Friday, July 31, 2009

pages from the summer journal

yesterday reya opened another window onto the reyaverse.
this was in response to a meme that is floating in blogspace connected to handwriting.

here's a disclaimer up front.
my handwriting is in summer mode which means that it is scruffy and moving more from my fingers than my wrist. so what i have to share here has more to do with the place of vulnerability reya went to in sharing a page of her journal than in sharing exemplary sweetly formed handwriting.


the summer opens out big spaces and big time for me.

i need it.
the rest of my year is comprised of very tiny, very detailed spaces and time. in the big space of summer, i can breath and step back and see the little pieces as they form into what i am, what i am doing and most important of all - i get a sense of direction.

one part of this summer that i love is my journal. i try to place thirty minutes to one hour in the way of being available to it each day. some days there's not much . . . lots of dribbling. other days i'm really excited. on the 28th i was really aware of things going on around me, espcially those that had a quality of essence about them. on the 29th i was excited to get a book of poetry from harold budd the musician. in it there was a line that just spun me 'round and 'round.

so have a look.

here is the cover of my summer journal.
here is the little plate up close.

here are my journal tools all lined up and ready for another day's work.
here's my entry for july 28th just three days ago!!
(click on the image to reveal my revelations and singular experiences on that day!!)
and here's my entry for july 29th just a couple of days ago.
(same deal! click on the image to see what mattered to me on the 29th!)
here's the little drawing a little closer "your head swathed in stars" . . . here's one!
the rest of harold's book was very lovely.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

pillow cloud moon at dusk

the golden fish blog was a flurry of activity yesterday with all the excitement of inspiration wednesday.
i met so many people. smart, creative, cool incredible people. i learned so much!

thankyou to all of you for visiting and leaving your kind comments!!

in addition to responding to the many amazing and varied comments i received (and replied to), i continued with my "list of things that can only be done in the summer holidays that must not be left until it is too late."

progress was made with sorting through my clothes closet. it's an amazing place filled with heaps of prints that i have bought from really good young artists, stacks and stacks of end-of-the-year letters and cards from students and their parents, there are even clothes in there!

a "what's in your closet" meme could be ugly and fruitful. all sorts of frightful insightful soul-baring could come out of that!! hmmmmm.

many of the clothes in my closet have great memories (i mean i have great memories of them) - some of them even have a place in history - but apparently some of them embarass my kids.
i've never cared that much about being stylish except for a powerful stretch in grade 7 - 10
when it mattered almost as much as anything could.

when cool clothes equalled attention.

and "attention" was optimally provided by as many girls as possible.
which made it all so very very worthwhile.

both my kids are now in that age group and so they are being washed ashore and back out to the sea on waves of whims and wishes, not the least of which are to have cool and cool looking parents whose coolness almost matches their own incredible cool quotient.

nowadays i buy clothes and wear them to reflect my state of mind, my need for warmth or not, and my affection for the item. i love shopping, but i don't like trying clothes on. i see something, it hums for me, i check the tag to see if i can stand the pain, and if i can then it's up to the checkout, into a bag and it's off to the closet.

but eventually all these items reach that point of no return where there are no justifications big enough or truthful enough for my family. so a big bag of well-loved clothes will be headed back into the world for someone else to wear and perhaps cherish.

so that was my day.
after a day of rain and sun
the evening spread soft and pink against a deep blue sky

the moon floated on a pillow of clouds

clouds come from time to time -
and bring to men a chance to rest
from looking at the moon.


a peaceful day to everyone out there in blogland!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

inspiration wednesday

the weaver - self-described as; "a farmer's wife living on the eastern edge of the yorkshire dales with my husband and a young border terrier..." (and you know, she's so much more than that!!) proposed a theme wednesday based on who we are inspired by and why. it's a rich opportunity because unpacking the various areas of my life, i find several people inspire and inform my thinking, my aspirations, even to some degree my motivation.

my friends and certainly my family have each provided me with ample amounts of inspiration.

so the challenge for me in writing this piece was to find someone
whose inspiration appears in some way, shape or form across my life.

i'd have to say that the english musician robert fripp would be that person. in part because of his music, which often fills my home, but in a larger sense because of the way in which he has used his life.

a beautiful little town i visited almost a quarter century ago.

he received his first guitar as a christmas present when he was eleven years old.

despite being an extraordinarily gifted musician, he acknowledges that through the course of his life, he has needed to take a number of disadvantages and turn them into advantages. one small example of this can be found in robert's biography in which he mentions that he was tone deaf with no sense of rhythm when he started playing guitar. he is famously quoted when having disclosed this that "music so wishes to be heard that it sometimes calls on unlikely characters to give it voice."

his career as the one consistent element of the band king crimson, not to mention the various side-projects and individual efforts he has produced and or created have all been characterized by a distinctive perception of his role in being a player of music, a unique and often challenging sense of the role of the audience in the creation of music, and the understanding that when properly fulfilled, those roles could lead to the possibility that something extraordinary might take place. something beyond the people involved.

i admire him for his service to music as something far removed from the commercial culture in which it is currently mired. as he brings music into this world it is subject to the expectations of audiences, critics, and those people for whom music is a commodity, "a product", and not an expression of the creative force that binds this universe together. reconciling those disparate world-views has resulted in him spending an inordinate amount of time unpacking the financial abuse that he (as so many musicians) have experienced instead of allowing his music to flow unimpeded.

i respect him for taking his own spiritual essence and placing it in the way of affording common yobs like myself an opportunity to address the more salient concerns of our presence here in this unlikely place. from robert i have learned about a range of seekers and thinkers who have had an enormous impact on my own internal dialogue with which i engage the many worlds of which i am but a small part.

robert is extraordinarily well-read and a terrific writer. more recently he and his sister have shared public speaking platforms in which guise they provide people with a sense of direction in taking their own lives from whatever spot they are in and establishing a discipline from which can grow a deeper understanding of themselves in relation to their own aspirations. i admire him for sharing his own understanding with people who are perhaps looking for a sense of direction and possibly even purpose.

i'm not sure that i can be any more admiring of this person than i have been here, but his impact and effect on me as a human being has been pronounced and is ongoing. if you're intrigued by some of what i've shared and wish to know more then you should know that there's much been said about robert fripp. some of the stronger more useful pieces include zen and the art of fripp's guitar. an excellent book was written by my bloggy mate sid the smith (see my sidebar for a link to his excellent blog) up on the east coast of england entitled "in the court of king crimson" which is well worth sourcing out!!! eric tamm's book on robert (although fairly out of date) contains some compelling and informative perspectives and can be read for free online right here.

i'll end off with a beautiful grace that robert learned while he was in retreat with j.g. bennett in 1974.

all life is one and everything that lives is holy.

plants, animals and people all must eat to live and nourish one another.

we bless the life that has died to give us food.

let us eat consciously, resolving by our labors to pay the debt of our existence.

as a point of departure for reflection, i modify the last line to say;

"let me live consciously to resolve by my labor the debt of my existence."

the morning walk

lucky me! there's a lovely retired lady right behind the back of our property
who has planted a bed of stunning richness and complexity.
i bet she knows the names of all of her plants!!

so, after a quick look at the sky
i took a wander around the garden because i noticed that some of her plants were taking a peek to see what was on the other side.

oh hello!!
like all family portraits, there's usually one character that stands out.

another peak at the sky. hmmmm looks a little fuzzier than a few minutes ago

last summer i built a flower bed for my children that has become a nursery for thistles, daisies,
whatever wants to move in.
this plant is a star, it's above all the rest and it knows it!!!

hmmm how's that sky? oh boy, as i suspected!
well i'd better have a look out front and see what's new.

i love these little guys growing in such an improbable location
right out of the side of a boulder! amazing!
it feels like it's getting darker.

sure enough! it's another meeting of the way up there club!!!

i'd better head inside and make some coffee to go with my morning reading of katherine mansfield.

Monday, July 27, 2009

hymn to the moon

mary montague has an amazing life story. in some ways she was born out of time but in others it was probably a blessing that she brought her perspectives and "eccentricities" (as they were perceived then) to bear on a culture that needed to look at itself with a bit more of a critical eye.

the poem i'm sharing today is one of hers:

hymn to the moon

thou silver deity of secret night,
direct my footsteps through the woodland shade,
sir john everett millais dew drenched furze

thou conscious witness of unknown delight,
the lovers guardian, and the muse's aid.
by thy pale beams i solitary rove,
to thee my tender grief confide,
serenely sweet you gild the silent grove,
g. steinback

my friend, my goddess and my guide.
even thee fair queen from thy amazing height
the charms of young endimion drew,
veil'd with the mantle of concealing night,
with all thy greatness and thy coldness too . . .
"roundhay lake from castle" john atkinson grimshaw

to learn more about mary, then you might like to read this article which provides even more colourful and fascinating details about her life.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

morning peace

there's a lovely big sky today.
you wouldn't think that earlier this morning,
fog had drifted lazy gauze fingers over my face and bare arms
as i walked through the nearby woodlot.

close to the earth, this little flower is speckled with quicksilver fog droplets

the hostas really appreciated the evening rain

the queen anne's lace which has found a home in my garden (despite
being classed as a "weed"), is looking forward to another day

i noticed that the cedar mulch formed into a triangle after
saturday afternoon's rain

and on the back deck, "longtail" one of three little chipmunks
who spend time with us, is tucking into his breakfast

breakfast is a great idea but i've got a big bike ride so i'll eat later.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

yann arthus-bertrand

i see little pieces of this earth visually. the challenge is that the little loops and ecologies that i am a piece of are experientially and visually distinct from the larger pieces.

i can cerebralize my connection to the whole. even feel my connection to larger wholes but it is almost impossible to truly see the whole.

fortunately, shortcuts abound because there are people like yann arthus-bertrand who have gone to the literal ends of the earth to bring back images and sequences that i would otherwise have no idea about let alone access to.

visiting his website you will quickly become aware of the fact that he takes his presence and impact on this planet seriously. he also takes his photography seriously. there are images here that will leave you awestruck. not only that the content of the images exists, but that someone could capture something so extraordinary.

yann spoke at the ted talks back in february. he is an articulate, passionate, talented man. it is beautiful and mind-opening work. watch this - i hope that you will be as blown away as i was.

Friday, July 24, 2009

paul laffoley

paul laffoley's work is the nexus point of an extraordinary confluence of thought and craft and if you look really carefully you'll almost certainly find evidence of most of the academic and artistic disciplines symbolically embedded in its labyrinthine forms.

paul's approach to his work is based on extensive hand written journals in which he documents his research, diagrams, and various theoretical developments. he has organized his work into three sub-groupings: "operating systems, psychotronic devices and lucid dreams".

while inherently decorative in the way that artwork depicting technology can be, paul's work compels the viewer to dig deep below the surface to consider the reasoning behind the presence and juxtaposition of his work's many symbolic components. among other things, you'll notice that his work is organized in a format that is visually related to mandalas. as with mandalas, each piece is integrated into a whole, but carries its own symbolic weight.

it might not surprise you to learn that each canvas can take one to three years to paint and code.

take for example the orgone machine.
(click on the image to enlarge it)

paul very generously supplies background information, as well as a symbolic interpretation of the key element of the graphic.

to view more of his work, and to buy copies of his work then visit his page at the kent gallery.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

the woodlot

in the nearby woodlot are all sorts of trees, almost all deciduous. some of the older trees have developed really interesting shapes and quirky features that distinguish them from the rest of the woodlot. i love being in the woodlot alone. the plants and trees have a feeling about them.

here's one that has developed something of a little cup where i've seen squirrels and chipmunks come for a drink of the rainwater that gathers there. i expect that there used to be a branch growing out of this at one time and that somehow it broke off leaving this natural depression.

what's extra cool is that when you flip the image you see something of this tree-man's face!

i can't clearly articulate my love of trees. i appreciate them in all seasons . . .

for all sorts of reasons . . .

robert frost has a really lovely something to say about
a person's relationship with trees in his poem entitled "tree at my window". . .

tree at my window, window tree,
my sash is lowered when night comes on;
but let there never be curtain drawn
between you and me.
vague dream-head lifted out of the ground,
and thing next most diffuse to cloud,
not all your light tongues talking aloud
could be profound.
but tree, i have seen you taken and tossed,
and if you have seen me when i slept,
you have seen me when i was taken and swept
and all but lost.
that day she put our heads together,
fate had her imagination about her,
your head so much concerned with outer,
mine with inner, weather.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

fibonacci clouds

the mid-afternoon sky rose high into little pillow-down clouds.
the whorl of their organization made me think of the fibonacci sequence.

in the core of a daisy . . .
daisy courtesy jill britton

in the beautiful form of this pinecone . . .

and most especially in the nautilus shell, seen here as a cutaway . . .

to learn more about the brilliant mathematician fibonacci, you might enjoy reading this amazing interview.

mental blocks

parkour first crossed my experience when my oldest boy (whose on the isle of skye as i write) told me he was trying it out. parkour has no set of rules, it doesn't involve team work, and it's non-competitive unless you consider the very obvious element of competing against yourself which i think is at its core. parkour involves the movement of a person through a rural or urban setting in a manner that stitches together a series of fluid movements that allows at times for almost impossible moves and situations that you might consider a little out there.

i like it for the same reason i like watching bike couriers work the streets and alleys and sidewalks of a major city. it somehow bends the rectangles and the lines that form the face of a city and adds wrinkles, moebius strips, loops, bends, twists and most importantly, softens the lines of the cities' face.

here's something of the philosophy of parkour:
"to understand the philosophy of parkour takes quite a while, because you have to get used to it first. while you still have to try to actually do the movements, you will not feel much about the philosophy. but when you're able to move in your own way, then you start to see how parkour changes other things in your life; and you approach problems — for example in your job — differently, because you have been trained to overcome obstacles. this sudden realization comes at a different time to different people: some get it very early, some get it very late. you can't really say 'it takes two months to realize what parkour is'. so, now, i don't say 'i do parkour', but 'i live parkour', because its philosophy has become my life, my way to do everything."
andreas kaltei

in the film i'd like to share with you today, director karen palmer captures something of the essence of this as she films parkourist ali shelton working his way through an extraordinary mental and physical challenge.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


far away to the west, the clouds are playing catch.

throwing little clouds way up in the air!

maybe you're one of the lucky ones ...

over on luke's blog, words that remind me that this isn't just entertainment . . . .

“advice? i don’t have advice. stop aspiring and start writing. if you’re writing, you’re a writer. write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. write like you have a message from the king. or don’t. who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”

- alan watts

Monday, July 20, 2009

i liked its quiet innocence

in the sky above - clouds have filled the early-morning blue sky with their afternoon fluffiness - welcome back clouds, i wondered where you'd gone!
in the cool afternoon breezes, the clouds scatter and smear like oil on the water of the pool . . .
the wild grasses that live in the river pebble bed are happy to get sun and rain . . .
the very first lily appeared today . . . hello . . . you're beautiful . . . .
beauty always draws me closer . . .
but it was this soft little flower's presence that drew me away from the pool with its tall wild grasses, smeary clouds, and orange beauty into a little uncultivated area that i have saved for the fairies . . .
i liked its quiet innocence . . . .

(click on the images to fill your screen with beauty of all kinds!)