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.
I've been getting up early and running around the Pond lately, what with the hot weather and all. Even at 6:30 or 7, when the sun is out you feel it. I've been enjoying it, nevertheless.
One of the attributes of shooting that I love is that it's silent. You'd never know from looking at this early morning shot that they were mixing concrete for some major "improvements" under way on the far side of the Pond. It's noticeable when you're there in person but not when you look at a picture! You can bask in the solitude, even though there are folks running around the Pond (just behind trees when I shot this) and workers mixing concrete.
I remember, aside from the noise, that the water was still, as if preparing for another sun-laden day. The leaves on the trees were a bit limp although they were, I'm sure, using the sunlight as leaves do. It was a sweet morning.
We sat in the car for a bunch of hours to get to northern New Hampshire and then uncramped ourselves by unpacking the camping gear. We are urban campers so we carry tent and sleeping bags and all the rest a minimal distance from car to campsite. It's fine - I've roughed it enough in my life, a little ease works fine!
What makes this place especially wonderful is that our site is literally 25 feet from this river. That glorious sound of rushing water drowns out most of what might be intrusive noise – dogs, in particular. It wouldn’t pass for wilderness but it’s not a parking lot either. So we look forward to the river’s roar.
And so many rocks. It's a symphony of rocks - big, small, round, rectangular, heavy, light – they’ve all been softened by ages of tumbling and dancing through this corridor of rocks, making loud, incessant music.
It seems clear that the water and the rocks co-exist. They would each be very different without the other. I for one am grateful that they are both here, in such unfettered abundance. And knowing that they are here, even when I am not, is a blessing.
We wait until the entire garden is in shade, for obvious reasons this week. Then we walk the various paths, comparing tomatoes and squash. There's raspberries, too, just coming in - enough for birds and gardeners both. There's an amazing variety of gardening strategies in a community garden and you can learn a lot just walking around.
My eye tends to move to smaller vistas and ones that highlight the life cycle beyond the peak. And I am dumbfounded by the complexity of the plants we observe. Here's one, spiderwort, that is in most instances a weed. But I'm learning from my partner that there's more going on here. Use the root for a laxative, and a poultice of the leaves for insect bites. There's more I'm sure.
And I suppose you're not surprised that I didn't know any of that. I just saw the textures and shapes and grabbed the camera. So this is an advertisement for using common plants for healing and for looking closely to find beauty and patterns. My partner is in charge of the former and I'll try my hand at the latter!
A case in point is this accidental assemblage. How these particular pieces came together of course I don't know. If I'd made it, I might have done it differently. But something attracted me to the way these two elements worked. It gave me something to occupy my mind as I trudged up the mountain.
A walk would enlighten us. But even looking will help. I notice the vertical and the elements that contrast with the vertical. And I enjoy them both, as well as the infinite shades of green that hover just at the edge of what I can notice.
Yes, it's worth the walk. And the look.
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.
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