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.

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”

marcescence

Solitude Retreat … 9th day

In the Hida Mountains

the village pawnshop is closed –

a winter evening

~Buson (cited: Y Sawa & E M Shiffert, Haiku Master Buson

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/1600 35mm 200 ISO

you just can’t go and ask a tree

“Fall is so wonderful because of the change in the colors of the leaves, and [during the autumn months], the deciduous trees pretty much shed their leaves and become bare—well, most of those trees. …

“The process of shedding leaves is really interesting and shows the intricate evolution of nature as a way to survive through all seasons. When the days grow shorter and the amount of sunshine available to leaves decreases, the process that makes food for the trees ends. Chlorophyll begins to break down, the green color disappears, and we get those splendid colors of the fall before most trees drop their leaves.

“The process of leaf drop is also a neat little trick of nature. At the base of their stem (referred to as the petiole), leaves have a zone called the abscission layer, located near the branch to which they are attached.

“The word abscission (sounds like scissors) comes from the Latin ‘to cut away’. The abscission zone has special cells that act like scissors, cutting the leaf off from the main part of the tree in autumn. The part of the leaf stem, or petiole, nearer the leaf contains a separation layer of thin-walled cells that break readily, allowing the leaf to drop. On the branch or twig side of the petiole, there’s another special layer of cells that have a corky structure, which forms a protective layer on the tree, neatly closing up the break to prevent injury or disease. So, the cold of winter gets sealed out, while precious water that the tree continues to use through the winter is sealed in. When spring finally arrives, the return to rapid growth from the trees limbs makes leaf buds expand and swell, and the old leaves finally break off if they haven’t already. Nature is so cool!

“Most, but not all, deciduous trees go through the abscission process. But there are a number of species that exhibit marcescence, or the retention of their leaves, to some degree through the winter months. That’s what you may see when you walk through the forest in the winter. Marcescence is most common by far in the beech, followed by many species of oak as well as hornbeam

“Scientists have not established the exact reason why certain trees exhibit marcescence—you just can’t go and ask a tree. However, there are some common theories. A few of those theories are based on the observation that marcescent leaves are found most often on younger or smaller trees or on the lower limbs of bigger trees.

“One theory suggests trees may keep their leaves to deter deer and other browsing animals from eating the nutrient-rich twigs. The leaves may conceal sumptuous new buds. In fact, researchers have found that the dried leaves are less nutritious than the twigs, and that characteristic might keep the animal from trying to munch on the lower twigs of trees.

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/1600 35mm 200 ISO

“Researchers suggest another possibility for trees holding their leaves through the winter. It relates to the availability of nutrients for trees as they head into the growing season in the spring. When leaves drop in the fall, the nutrients from those leaves that accumulate on the forest floor are pretty much gone by the next spring when the tree needs food to kick off the growing season. This mulch layer would also hold in precious moisture for the trees. If the tree holds its leaves until spring, then releases them to the ground below, they may act as quick-start nutrients as the growing season begins, and this is most important for the smaller trees under much of the canopy from larger trees.

“On a related note, in some years, rapid onset of early frosts or freezes may halt the abscission process and cause many other deciduous trees to hold their leaves into part of the winter season. This would include varieties of maples and other species, but as the winter wears on most of these trees finally do lose their leaves.

“There’s no debate that the muted browns and yellows of marcescent leaves provide a beautiful backdrop in the bare forests of the winter. In addition, one benefit of trees like the beech, which keep most of their leaf canopy during the winter, is for birds who can seek shelter from the cold winter temperatures and winds among those clumps of leaves.

“For those who choose to take that wonderful saunter through a forest path during the winter, you now know why there are trees who choose “not to go naked” during the season, but wait to complete a quick change as nature’s spring fashion season swings into full gear.”

cited: Weather Underground,Tom Niziol. Marcescence: why some trees keep their leaves in winter, January 22, 2020

2020 photo challenge: patterns

winter’s greeting

Nikon D750 f/4.5 1/3200s 85mm 800 ISO

I often find myself whining during this time of the year as winter’s dormant colors…its various hues of yellows and browns…stir up a visual yearning for the greens of spring.

This impatience with Mother Earth’s slumber…this “gaikan“…this outward judgmental direction upon the external world that feeds a delusional belief, “life would be better only if you change…” has been silenced with an acceptance that it is not Mother Earth’s nature to bend to my will and an intention to open myself to the various elements of photo composition she offers to my wandering eye.

My eyes first were attracted to the repeating patterns of the building and then to the repeating patterns of the yellow strips within the curve of the trail. Then a gift…a runner whose figure completed the image. Her greeting and smile were icing on the cake.

To join in the fun of learning and applying various elements of photography hop on over to Travel’s Words and “Shoot from a different perspective. Look up, look down or shoot from a distance.”