Richard Rohr: "If you watch your mind, you will see you live most of your life in the past or in the future. The present always seems boring and not enough. So, to get yourself engaged you will often 'create a problem' to resolve, and then another, and another. The only way many people know how to motivate themselves is to create problems or to need to 'fix' something.
If you can't be positively present right now, without creating a problem, nothing new is ever going to happen to you. You will only experience what you already agree with and what does not threaten you—and you will never experience the unexpected depth and contentment that is always being offered to you . . . No problem to solve; just an immediate intimacy to enjoy"
"What I believe, what I value most, is transitoriness. But is not transitoriness—the perishableness of life—something very sad? No! It is the very soul of existence. It imparts value, dignity, interest to life." Thomas Merton
Scott County, Missouri, again, this time sunset
This morning I came across the following, written by Quentin Bajac for a Museum of Modern Art show, "Stephen Shore/Solving Pictures."
"There are no heroics in Shore's images, but rather a poetics of the ordinary and the everyday . . . echoing Walker Evans' desire to reveal the 'deep beauty in things as they are.' His approach can be tied to a long American tradition of elevating the simple and commonplace . . . to a certain poetry and a way of life, from Ralph Waldo Emerson writing that I 'embrace the common, I explore and sit at the feet of the familiar, the low,' to Walt Whitman championing 'a perfectly transparent, plate-glassy style, artless,' characterized by 'clearnesss, simplicity, no twistified or foggy sentences.'"
Reading that led to my realizing a certain similarity between my writing and my making of images. I quoted here recently Twain's "eschew surplusage" and Jefferson's "never use two words when one will do" and I tried to follow those recommendations in my writing. It may be that my writing expereiece is why when I turned to making images I came to admire Shore's work— it resonates quickly and intuitively with what I seek in both my writing with ink and with light.
In some of his early work, the photographer Robert Adams formed images of the Great Plains near Denver—vast, empty appearing surfaces of plain stretching out as far as the eye can see. They are to my eye puzzles—why focus on attention on such apparent emptiness? But when I am at my daughter's in Missouri, I am struck by the flatness, the ever onward stretching out of the farmland, again as far as the eye can see, and I begin to understand better what Adams was showing us. Trees, in their wintery naked forms, stand out in the middle of the flatness, sometimes solitary, sometimes in a row, emphasizing to the eye that stretching out of the flat surface. It encourages and supports a meditative stance—paying attention. Old houses, falling barns, tilled fields all begin to reveal themselves just as they are, in their suchness.
Belden Lane, backpacking in southern Missouri, wrote: "The world is full of natural wonders that we notice only when we take time to attend to details. We marvel at how mockingbirds delight in hopping and wing-flashing on the top of a dead tree, how the leaves of an aspen tee flutter in the least bit of wind, how the cracks in the bark of a ponderosa pines smell of butterscotch pudding, how flying hawks use their shadow in hunting mice (the fear of their passing sillhouette causes the rodents to run in panic). The world on the edge of our awareness wants to fill us with amazement."
Sunrise, Scott County, Missouri
I have returned after a week away.
The following reflections come from Belden Lane:
"'In the point of rest at the center of our being,' says Hammerskjold, 'we encounter a world where all things are at rest . . . Then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud of revelation.' But we won't arrive there so long as we have to label every cloud as altocumulus or cirrostratus, every tree as deciduous broadleaf or evergreen conifer. Our primary task is to be present to whatever is there before us. We don't have to pigeonhole it in our minds . . ."
Light, earth, water, air
We are all of these and through them
are connected to everything that is
I am going to be out of town for a week or so, so this is the last post for awhile. See you when I get back!
Belden Lane: "What I seek most in going into wilderness is not exercise or escape, but a physical and spiritual depth of intimacy. I'm moved by nature's power and beauty, but what sets me afire is the longing I sense there of everything else wanting to connect, the desire for an intimacy that is as alluring as it is frightening . . . The highly sensory way of 'knowing' that wilderness requires is the most natural and meaningful way I have of experiencing anything holy,"