tiny seeds of intention

Stay at Home Order … day 7 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

2020

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.

Some met their shadows.

And the people began think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and at the people joined together once again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed. ~Kitty O’Meara.

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

Towards the end of a meditative walk around the park, I paused at the edge of a catchment pond. The morning sun brought clarity to the stilled water, sharp contrasting lights and shadows painted the reflection of three young, barren trees — a blue cloudless sky. The stillness was interrupted by silent surface ripples that created zigzagged branches upon the shimmering surface. Then…a deep low rumble of an approaching train with its horn bursting with pleas for all in its path to pause joined by the honking of geese. I waited with breath abated, “would their flight path be reflected on the water.” Yes! An amazing composition! Three small trees and three geese in flight reflected on an image of space and time.

Suddenly it all became fragments of canvas torn apart, “I should have brought my camera!” Forgetting that this morning walk was undertaken with the intention to simply return to the present – a quick glance at the watch, “I’ll be back tomorrow…8 a.m.!”

A beautiful moment. A silent exchange. A greeting from mother nature’s paintbrush to a quieting presence — disconnected by: regret about an earlier decision, craving for what had been, and a temporary ignorance of impermanence.

I now find myself contemplating how my thoughts/words thrown into this series of unsettling moments have the potential to quiet reflecting states of mind, feelings, actions or to create a turmoil of inner states that create distorted waves of mind, thoughts, and behavior.

Words, like stones, thrown into a pond have the potential to bring about gentle ripples or explosive columns of water. Is there a fear of what lies hidden…or is there a challenge to that hidden in the shadows to emerge so that I can see this monster? Do the stones thrown at this monster have a purpose…to blame, judge, distract from a growing sense of uncertainty or a calling out to be saved…a silent belief/wish of unity, a coming together of collective skills, a global sharing of words that comfort and heal?

I ponder how in my powerlessness, I am able to connect with self/others with an initial contact as I did with the pond or reflect first with a simple question, “will these words/actions that sit at the edge of expression ease disruption or increase explosive states of being?

The culminating power within tiny seeds of intention…

the stories we tell…ourselves

Stay at Home Order … day 6 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

The sound of water

is my companion

in this lonely hut

in lulls between

the storms on the peak

~Saigyō (cited: Trans: B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)

Nikon D750… f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

John F Simon’s Drawing your own Path:

“We all confabulate. When tragedy strikes, we want narratives to explain why it happened. When scientist try to put together conflicting data, they theorize. I attempt to reconcile disparate facts by concocting plausible scenarios–making up stories about drawings for my art collectors because, after all, what art patron doesn’t like to know the real story behind an artwork.

“If my mind seems to always make up stories what do those stories say about who I am and how I see the world? Does consciously shifting my view change how I describe myself? How responsible am I for the content and direction of my story? What if I am not telling a story but a story is telling me? If I am open to listening, are there changes to be learned from the images?”

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

Nourishing Positive States of Mind

Invest some time in recognizing, embracing, and nourishing positive states of mind.

Thus far, my list includes: gratitude, loving-kindness, inclusiveness, compassion, mindfulness, tranquility, equanimity, humility.

Identify, contemplate, and set out an intention to practice 1-3 positive mind states throughout the day.

This morning I silently expressed gratitude for continued safe water, electricity, internet, mail delivery, trash pick up, and traffic lights and experienced an easing of resentment.

I have found that inclusiveness opens doors of supportive unity with others as well as silences isolation.

What are your positive states of mind and how can an intention to practice them help you through this unsettling time?

Please be safe.

in the distance…

Stay at Home Order … day 5 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

Seeping through the dawn,

the voice

of a Canadian goose–

in the distance…alone

mountain village in spring

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

“The counselor was a friend of nature, nature was something quite special, nature was one of the finest ornaments of existence. The councilor patronized nature, he defended it against the artificial; gardens were nothing but nature spoiled, but gardens laid out in elaborate style were nature turned crazy. There was no style in nature, providence had wisely made nature natural, nothing but natural. Nature was that which was unrestrained, that which was unspoiled. But with the fall of man civilization had come upon mankind; now civilization had become a necessity; but it would have been better, if it had not been thus. The state of nature was something quite different, quite different. The councilor himself would have had no objection to maintaining himself by going about in a coat of lamb-skin and shooting hares and snipes and golden plovers, and grouse and haunches of venison and wild boars. No, the state of nature really was like a gem, a perfect gem.” (cited: Project Gutenberg’s Mogens and Other Stories, by Jens Peter Jacobsen, pg 7)

Information about COVID-19 to help you and your family/friends be safe through this stress-filled time.

we are solitary

Stay at Home Order … day 4 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

photo assignment: same lens (35mm) camera wide open (f/1.8) … 25th day

He never came —

the wind too tells

how the night has worn away,

while mournfully the cries of wild geese

approach and pass on ~Saigō (cited: B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

“And to speak of solitude again, it becomes always clearer that this is at bottom not something that one can take or leave. We are solitary. We may delude ourselves and act although this were not so. That is all. But how much better it is to realize that we are so, yes, even to begin by assuming it. … A person removed from his own room, almost without preparation and transition, and set upon the height of a great mountain range, would feel something of the sort: an unparalleled insecurity, and abandonment to something inexpressible would almost annihilate him. He would think himself falling or hurled out into space, or exploded into a thousand pieces… So for him who becomes solitary all distances, all measures of change; of these changes many take place suddenly, and then, as with the man on the mountaintop, extraordinary imaginings and singular sensations arise that seem to grow out beyond all bearing. …” (cited Rainer Maria Rilke, Trans: M D Herter Norton, Letters to a Young Poet)

lens-artists photo challenge: distance

My abode is

in winter seclusion

on this white mountain in Echigo.

No trace of humans

coming or going ~ Ryokan (Trans: K tanahashi, Sky Above, Great Wind)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/400 35mm 200 ISO

with nothing

to touch, a dead branch

grabs at the sky ~Katsura Nobuko (cited: Trans: M Ueda, Far Beyond the Field)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/10s 35mm 200 ISO

Protecting the child

from the cold autumn wind,

the old scarecrow. ~ Issa (cited: Trans: S Hamill, The Spring of My Life)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/640s 35mm 200 ISO

Winter wind!

A charcoal peddler all alone

in a small ferry boat ~ Buson (cited: Trans: Y Sawa & E M Shiffert, Haiku Master Buson)

A special thank you to the Lens-Artists Photographers who continue to challenge and inspire. The above images and poetry is submitted in response to Travels and Trifles challenge: distance.

Please be safe. We can do this…we really can!

“Mystere: – Kalimando” | Cirque du Soleil

the world is changed

Stay at Home Order … day 3 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

The world is changed.

I feel it in the water.

I feel it in the earth.

I smell it in the air.

Much that once was … is lost

For none now live who remember it.

I begin with …

and then … things that should have been remembered, were lost

Lord of the Ring

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/320s 35mm 200 ISO

“In this world, the passage of time brings increasing order. Order is the law of nature, the universal trend, the cosmic direction. If time is an arrow, the arrow points toward order. The future is pattern, organization, union, intensification; the past, randomness, confusion, disintegration, dissipation.

“Philosophers have argued that without a trend toward order, time would lack meaning. The future would be indistinguishable from the past. Sequences of events would be just so many random scenes from a thousand novels. History would be indistinct, like the mist slowly gathered by treetops in evening.

” In such a world, people with untidy houses lie in their beds and wait for the forces of nature to jostle the dust from their windowsills and straighten the shoes in their closets. … Gardens need never be pruned, weeds never uprooted. Desks become neat by the end of the day. Clothes on the floor in the evening lie on chairs in the morning. Missing socks reappear.

“If one visits a city in the spring, one sees another wondrous sight. For in springtime the populace become sick of the order in their lives. In spring, people furiously lay waste to their houses. They sweep in dirt, smash chairs, break windows. On Aarbergergasse, or any residential avenue in spring, one hears the sounds of broken glass, shouting, howling, laughter. In spring, people meet at unarranged times, burn their appointment books, throw away their watches, drink through the night. This hysterical abandon continues until summer, when people begin their senses and return to work.” (~Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams. pp. 51-52)

Since we’ve got some time on our hands…let’s wander back to 1986 and listen to the Chambers Brothers, “Time Has Come Today”

no one calls …

Stay at Home Order … day 2 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

Weeds grow before my gate 
And my sleeves are wet with dew, 
No one calls on me, 
My tears are solitary–alas!

The Sarashina Diary (AD 1009-1059)

Cited: Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/3200 35mm 200ISO

“There should have been roses
Of the large, pale yellow ones.
And they should hang in abundant clusters over the garden-wall, scattering their tender leaves carelessly down into the wagon-tracks on the road: a distinguished glimmer of all the exuberant wealth of flowers within.
And they should have the delicate, fleeting fragrance of roses, which cannot be seized and is like that of unknown fruits of which the senses tell legends in their dreams.
Or should they have been red, the roses?
Perhaps.
They might be of the small, round, hardy roses, and they would have to hang down in slender twining branches with smooth leaves, red and fresh, and like a salutation or a kiss thrown to the wanderer, who is walking, tired and dusty, in the middle of the road, glad that he now is only half a mile from Rome.
Of what may he be thinking? What may be his life?”

Cited: Project Gutenberg’s Mogens and Other Stories, by Jens Peter Jacobsen

now hiring driver

Nikon D750 … f/1.8 1/50s 35mm 200 ISO

Seclusion Retreat … 13th day

Given that we can live only a small part of what there is in us–what happens with the rest?

Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

In this lodging

that no one visits,

where no one comes to call

from the moon in the trees

beans of light come poking in

~Saigyō (cited: Trans: B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)

“Of the thousand experiences we have, we find language for one at most and even this one merely by chance and without the care it deserves. Buried under all the mute experiences are those unseen ones that give our life its form, its color, and its melody. Then when we turn to these treasures, as archaeologists of the soul, we discover how confusing they are. The object of contemplation refuses to stand still, the words bounce off the experience and in the end, pure contradictions stand on the paper. For a long time, I thought it was a defect, something to be overcome. Today I think it is different: that recognition of the confusion is the ideal path to understanding these intimate yet enigmatic expertises. That sounds strange, even bizarre, I know. But ever since I have seen the issue in this light I have the feeling of being really awake and alive for the first time.”

~Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon. pg 17

I think this is a good time to pull away from the computer, close our eyes, and open ourselves to “Clarinet Concerto in A, K. 622: II. Adagio”.

Please be safe

drinking tea alone…

Nikon D750 … f/1.8 1/200 35mm 200 ISO

Seclusion Retreat … 12th day

drinking tea alone–
every day the butterfly
stops by
~Issa (cited: http://www.haikuguy.com)

“Even after decades as a successful artist…if I choose an object [to draw], fear becomes a goblin holding me back–fear of failure, of not measuring up, or of just being banal, but mostly fear of my drawing looking weird. Drawing makes me vulnerable. Doubt has a role in holding back the sheer joy of expression … the strongest initial resistance to drawing, for me, comes from the inner critic–the judgmental voice in my head. I imagine I hear people judging my work, devaluing my efforts, or comparing my sketch unfavorably to someone else’s finished work, and I just don’t want to face that!

“The great twentieth-century painter Philip Guston, known to work long hours in the studio, once repeated something the composer and artist John Cage had told him: ‘When you start working, everybody is in your studio–the past, your friends, your enemies, the art world, and above all, your ideas–all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.’ Guston and Cage before him, were articulating the reality that dealing with internal resistance, with the inner critic, is an integral part of an ongoing creative practice…” (cited: J F Simon, Drawing your own Path)

Let’s take a break, make a cup of tea, and listen to the Colorado Symphony’s Digital Ode to Joy

Please be safe