a winter gale blows across the solid lake of ice

There are times that I wake-up in the middle of the night and I can not think of anything that I would rather be doing than writing.  On those occasions, like on this one, I usually brew tea or grab a glass of juice and I make myself comfortable.  I can only do this if I am not expected to be at the office early in the morning.

What I like about these nights is the quiet.  The wood stove makes a sound, but not a distracting one and if I am lucky the fridge is not running.  On those nights I can usually hear the wind in the trees, less so in the winter, but in the winter there can be some severe gales that come up off the lake and make me feel like I am in a foreign country, and it is a different age.  I can picture myself wrapped in a black P-Coat and walking down to the pier.  But the country id Wales and the boy id Dylan Thomas and he is wrapped in Scottish wools and tweeds with rubber boots.

I do not often act on these dreams, except perhaps on some very warm night in the summer when the moon is nearly full; but, I digress.  I am telling you about this night and this night, I am content to be typing across the keyboard and simply recording my sensations as they occur.

A night like this is reserved for my highest contemplations.  I like to envision myself so much younger than I have become.  I can remember back to nights like this one some forty years ago living in a 3rd floor tenement building on the very top floor on one of Worcester’s seven hills.

One evening we got very stoned and very drunk.  After hours of listening to music and eating home baked pizza made with the remains of welfare food that we were getting as surplus because we lives so far under the poverty level; after an already long night, we set out into the city to find some ruin of a stone tower. It was a cold night and the stone tower looked very illegal and I was scared and exhilarated all at once. Bancroft tower stands a top of another one of Worcester’s seven hills.  Its history is rather benign.  Some one had it erected in honor of someone who had money.

 

None of us would have cared very much about its history but as college students we make use of the tower as it became  part of our fantasy.  We were kings and princes and we had damsels and there were even homosexual knights who dared not be caught for fear of beheading…not a far cry from what it would have felt like to be caught queer in 1969.

It is many years ago and that night has a distant memory associated with growing up and associated with no longer being under the direction of my mother or the mother church.  As a roman catholic boy in a small new england town, homosexuality had no place where it could be fine.  It was an abomination and as such only took place in the seediest of places and in the most quiet of back room arenas.  It was forbidden, and so was I.

Tonight I remember that young boy that I was and the young man who played the prince.  His name was Steve and i can not longer see him in my minds eye.  He had been a patient at the local asylum.  As soon as I heard that, i wanted to check in myself…maybe in an insane asylum I could find some like mindedness.  I was not sure if I was looking for a cure or for acceptance.

I tried to get a job as a ward attendant but I did not quiet seem sane enough to them for that; so I tried to admit myself as a patient, but I appeared too sane for that option.  So, I continued to pine away in my heart looking for something that I knew would destroy my life, but having not the slightest capacity to keep my mind from knowing what it knew.  I liked boys and men and I was so screwed, because not only did I have a family, but I was wildly in love with my wife.

It sent me into an alcoholic panic & stupor that lasted some thirty years–on and off my knowing that I was a drunk homosexual.  There was nothing about that then, or even now, that makes very much sense to me.  I am not longer an alcoholic and I live with a perfectly wonderful male partner; but it still makes no sense to me as to why I would have an aberration every bit as damaging as my other love, “my Tourette’s.”

I think that this little glimpse of history comes from hearing the phrase, “the return of the repressed.”  I heard the phrase in relations to politics, but it stayed in my mind and as I sat listening the the gale force wind at my window, I remember to a day gone by.  I have always enjoyed returning in memory to former places where I have lived.

I have always found it hard to settle down.  I move from one location to another as frequently as some folks change socks.  It is not because of a lack of satisfaction as much as it is about trying a new thing. I am looking for a new gusto to grab before this entire trip is over.

It is still deep winter in New England and I am thankful for the fire glowing in the wood stove.  The mantle is cluttered with “stuff” from the shore and a bottle of sand from Hutchinson Island and two small ceramic birds that sit atop of pieces of drift wood.  The framed picture above the mantle is a 1930 print of a fishing scene in some mountain range that reminds me of where this cottage is located.

I think I am preparing myself to move again, but this time, as in one time before, it does not feel to be down stream.

 

atone is to attune as spiritual is the psychic

Thirteen hundred and twenty-five miles from slices of ice to coconut palms, from 70 inches of snow to 70 degrees in the sun.  The days of winter in New England are short, cold and challenging.  It is no wonder that as we age we think of becoming snow-birds and flying with the pelicans leaving the penguins behind.

I spent five and half wonderful weeks on Hutchinson Island and it was difficult to leave our small bungalow just several hundred feet from the pounding surf  and the sandy beach of the treasure coast of Florida to return to the chards of ice that had become out lake.

I was very pleased  to have had the opportunity to be away from the routines of daily life.  It was surprising just how productive I was about my writing life when I stopped and discovered that I had hours of leisure time available and that I wanted to fill them with words and photos.

I find the combination of pictures, that are said to be worth a thousand words, and the words themselves, to be a strong and effective way to communicate.  And, what I find so valuable to communicate has to do with the dream that who we are and what we want are one thing.  We are in a place and time in the history of the human specie that is testing out the old value that we have free-will.  As agents of  free-will we have a built in capacity to change the direction of our life at any moment when we become aware that we are not where we want to be.

The way that we discover that we are not where we want to be is simple.  It does not feel right.  But for so many people not feeling right has become a way of life and they may not we aware the the lack of joy, the lack of good feeling, is not a state but rather a sensation that ought to awaken us to the fact that we are not where we want to be. Like any pain the sensation is not a punishment but rather a neuronal alert that gives us information.

If I have my hand too close to a fire the nerves in my hand alert my brain to move my hand in another direction–away from the fire.  If my emotional life is in danger of conflagration the painful sensation of feeling awful is the alert that we need to change the direction of our movements.  The emotional alert system is closely connected with the defenses that our egos have learned, over the course of a life time.

Becoming alert, awake, spiritually aware are events that are available to the human psyche, the human soul.  We are mental spirits seeking attunement with the universe and when we achieve that state of attunement, we KNOW it.  The capacity to know is a virtue worth revisiting.

Knowledge comes to us through our senses–simple and yet among the most complicated of conditions to contemplate.  We arrive at knowing through a subjective awareness of a kind of synchronicity with the the universe–with the world.  As we become acquainted with our subjective self we can learn to rely on this self to take us to place that we want to go.  In other words the synchronicity that we seek with the world is one of matching our desires with the world we are in.  As we apply desire to our being we set free in us the condition that we have a free-will and that we know that we have that free-will.

Of what use is it to have free will, if we are unaware of the freedom of our will.  I think that when religion spoke so highly of free-will it is because the saints and popes and the martyrs of old were aware of just how significant it was to know what we want and to be able to go after it.  The mystics were seeking a sense of glory to match a state of divine awareness.  Frequently they found it because they were searching for it.  Much of what we yearn for in the world can be found when we apply a knowing desire to the wanted object or state.

Finally, although we can use this process to obtain thing from the world, in no time at all we recognize that the only reason that we ever wanted things was to give us a certain feeling.  If we can apply ourself to desiring the feeling directly, it is almost as if the objects actually get in the way of the desired state.

writing with light–it’s complicated

It is incredible how deeply saturated life must become for me to feel the blood red and sky blue moments that appear before me from time to time.  It’s complicated, you know.  It is not easy being chronically aware of not only what you are thinking but how your mind is working as well.  It is a kind of double time that happens.  Like working two shifts back to back. I guess I must like or at least be adapted to inner chaos because my life runs a drama within that never seems to stop. I like that I am getting such mileage from this old vehicle.  I like that I am able to get twice as far on a gallon of fuel.  And I like that life presents itself to me in such a way as I never seem to choose the simple or the obvious.  I like that when I look back on my life i will have a generous amount of regrets as well as a very generous amount of joy and gratitude.  I could not have tolerated it as dull. I remember when I was first married some forty years ago how my wife and i would banter bout the notion that if anything we were not dull-normL.  I am not sure if that was before or after psychiatry.  Nonetheless, it was not only a statement about life at that time as much as it was a statement about an ambition.  From getting high to climbing mountains, to camping in the rain and chanting, “we would overcome”  to the U.S. Government; it was a very aka-ward beginning to an adult life that was to turn out aka-ward in many ways. The word that made a particular impact on my consciousness tonight was the word, “saturated.”  I am aware that very saturated colors combined with muted tones form a pallet that I seem to enjoy in my photography.  Sometimes it is only with the help of blowing the light to almost white that the remainder of the photo  shows its depth. When I point the camera at on object, it is the reflection of light that catches my fancy.  There are times when the object of of little to no consequence if the light is spraying correctly through out the frame that I am seeing through the lens of the camera.  Writing with light indicates a writing of deeply saturated emotion and frequently I am capturing an emotion and when I come to the part where it is time to digitally develop the image, I find that it is the balance of light, the deepness of colors resting one against the other that generates in me a sense of completion.  Often the picture that I take with the camera is only the pallet.  Later in the manipulating stage I can play with reflections the way a choreographer might play with his dancers. Photography as a fine art is about color and light–the objects that are caught are vehicles to conduct the light from where I capture it to where it can be view later.  It is like bringing home a sunset, or driving away with the sound of the surf still pounding on the shore. In any event beginning with a snowman named Ecuador to images of a water nymph lifting from beneath the sea–life has been complicated.

isla mujeres

I saw this island 30 years ago before it was a tourist attraction—i got there from the mainland

on a a boat carrying families with their pigs and chickens and livestock tied with rope the way we
would lead a dog on a leash……the island was over grown and the shanties were lovely and pink hibiscus
grew around every piece of jungle poverty making it look like paradise rather than abject poverty..
there was one little wooden building painted a turquoise blue with bright yellow shutters–there were
no windows just colorful shutters…the bottom part of this structure was a combination store and
restaurant…maybe two table with a vynal table cloth.  The legs of the make shift table were constructed
of wooden crates that were initially orange crush soda crates….there were chicken and livestock running
all around and children playing nearly naked—-I thought I had walked into a Gaugain….