marcoclicks: Blog http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog en-us (C) marcoclicks marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) Sat, 21 Apr 2018 13:59:00 GMT Sat, 21 Apr 2018 13:59:00 GMT http://www.marcoclicks.com/img/s/v-5/u301569227-o955450210-50.jpg marcoclicks: Blog http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog 120 80 Slowly... http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/4/slowly  

Arboretum hillside, early spring 2018

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.

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) arboretum leaves spring walk http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/4/slowly Sat, 21 Apr 2018 13:56:03 GMT
A confusion of spring http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/4/a-confusion-of-spring  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) garden leaves spring walk http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/4/a-confusion-of-spring Mon, 09 Apr 2018 17:24:50 GMT
White and cold http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/3/white-and-cold  

Jamaica Pond boathouse, winter 2018

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...

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) cold jamaica pond snow tree water http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/3/white-and-cold Sun, 25 Mar 2018 19:23:59 GMT
History http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/3/history  

Trees at Jamaica Pond, winter 2018

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. 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) cold jamaica pond snow tree water http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/3/history Sun, 11 Mar 2018 14:36:38 GMT
Ripples http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/2/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.

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) abstract brookline reservoir ice water http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/2/ripples Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:48:39 GMT
History http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/2/history  

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.

 

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) abstract agra history india http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2018/2/history Sun, 11 Feb 2018 18:01:04 GMT
Seeing clearly http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/12/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.

 

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) buenos aires green urban http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/12/seeing-clearly Sat, 30 Dec 2017 15:22:21 GMT
Green house http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/12/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...

 

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) buenos aires green urban http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/12/green-house Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:58:52 GMT
Fading in the south http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/11/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... 

 

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) aires buenos flowers urban http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/11/fading-in-the-south Thu, 30 Nov 2017 18:04:45 GMT
Leaning trees http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/11/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...

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) autumn tree water http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/11/leaning-trees Mon, 13 Nov 2017 21:00:27 GMT
Color http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/10/color  

 

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!

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) abstract leaves rot tree http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/10/color Sat, 28 Oct 2017 13:35:22 GMT
Bewildered http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/10/bewildered  

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.

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) abstract root rot tree http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/10/bewildered Wed, 18 Oct 2017 15:27:13 GMT
Boundaries http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/10/boundaries  

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.

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) abstract concrete root tree wall http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/10/boundaries Sun, 08 Oct 2017 18:05:47 GMT
Urban shards http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/9/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. 

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) abstract broken clay http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/9/urban-shards Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:03:43 GMT
Cut down http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/9/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.

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) hampshire new trees woods http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/9/cut-down Sun, 10 Sep 2017 17:37:16 GMT
Not straight http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/8/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.

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) garden grass light weeds http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/8/not-straight Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:15:58 GMT
Simple grass http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/8/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.

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) garden grass light weeds http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/8/simple-grass Sun, 06 Aug 2017 13:25:18 GMT
Compost http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/7/compost  

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.

 

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) decay garden tools http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/7/compost Tue, 25 Jul 2017 23:14:16 GMT
Home town http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/7/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.

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) fenway green line urban http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/7/home-town Sat, 15 Jul 2017 21:01:09 GMT
Confusing http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/6/confusing  

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...

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marc@marcoclicks.com (marcoclicks) Woods Hole abstract boat color http://www.marcoclicks.com/blog/2017/6/confusing Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:43:21 GMT