Merton: "the sparks of truth, small, recurring flashes of a reality that is beyond doubt, momentarily appearing, leading me further on my way. Things that need no explanation and perhaps have none, but which say: 'Here! This way!'"
In the early 20th century, Alfred Stieglitz did a series of photographs of clouds that he called "Equivalents." Yesterday I watched these clouds form and reform and was reminded of Stieglitz's photographs: I don't think of this image so much as an "equivalent" (whatever he may have meant by that) but just as patterns of light and color that attract attention and then set the mind on a course of reflection. And I was reminded then too of Merton's remarks above.
A couple of quotes I've used before, but it seems appropriate to remind us of them:
"Accepting what is--for what it is--is the place to start." Belden Lane
"One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are." Minor White
Fog changes everything
It plays with what it will allow us to see
Things disappear into it
Until all is covered in the unseeable
though still sometimes hinted at
Then some things begin to reappear
only to disappear again
The determinate dissolves into the indeterminate
Fog fascinates and disturbs--pleasing and frightening
Revealing and concealing all at once CN
We have received a mere shadow of what the Northeast is suffering: yesterday brief hard rain and wind, this morning so far only heavy winds. As I sat watching the trees moving in the wind this morning, bending fast and far back and forth, side to side, in nearly constant motion, it struck me how much they reminded me of my mind when I sit in meditation. Always in motion, blown here and there: six years I have meditated nearly every day and still, back and forth, side to side . . .
In much of my reading about photography (and about photography as a form of meditation), I am struck by how often photographers see mountains as (the best?) meditative subjects. But that's not so true for me, perhaps because I have less familiarity with them. Deserts and water--sea or lake or river--are more helpful to me. I find that moments of stillness are most likely to occur in those places--as in the following image:
Thomas Merton: "the work of art is to be seen--not imagined, worked over intellectually . . . Central is the experience of seeing."
It occurred to me (in the middle of the night) that a good response to the current politics-speak was the following poem:
"'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe . . .
Beware the Jabberwocky, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The furious Bandersnatch! . . .
He took his vorpal sword in hand . . .
One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back . . .
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'" Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
Alice says in response that this seems to fill her head with ideas; she just doesn't know exactly what they are. I think that the language of the poem is a lot like our politics-speak, which also seems meant to fill our heads with ideas, but those ideas upon careful examination also don't make much sense.
Ah well, meanwhile, have a frabjous day!
Thomas Merton: "The taste for Zen in the West is in part a healthy reaction of people exasperated with the heritage of four centuries of Cartesianism: the reification of concepts, idolization of the reflexive consciousness, flight from being into verbalism, mathematics, and rationalization. Descartes made a fetish out of the mirror in which the self finds itself. Zen shatters it."
And as a corrective to human hubris, again from Merton: "A Zen line in Job: 'Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars?' (39:26)"
Tampa Bay gets lots of snow(y) bird visitors in winter: these are white pelicans that are only here in winter.