This Day

Collected Sabbath Poems & New, 1979-2013,

Wendell Berry

1985 (the first and last stanza) FOR: MEL

Not again in this flesh will I see

the old trees stand as they did,

weighty creatures made of light, delight

of their making straight in them and well,

whatever blight our blindness was or made,

however thought or act might fail.

Though blindness may yet detonate in light,

ruining all, after all the years, great right

subsumed at last in paltry wrong,

what do we know? Still

the Presence that we come into with song

is here, shaping the seasons of His wild will.

I had an ink ling. It sounded like an Ode to Spring, so I
played with lines and squiggles instead of words.

April has been everything it can be. I found Wendell Berry someplace in my precious library, and I just love his old American way of hanging on to Transcendendtalism long after the cultural was fashion in America, at its best of years. But, by 1985 Berry saw the evolution of humanity trying to keep up with the evolution of Corporate Capitalism. A new guilded age was being ushered-in by the Tea-Party, twenty-five years later it is inevitable: the corn fields and the wheat fields are turning into sub-urban malls designed to have a short life, left to decay. Not like you, or i, or an old barn returning from Dust to Dust, rather, like steal beams rusting into asbestos and cement seaping through the tar and dripping with toxic paints.

Please Wabi-Saii show me the beauty in this decay. I want to see it. I want to touch it and feel it the way I did when I was ten.

I saw that boy recently. He was four years old. He was gifted to me by a spirit guide named Mel. All I know about her is her given name, Mel. She narrated me down a rabit hole and I fell into my inner landscape, I love it it ther. He was so small, just walking down the side porch stairs leading to a gravel yard (stone, screws, nails and glass) a car park area for the Canadian Style triple-decker that is iconic of the early 20th century.

He was wearing a three-quarter herringbone coat with a matching herringbone hat with a very small visor and, also of herringbone button smack on top of his hat. He was heading toward his friends house and I saw his face light up with a glow when he saw him come down the steps that led from his house to the dirt road between them. .

We played in the, Italian Field, among oily street run-off water, the rag-weed and the golden-rods. I remember a bow and arrow, and the arrows had rubber suction cups and you knew you could not possibly hurt yourself or your friend. It was all so safe and innocent.

Then I opened my eyes back into the outer-landscape. I like it in both places.

Books are adept at speaking for themselves.



And, as the days became weeks and the weeks became months it began to feel that life as we knew it would never return; no more than the depression before the war and the spike in the economy post the war was ever to return.

People are transformed when forced by nature to bend in a new direction. We are bending toward an austerity such as we have not seen, perhaps since the Civil War.

It occurs to me that the idea of runs-on-banks might be as much a reality as runs-on-toilet-paper, no pun intended.

Around the time that a global migration was starting to take place, we had witnessed wars and famines, and brutal dictatorships in the Middle East and Africa. We had witnessed wearing face masks by China, due to over-industrialized pollution. The military-industrial state that Eisenhower had warned about was, in large part, occurring and running the world economy in 2020.

Migration insurgencies we’re taking place at our border with Mexico. White nationalism was creeping into our politics and the green, environmental & progressive movement had been voted into 2nd class citizens due to gerrymandering and a multitude of other corruption charges, underlined in the Impeachment hearings and the Supreme Court nomination process.

In the new world order, we have a middle-eastern like Caste System, though granted, with less restrictive boundaries at the fringe. In general, we would see four major classes:
1. The Uber Rich
2. The politico-corporate elite
3. The professional Haves &
4. The poor and working poor.

We are living under the rules of a political regime that aspires to cater to the Ubers and the politico-corporate world-class. The Trump Republican Party since Reagan has moved further to the right and by 2016 was beginning to embrace the likes of Steven Miller, Fox News, and Medal of Honor recipient, Rush Limbaugh.

Republicans had, under the law, stolen two elections, one Supreme Court justice, and had succeeded in manipulating election results in such a way as to create great division between those who have and those who have nothing or very little. The code of law we live under has trouble serving Justice. Along comes a lone maverick, sociopathic corrupt, mob-boss Republican candidates. There had already been a Sarah Pallin, the Alaskan country girl who could see Russia from her house. This was around the time that the political cartoons talked about putting lipstick on a pig.

We had not begun to see the direction this was taking. The lines had been drawn. There had been a nigger elected as president of this great country. It was time to reverse all the gains “The People” had made. The erasure came in the form of eliminating taxes on the Ubers, then enacting a multitude of executive orders attacking everything from clean water to Gold-star families.

Breaking with our humanitarian traditions America was at the forefront of political and domestic abuse. With migration at the south and our government deliberately harming relations with Canada to our north, with withdrawing from NATO, and the Paris Accord; and aligning with Oid rich Saudi Arabia, we entered an era where the aspects of good and evil were taking shape as definitively as any cultural and religious war had done in the past. Mr. Trump lacked leadership skills, lacked intelligence, and lacked a moral compass. What could possibly go wrong.

86 Sanctuary Rd, Charlestown, Rhode Island, United States

in Canada

It is September of my 73rd year. I am in Canada and along with me is my nemesis, Caleb. He has been with me since reading Ann Rice. Living forever, trading your soul in for extended consciousness, was a delightful fantasy–it sold books, and it sold me.

Always the ‘wanna-be’, that was Caleb’s life. With the arc in plain view, Caleb noticed that he was the same DNA that was once a little boy. As he sat by an open window in one of the townships of Quebec he heard neighbors in the adjoining yard–they spoke Canadian. It all came back to him like a dream. Except now it was Caleb that had COPD and his mother had been dead a quarter of a century. It was not so much the words as the rhythm, the cadence of the language that Caleb admired, as it was the heartfelt language, because it represents a people who had to settle-in to survive; and many did not survive. Those that did respect their antiquity. The culture of French Canada shows that determination. They are a nation that respects the status quo.

Today we would say it was a mindfulness that did not want to be intruded upon. Caleb would be meditating. He would be stopping. He would be absconded by an alien consciousness. This is too esoteric for these Canadians. They know how to be and the land and the history and the culture supports that.

st augustine, nostalgia is sad

st augustine has been a mixed blessing this year, but then again what has not been a mixed blessing as i ramble through my memories.  i might be leaving this place soon and i find myself not ready.  the winter has been chilly, the moon is waning and lyla died.

loss and letting-go is bearing down on me.  i feel it as exaggerated gravity.  a kind of electrically exaggerated gravity.  something that is both weighty and profound. let me illustrate it with a few images:

black and purple 2  as well as the pressure and the heightened sensitivity, there is a growing awareness that this 3rd phase of life will make the bumpy past seem smooth in comparison.  i could be wrong and i would gladly be wrong but it does seem to me that tragedy prevails at the end.  even if it was a comic ride for most of life, the end might be a relief–at best.

in any event, it has been a ghostly season.

ghostly winterit feels like mardi gras with no ash-wednesday.  don’t take this wrong–i like dark.  to paraphrase leonard, “you want it darker, turn off the light.”

turner stormto paraphrase leonard, “you want it darker, turn off the light.”

February 2nd, 2018

Abstract Expressionism: the spectrum of energy

writing with light and psychoanalytic conversation have this in common:  both are enhanced by the polarities of existence.  both are engaged in what is present and what is missing.  each case is informed by the extremities in a system of energy.

darkness is as revealing as light, shadows are as important as highlights. balance and beauty and truth converge into a singularity leading to the illusion of oneness.

 

canoe glow

my artwork has evolved from impressionism to expressionism.  this new method of working in the world of abstraction has expanded my vision.  it is the unconscious made conscious by free-association.  here meaning and reason have less to do with outcome; and. process is once again central. it has always been for me.

i find beauty in the subjective, that is to say, i find beauty in the creation of sensation through a steady alertness to evolution.  everything, including the universe, is always and only moving forward through the spectrum of light and energy.  all photography is capturing a single moment in time and space.

the process is meditative.

 

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Fire and Ice

double sun set.jpg

 

This is a basic edit–the lucky shot itself is the best part of this photo. The double sunset is a result of Ice formation in the clouds to the right. The Sun setting to the left illuminated the ice crystals creating the illusion of a double sunset.

The role of illusion in perspective and sight is what makes a particular work of art special because of what Nature provides.  I like this type of image because it feels like a cooperation between the universe and my micro-vision.

More than anything, I enjoy the surprise of nature.  Even to the point of impermanence, I am delighted to live with the knowledge that all suns set in the end.  Some set beautifully, as this one did.

Clams in Rhode Island

clamming in Rhode Island.jpgClamming in R I

 

It was a beautiful end of summer day.  Kathy has the Canadian Canoe with a 9.9 engine on the back.  We can row or paddle, or for long runs, Kathy uses the engine. The shallow brackish ponds curve around a landscape of the Atlantic on one side and the shoreline of southern Rhode Island on the other side.  The image above depicts our family group raking for clams

The 1st of October brings my mind into the new season.  Though we spent the afternoon in the water, it was really not warm enough for old bones to enjoy a swim.  Though each of us were so adapted to New England, I am sure we might have had we known the day would turn out as warm as it did.  My face browned with the passing of the day.

The southern migration of the popular tree swallow was in full swing and they were, we were told, on their way to Essex Cn where they converge to finish their way to the southern destination.  In New England, we understand snow-birds differently than the popular version which is to fly, drive and even train to some parts of Florida.  These birds were swirling and feeding off the pond all around us.  A flock of cormorants also converging were mingling with sea-gulls as we canoe around the ponds and marshes of Ninigret. Native American influence is fading but still visible when you look.

We brought in enough shellfish to have appetizers with dinner, a simple Sunday evening supper as was the custom in Canadian families.

Autumn and aging are at my front door.  At first, I had to adapt to the idea, then I realized the adaptations are transitions that require a new kind of deliberate intent.  Clamming on a bright, sunny, autumn day with folks you love and trust is a great source of spiritual healing.  I am talking about the kind of healing that comes from inhaling the rays of sun, merged with the aroma of the tides and the beauty of the colors the light provides.

Some days, with a bit of luck and a dose of determination, gratitude is in the air.

From Zen to Death and Back

From Zen to Death and Back

Leonard Cohen died with his
Mia culpa hanging on a breath of life not
wanting to be extinguished.

Some want it darker is about as dark as it gets while still sustaining a melody, a small rhythm gnawing from the inside to make its way out into the light for one final view, one final airing. I admire his boldness of Character. A brilliant study on Human Darkness composed of life and sung as a troubadour nearly across the entire globe. He has a message that resonates to the wonderfully misfit, the magnificently imperfect humans who manage to find each other in this every expanding chaos of mind and universe.

What a gift of himself he gave to we wandering souls that catch-up here and there, staying  6 feet behind and following an echo from the past.  It is a function of my generation.  We were brought up to feel appreciation because they knew it could be so much worst. It had been for them and for their parents as well.  Sandwiched in between two World Wars of brutal intent and consequence they wanted us to know we had it good.

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Here is a listening moment from his very beginning:  Suzanne

 

I can say that I grew up with him.  Canadian from Montreal, I had to love him for his heritage.  Then the liturgy of the Cadillac Church was so interwoven with the culture that he let it become the landscape from which he picked his brilliant metaphors and symbols.

I can say that I find him to be the joy of darkness, the portal to a complete zen acceptance that allows authenticities to be vulnerable appendages rather than the hanging chads of shame and secrecies.

 

ST. AUGUSTINE, 450th anniversary: the environ

Preface:

It could only be better if it were Quebec rather than St. Augustine.  I say that because Quebec owns my heart and I tend to find beauty where I love.  But we are here and it is now, and that means photos and enhancements, and trials and errors, even during dinner.  It is very difficult for a photographer to escape without his camera.  It is all somewhat of a bus-man’s holiday.  It may be intrinsic to how I see.  I am a Naturalist.  The laws of nature are all around me.  I see them, and they are not watching me.

 

furs and feathers 2

 

As well as having my camera with me as a companion when I set out to write, I take my fascination for light and darkness as more than a metaphor.  I am a Naturalist.  My world is ever changing.  I am aware of moments of simple awe, and moments complicated by  compound-complex sentences that refuse to end.

A current phrase that I hear said to me is:  “Let it go, Man!”

matt cutter like

 

 

So, I let it go.

The pictures that are in this “note” are a product of the gifts of solitude and consciousness that arose out of “letting-it-go”.  I want to elevate these qualities to a near divinity, but they are so human, and ever so woven into the daily evolution of life, that they fail when I attempt to cut them away from the mother plant.  It is not divine consciousness that I elevate, it is Human Consciousness.

The simple observation of the wind, or the odor of sulphuric-salt at low-tide, these enable me to see the greater natural beauty that is St. Augustine. We live on the cusp of what mother nature knows is her land.  Not unlike the attempt started 450 years ago to claim the land for humans from humans, Mother Nature has had her eye on our bay-front for her own use.  St. Augustine is trying to save the shoreline for mother nature’s use.  But, even these interventions are an interruption, a cancer that we humans bring with our civilized footprints as fossils for future archaeologist. St. Augustine has a predilection to Pompeii, and to New Orleans.

the oldest city street on the continent

In the summer St. Augustine is a mix of Floridian consciousness with a touch of the tropics that it borders.  We live at the sea level of water, much like New Orleans, or Dutch Holland.  We are intrinsically woven with the sea, into the sea, and the sea is woven into this shoreline that is us.  We know it is the Laws of Nature that govern, and we know that the Law governs as an absolute monarch.  It is as merciless as the Spanish Inquisition or a Roman conquest.  Mother-Nature rules Absolutely. No amount of self-worth or self-pride can out veto a “NO” vote from mother nature.

We killed the previous owners of this land and we now call it ours.  As such, I photograph the land as if it were mine, and I was taking a picture to prove its inheritance.   We are western civilization.

Crossing the Bridge Of Lions on a soft summer evening can feel as glorious as Venice, or as tame as St. Augustine,  and the lens, my companion, searches for an intersection of lines and light.

the bridge

 

 

I enjoy the fascination of finding a fisherman crouched beneath a bridge fishing for life and maybe even for fish.  He seems to not notice 30,000 people circulating around his nest. He carries a tool box for line and hooks, and a knife as any hunter should.  He hunts.

fishing boy

Others sail!

vignette pencil stroke 2

 

 

Contrast in St. Augustine is relatively easy to fine.  We must be looking for it.  We must be deliberate about when we choose the moment to shoot.  There are two moments in Art: deliberated and un-deliberate.  The common sense choice is an extension of being deliberate.  It occurs for me when I am closest to belonging.

pedestrian bridge

In the theater of Humanity, we have so often come away from life to find a point of observation that captures more than the light dancing on an object.  We would like to come away and find a purpose higher than our own internal, subjective point of view.  I seem to find it more quickly when I am working with the elements of Nature directly.

There is a meditative aspect to art that is linked to both the cause of the piece and the execution of the piece.   A Naturalist that I have great respect for is Mr. Henry Beston.  The following is a quote from 1949 forward of his book, The Outer Most House:

“Man can either be less than man or more than man, and both are monsters, the last   more dread.”

an intersection of line and light

The stage at the center of town, holding court, held little interest for me.  The masses captured by a slogan and swaying to the odor of ale, did not impress me.  The town on which this stage is raised, however, does call to me.  It calls to me because the past has not been deliberately hidden.  The awful scars of righteousness and bigotry do not seem to be as hidden as they might be in other small southern towns.  The sins and atrocities of man seem to become part of the fabric of here.  Though, there does appear to be a lot of civic pride about a massive blood-bath in the Matanzas river.

I think of it as the respect for art and architecture.  St. Augustine envelopes most visitors at least at first sight.

galleon

 

El Galeon, an authentic replica of a 16th century Spanish War ship was one such recent visitor.  We stood on the bridge and watched her come in from the inlet at Vilano and move slowly into the bay front.  Spanish and American flags waved her into place.  She was here to be a part of a festival of celebration.

I find her to be a majestic aspect of St. Augustine’s past.  We were, after all, held here by royalty.  And, for as little as we try to make of it in today’s world, we certainly have been deeply influenced by the behavior of royalty and its part in domesticating western civilization.

the galleon 2

 

This floating art work is a salute to war and the spoils of war. Most of what we have acquired was stolen or forced away from its natural habitat.  Our consciousness belongs to Nature, it has evolved along side the earth since the beginning of time.  We are the furthest-most extension of Nature that we have found anywhere in the universe.  And our little town of St. Augustines is such a representative gem in that crown of thorns.

P1170902

 

 

Our town is a triumph of man against nature.  See what we have cut out of mother nature and put in its place.  See how architectural transplants have added multiple uses to the marsh lands. so many more uses than mother nature had intended for this piece of little paradise.

P1020017

 

 

Evolution is just another name for the slice of life that we have become.  Migration of species moves to a natural order, an order of not-knowing that bothers our consciousness.  Freud would say that psycho-analysis disturbed the sleep of the world.  That German-Jew knew what he was talking about.  We do not want to know that what we have created is created on a bed of sand that has an equal capacity to move from beneath as it does from above.  A foundation of shifting sand brings no comfort. The answer may not be a bigger wall unless we are deliberate about the fact that a bigger wall will only postpone what mother nature, in the long run, will re-capture as hers.  She is a formidable Queen every bit as powerful as Isabell or Elizabeth.  She is mother to every Queen that ever ruled.

a bird of paradise 2

 

There will be more about mother nature in St. Augustine in a separate post.  This post will connect with an episode from the Caleb Sagas.

Thanks for reading.logo

 

The Bay Front Near Sunset

Both of these photos, subsequently painted with digital light, are reflections of the town of ST. Augustine.  The Bay Front is a particularly lovely evening walk.  The river casts shadows and repel light causing a geometry of objects to appear as they do in the two paintings found below.  These shots were moments apart and shot from only a slightly different angle.  The results could not be more dynamically different.

  1.   Harbor Lights
  2.   Bay Front

 

harbor lightbay front