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”

time

time, an illusion

of fragmented memories

pursuing refuge

Ricoh GX100… f/4.4 1/95s 15.3mm 80 ISO

Who would fare better in the world of fitful time? Those who have seen the future and live only one life? Or those who have not seen the future and wait to live life? Or those who deny the future and live two lives?

~Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams, pg. 68

early morning readings

contemplative photography 26 copy
Sony RX100 III  f/5   1/800s   8.8mm  800 ISO

A world without memory is a world of the present. The past only exists in books, in documents. In order to know himself, each person carries his own ‘Book of Life,’ which is filled with the history of his life. By reading its pages daily, he can relearn… Without his Book of Life, a person is a snapshot, a two-dimensional image, a ghost. … Some pass the twilight hours at their tables reading from their Books of Life; others frantically fill its extra pages with the day events.

With time, each person’s ‘Book of Life’ thickens until it cannot be read in its entirety.  Then comes a choice.  Elderly men and women may read the early pages, to know themselves as youth; or they may read the end, to know themselves in later years.

Some have stopped reading altogether.  They have abandoned the past.  They have decided that it matters not if yesterday they were…. no more than it matters how a soft wind gets into their hair. ~A Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams

In his 1991 file ‘Prospero’s Books’, a cinematic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, Peter Geenaway showed a series of exotic books that were kept in a library on a magical island and revealed just enough of their content to have me wishing the fantasy books were real. Among my favorites are ‘The Book of Colors,’ where “the pages cover the spectrum in finely differentiated shades…a ‘Book of Motion’ that describes, in animated illustrations, all possibilities for dance with the human body. ~J F Simon, Jr., Drawing Your Own Path

early morning readings II

In this world, time is like a flow of water, occasionally displaced by a bit of debris, a passing breeze.  Now and then, some cosmic disturbance will cause a rivulet of time to turn away from the mainstream, to make connection back stream. When this happens, birds, soil, people caught in the branching tributary find themselves suddenly carried to the past.   ~A Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams

Reality in itself is a stream of life, always moving.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh, The Sun My Heart

Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of children playing in the rubble of war…may become a metaphor or symbol of hope. The image over my desk of a grieving mother and child after an earthquake in Armenia, made by my photographer friend Mark Beach, symbolized for me the sorrow and tragedy that is part of life.  An image I once made of the source of the mighty Susquehanna River–a spring flowing into a bathtub in a field that serves as a water tank for cows, then spilling over to begin a stream–reminds me that the restorative juice “river,” with which I am associated, has many small sources.  ~H Zehr, The Little Book of Contemplative Photography