The dark sky dulls my dreamy mind,Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan
The down-dripping rain lingers–
O my tears down falling, longing after thee! ~The diary of Murasaki Shikibu
Each night as I watch the sunset, I am surprised to see the the western sky’s limitless wardrobe of clouds.
I have found that taking the time to sit on the veranda to watch the sunset and photograph the impermanence of clouds offers me moments of peace during this time of uncertainty. Thank you Leya for this week’s photo challenge: surprise.
in the depths of the lake
billowing clouds ~Issa (cited: haikuguy.com)
In response to this haiku, David (haikuguy.com) writes:
” Even though Issa is known for his comic haiku that have surprising, spiritual resonance; he is just as capable of revealing the sublime. French translator Jean Cholley translates the first word, shizukasa, as “sérénité” (“serenity”); En village de miséreux: Choix de poèmes de Kobayashi Issa (Paris: Gallimard, 1996) 33. Indeed, shizukasa denotes tranquility, quiet, calm. Of English possibilities, I’ve decided to use “stillness”–but the reader should be aware that Issa establishes a sense of deep peace before showing billowing mountains of clouds reflected “in the depths of the lake.” The haiku serves as a substitute for experience–or, perhaps, a clear window into experience–allowing the reader, in contemplation, to see that same lake, those same clouds, and to feel the serenity and stillness of the moment.”
Nikon D750 f/8 1/125s 160mm 400 ISO edited Capture One 20
“He fell asleep, and this is what he dreamed.
“The long golden rays seemed to turn into the bars of a cage. Yes, he was in a huge cage! He tried frantically to get out! He beat against the bars! Then he saw what looked like the roots of trees, and brown tree trunks, a grove all around the cage. But the trees moved and stepped about, and, looking up the trunks, instead of leaves he saw feathers, and still farther, sharp beaks, and then bright eyes looking at him. They were birds!
“What he had thought were the roots of trees were their claws, and the trunks of the trees were their legs. But what enormous birds! They were as big as men, while he was as small as a bird.
“‘Let me out!’ he shouted. ‘Don’t you know I am the Emperor, and every one must obey me? Let me out, I say!’
“‘Ah, he is beginning to sing,'” said one bird to another.
“‘Not a very musical song. Too shrill by far! Take my advice, wring his neck and roast him. He would make a tender, juicy morsel for our supper.’
“‘Oh, let me out! Please, please let me out!’ cried the poor Little Emperor in terror.
“He is singing more sweetly now,” remarked one of the birds.
“‘Too loud! Quite ear-splitting!’ said a lady bird, fluffing out her breast feathers and lifting her wings to show how sensitive she was.
“‘If he were mine I should pluck him. His little yellow silk trousers would line my nest so softly.’
“‘Oh, please, please set me free!’
“‘Really, his song is growing quite charming! But one can’t stand listening to it all day.’
“And with a great whir and flap and rustle of wings the birds flew away and left him in his cage, alone.
“He called for help and threw himself against the bars until he was exhausted. Then bruised, panting, his heart nearly breaking out of his body, he lay on the floor of the cage. Finally, growing hungry and thirsty, he looked in his seed and water cups, drank a little lukewarm water, and ate a dry bread crumb. Now and then birds came and looked at him. Some of them tried to catch his pigtail with their beaks or claws.
“Next day the Little Emperor was thoughtful. Could it be, he wondered, that a little bird’s nest was as dear to it as his own bed with its rainbow coverlets and its moon and stars was to him? That a little bird liked ripe berries and cold brook water as much as he liked ripe peaches and tea with jasmine flowers? That a little bird was as frightened when he tried to catch its tail in his fingers as he was when the birds tried to catch his pigtail?
“And then he thought of how he had felt when the lady bird had wanted his pantaloons to line her nest, and, hot with shame, he remembered his glistening jewel-bright blue cloak made of thousands of kingfishers’ feathers. It had made him miserable to think of their taking his clothes, but suppose his clothes grew on him as their feathers did on them? How would he have felt then, hearing the bird say: “I should pluck him. His little silk trousers would line my nest so softly’?”
“He went to bed thinking about his little brown bird, and before he shut his eyes he made up his mind to set it free in the morning.
“Then he fell asleep, and once again he dreamed that he was in the golden cage.
“Whir-rr! One of the great birds flew down by the cage door. With his claw he unfastened it – opened it!
“Oh, how exciting! The Little Emperor tore out, so afraid he would be stopped and put back in the cage!
“Oh, how he ran across the room and through the open door! Free! He was free! Tears rushed to his eyes, and his heart felt as if it would burst with happiness.
“But it was winter…”
cited: The Dream Coach
by Anne Parrish, 1888-1957 and Dillwyn Parrish, 1894-1941.
New York: The Macmillan company, 1924. Copyright not renewed.
68th day of self isolation
Skyscape photograph Nikon D750 f/8 1/400s 135 mm 400 ISO edited: Capture One 20
XV. 2. A Dream of T’ien-mu Mountain
(Part of a Poem in Irregular Metre.)
On through the night I flew, high over the Mirror Lake. The lake-moon cast my shadow on the waves and travelled with me to the stream of Shan. The Lord Hsieh’s* lodging-place was still there. The blue waters rippled; the cry of the apes was shrill. I shod my feet with the shoes of the Lord Hsieh and “climbed to Heaven on a ladder of dark clouds.”** Half-way up, I saw the unrisen sun hiding behind the sea and heard the Cock of Heaven crowing in the sky. By a thousand broken paths I twisted and turned from crag to crag. My eyes grew dim. I clutched at the rocks, and all was dark.
The roaring of bears and the singing of dragons echoed amid the stones and streams. The darkness of deep woods made me afraid. I trembled at the storied cliffs.
The clouds hung dark, as though they would rain; the air was dim with the spray of rushing waters.
Lightning flashed: thunder roared. Peaks and ridges tottered and broke. Suddenly the walls of the hollow where I stood sundered with a crash, and I looked down on a bottomless void of blue, where the sun and moon gleamed on a terrace of silver and gold.
A host of Beings descended—Cloud-spirits, whose coats were made of rainbow and the horses they rode on were the winds.
Skyscape photography at sunset on 63rd day of self isolation Nikon D750 f/8 1/100s 190 mm 400 ISO edited: Capture One 20 & Photoshop
The Poet Li Po, by Arthur Waley and Bai Li The Project Gutenberg ebook
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at http://www.gutenberg.org
*Hsieh Ling-yün (circa a.d. 400) was a famous mountain-climber who invented special mountain-climbing shoes.
**A quotation from one of Hsieh’s poems.
Generally my editing begins with cropping an image with a “focus” on the points of interest using a crop tool set for either a golden ratio, rectangular, or fibonacci spiral grid. The times when there is a pesky “thing” poking in from the edge(s) which somehow was either ignored or not seen in the camera lens, I will either crop or use a software program to removed the unwanted object.
I like the composition of the first image so kept the image at the original aspect ratio and cropped with a fibonacci spiral grid.
The above image was cropped with a ratio of 6×7 which seemed to invite me to move from a stilled contemplative mood to a sense of an ocean’s dynamic energy.
The monochrome cloud images were created with a Nikon D750 (f/8 1/500s 190mm 400 ISO ) and edited in Silver Efex Pro 2.
This week’s Lens-Artists photo challenge is offered by Patti who discussed the photo editing technique and benefits of cropping the shot followed by, “Show us how cropping helped to improve an image and create a desired effect. Include the shot ‘before’ and ‘after’ so we can see the difference.
Nikon D750 f/8 1/25s 35mm 400 ISO, edited Capture One 20
Who could’ve imagined fifty-nine days and still not free
to roam and play like a goose on the loose
or camp in a forest to simply see
a grumpy fox named bruce, yell, “truce!”
or hear tummies giggling with glee
when we deduce the orange lizard a woose
or bake a cake for afternoon tea
without an obtuse centipede’s truce
or romp with friends across sky’s blue sea
“no! not bed time, zeus – we’re playing Dr. Seuss“
impermanence at sunset…Nikon D750 f/8 1/160s – 1/400s 116mm 400 ISO
edited: Capture One 20 and Photoshop