volume on trains and buses. So forgive me if I reach back to the dark times to find an image to include here - I've not shot much other than Desmond and the things he likes to look at.

The edge of Jamaica Pond is always interesting, especially this area, by the "beach." And I remember the day. It was calm and cold and clear, the sort of day that seems sharp enough to cut. Just a dusting of snow on the ground and no ice on the Pond so it wasn't very cold. Yet to my eye, this speaks of that cold and generally dark time. 

Now, as the leaves are opening, it's a bit incongruous to look at this scene. Perhaps that's a good thing!

]]> (marcoclicks) Jamaica Pond cold ice water Fri, 21 Apr 2017 19:27:28 GMT