In my attempts to pay attention (meditate) at the bay, it has become clear to me that there are two human "products" which for me interfere irresistibly with this attempt: the aggressive insistent drone of human machinery and the chatter of human voices and language. A Buddhist would say that the problem is not these but my desire(s), and I think that is true . . . but oh, for one moment of real stillness and real clarity . . .
Bruce Barnbaum wrote: "A meaningful photograph . . . does one of several things. It allows, or forces, the viewer to see something that he has looked at many times without really seeing; it shows him something he has never previously encountered; or, it raises questions--perhaps ambiguous or unanswerable--that create mysteries, doubts, or uncertainties. In other words, it expands our vision and our thoughts. It extends our horizons. It evokes awe, wonder, amusement, compassion, horror, or any of a thousand responses. It sheds new light on our world, raises questions about our world, or creates its own world."
A week from today I leave for my daughter's, the first time I've been out of the state since the accident a year ago! Remarkable amount of time for me not to travel. Meanwhile, the first real hurricane in the Atlantic is brewing and may come our way, just about when I leave. Oh, well . . . as Shunryu Suzuki tells us, "The true purpose (of Zen) is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes." Sound advice, if not so easy to follow.
I've been working on my collection of images, seeing if I could work up another book or portfolio, this time of black and white images. Here's one I found that seems rather calm and fits well with Suzuki's teaching. See things as they are, just as they are . . .
Last night, I had the sort of evening I find perfect: looking out my window, watching the white clouds in a blue sky gradually change to pale yellow then deeper yellow fading to pink and rose and purple as the sky grew darker and darker and planes flying out of Tampa became just spots of light against the sky--all the while listening to Sibelius' Second Symphony with its winds blowing and howling across the mountains and valleys and its telling of the peaks and valleys of our lives, ending in triumph where, as Faulkner put it, we shall not only survive but prevail. Grace filled evening!!
Meanwhile, since I've decided not to work in the field for a month, I've been reviewing my years of images and came across some of those from the Southwest US and its deserts with their own beauty and dangers. Here's one from McDonald's ranch near Phoenix in the Sonoran desert:
This image gives a good impression of what I find so remarkable about New Mexico: color, form and massiveness.
And here is a good description of two "levels" or maybe, better, "sorts" of experience, from Gerald May:
"On a winter evening I rest my back on the tree's great trunk and watch the sun set far across a mounded white snow meadow, ruby roundness settling steadily, behind darkening tree-bones in the distance, pink splashes through the western sky. For a long moment I am inside this particular sunset, rolling in it like a child in new hay. I am simply experiencing: I must be the experience, for it is all there is. Then self-awareness comes, recognizing the beauty and the bliss, wanting to prolong it, somehow to hold it forever, and I know that I am here, having this experience. The self-consciousness makes me feel just a little separate from the sky and the soft bark of the tree on my back and the sun now gone beyond the horizon. Now I am an observer, an experiencer, and this sunset has become something I am perceiving, an experience I'm having."
"Am I bored? I don't know the difference between being bored and just being, and I can't even wonder about it much. I smile. My mind still wants to figure things out, still feels it has to be up to something, but it just can't do it. Settle down, mind. My sweet, good working, diligent mind, rest a while. It's okay, really." Gerald May
No visible sunrise again today for what seems like n=infinity days. So, here's an "inside" image from the lobby of my building . . .