"Aristotle says the soul never thinks without an image. Giordano Bruno, following, says to think is to speculate with images. A view turns out to be a view of a view, as though reality had been caught unawares, half naked. 'Speculate': for the first time I notice there's a mirror in the word."
John Berger: "It is within [the] natural context that beauty is encountered, and the encounter is by its nature sudden and unpredictable. The gale blows itself out, the sea changes from the colour of grey shit to aquamarine. Under the fallen boulders of an avalanche a flower crowns. Over the shanty town the moon rises . . . However it is encountered, beauty is always an exception, always in despite of. This is why it moves us . . . we live in a world of suffering in which evil is rampant, a world whose events do not confirm our Being . . . It is in this situation that the aesthetic moment offers hope. That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful means that we are less alone, that we are more deeply inserted into existence than the course of a single life would lead us to believe . . . For an instant, the energy of one's perception becomes inseparable from the energy of the creation."
Honeymoon Island, Study 1
"We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from."
Spring: I'm bored with (everything?) my photographs, with the whole process. Of course, everyone has periods of lethargy and loss of motivation and satisfaction (down times, they're called). So all I can offer for today is this imperfect image—which reminds me of "Flower in a crannied wall . . ."—but not with the rest: "I pluck you out . . ."—no! let it be!
In 1959, Thomas Merton wrote:
"We should all feel near to despair in some sense because this semi-despair is the normal form taken by hope in a time like ours. Hope without any sensible or tangible evidence on which to rest. Hope in spite of the sickness that fills us. Hope married to a firm refusal to accept any palliatives or anything that cheats hope by pretending to relieve apparent despair."
The more things change, the more they are the same. But, the other day I went down to Gulfport just to see what I could see. It's a funky little town which preserves some sense of what is possible, even in the face of despair. No high rises, no tearing down the old to build McMansions, lots of charm still. And I find some evidence in such a place for a sensible hope that is not just a palliative to cover over or deaden our despair—there are some people who do still value something other than getting and spending, but persist in just being . . .
Rainer Maria Rilke:
Threshold of Spring
Harshness gone. All at once caring spreads
the naked gray of the meadows.
Tiny rivulets sing in different voices.
A softness, as if from everywhere,
is touching the earth.
Paths appear across the land and beckon.
Surprised once again you sense
its coming in the empty tree.
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This sounds to me like what Lao-Tse wrote: "In the pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped."
(I think that second assertion is intended to contrast the pursuit of wisdom with the acquisition of knowledge.)