Emptiness

When I was very young I lived with my family on the shores of a vast salt lake.  We moved to the city when I was four  – the country was left behind and never revisited.   My childhood memories are of suburban streets and holidays on the beach.    The inland lake and the flat plains surrounding it became a mythic land I visited only in dreams.

illusionReturning to the lake shore now, all these decades later, my eyes are stretched into a haze of blue.   Is this what I saw as a baby?   Did my infant eyes attempt to focus on the horizon only to drift into illusory realms where nothing is quite as it seems?   Did this vision of infinite possibilities, probabilities and improbabilities influence my approach to life? – the landscape as a Buddhist primer for babies.

prompt – https://pixtowords.com/2017/04/23/emptiness-pic-and-a-word-challenge-84/

(elements of this post appeared on my old blog “Art and Life” is a different format)

Wanderlust

Just the other day I had a bout of Wanderlust.   As I couldn’t fly off to an exotic locale at that moment I drove across town to Thunder Point.

Up at the point I walked through the scrub for a bit 2017-04-22 12.11.14-02

then took the rocky track down to the cliff tops.  2017-04-22 12.12.59-01

There I picked my way along uneven ground.  My eyes drank in the subtle variations of colour in the rocks and vegetation.

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My ears were filled with the sound of sea gnawing at the base of the cliffs below me-

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On my lips I tasted the salt tang on the air as it blew in from the Southern Ocean.

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My senses were on high alert.   Any mis-step here and I could fall to my death.

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Up ahead I saw the shell scatter of an ancient aboriginal midden.   There is evidence that they have lived along this coast for 35,000 years or more.

2017-04-22 12.27.51-01 (1) I skirted round the edges –

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2017-04-22 12.26.59-01 – then on past the next headland.  The colours of the rocks changed again – I had reached my destination – Shelly Beach –

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A short walk along the shore led me to the next cove where fossilized tree trunks and roots appeared to hold up the cliff.

Higher up on the cliff face the stratified layers of geological time were revealed –

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Later as I walked back to my car I saw intrepid fisherfolk perched on the cliff edge.   They were braver than me to walk so close to the edge.

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Once I got back to my car I only had to drive for a few minutes to get back to my house. Although I’d only been away for a couple of hours I felt like I’d journeyed back into pre-history.

 (When I uploaded the photos to my computer I wished I’d taken the images with a camera rather than my old phone.   Hopefully I will be able to buy one before the next bout of Wanderlust hits. As soon as I get one I’ll be back down to Shelly Beach to take more shots.)

prompt –  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/wanderlust/

Which Way?

I think I’m beginning to get a sense of direction with this blog.   There are two or three more old posts I want to salvage from “Art and Life” but I think most of the content from here on will be new stuff.   I’m intrigued with the idea of creating photo collages and photo poems so I’m thinking I’ll concentrate on that for a while.

prompt – https://ceenphotography.com/2017/04/28/cees-which-way-photo-challenge-april-28-2017/      –     Outdoor walks:  sidewalks, paths, trails

 

Into the Mythic

All week long my neighbourhood has reverberated with the sound of chain saws as my neighbours cut down trees for no apparent reason.  It feels like the perfect time to reblog this story I wrote a few years ago.   I made concertina book in the photos at the end of the story around the same time.  

After wandering through the woods for quite some time Mirabelle was relieved to stumble upon a gypsy caravan.   ‘Of course it’s a gypsy caravan, what else could it be?’ she muttered to herself. ‘This whole experience of being lost and alone in these deep, dark woods is totally archetypal. I am convinced I have strayed into the realms of the mythic and the mystic.’

‘That’s exactly right dear. That’s where you are,’ said a round faced woman poking her head out the caravan door. ‘It’s time you learned to trust your intuition.’

‘My intuition? I don’t think it’s working. I’m looking for my way home but I can’t seem to find it,’ said Mirabelle.

‘That’s because you are meant to come here first and have your Tarot Reading,’ the gypsy woman said with a knowing smile.

‘I don’t think so. I don’t believe in all that mumbo jumbo.’ Mirabelle was very clear on this. How could little pictures on pieces of cardboard possibly have anything to say to her. She believed in a rational, objective approach to life.

‘Just as you like dear. It matters not to me. I can read the tea leaves or even the autumn leaves if you prefer – the I Ching or the lay of the land. The point is you will not find your way home without some metaphysical guidance. As you said yourself, you have entered the realms of the mythic.’

‘Read the lay of the land then,’ Mirabelle said with a note of challenge in her voice. ‘I’ve been walking through these woods for quite some time now and I’ve noticed there is something amiss here. Things don’t seem quite right.’

‘You are very perceptive my dear, you really must learn to trust that,’ the gypsy woman said  conversationally as she climbed down from the caravan and joined Mirabelle on the path. ‘Come, let us walk. The lay of the land will guide our footsteps.’

Setting off at a brisk pace the gypsy woman led Mirabelle down a winding trail. As they walked birds sung in the trees, butterflies flittered past and the golden rays of sunlight piercing the tree canopy illuminated their way. After a time they came to a natural clearing where a small spring bubbled up between round rocks. The woman took a seat on a carved stone bench nearby.  Mirabelle sat down beside her. From here she could see straight through a gap in the trees to the open land beyond – a wasteland of withered thorn bushes and dreary expanses of grey grass. A chill wind moaned as it whipped over the land and Mirabelle shivered involuntarily. jordan and london 303

‘As you can see from the lay of land, things are definitely not right around here and haven’t been for some time,’ said the gypsy woman. She looked deep into Mirabelle’s eyes as if searching for some gleam of understanding. Mirabelle returned the look. The woman’s eyes were a soft deep brown flecked with specks of mossy green. ‘Like pools of  water in the forest,’ Mirabelle thought as she travelled deeper into the mythic.

The woman’s voice came to her as if from a great distance. Murmuring like a forest stream the voice told stories of ancient times when faerie folk danced across the clearing and elves sang sweet melodies in the trees. After an eon this was replaced by another reality where tall beings clad in white moved among the trees holding ceremony and murmuring incantations. Then, like the clarion call from the devil’s trumpet, came the Iron Age – the Kali Yuga – the times of war and mayhem. Blood lay thick upon the ground as the wounded moaned and  death wraiths streaked  across the desolate plains.

Mirabelle cringed as men felled the trees and mined the earth to find the raw materials to build their weapons of war. As the battle cries and the whine of machinery intensified she broke free from the woman’s gaze.

‘What are you doing to me,’ she whimpered. ‘I know nothing of these things. They are not the world I walk in. I just want to get home to my family.’

‘Perhaps it is that we have all lived many lifetimes and been many things,’ the woman replied. ‘Perhaps it is that these memories are encoded in our DNA. We are all involved on some level or another.’

Mirabelle nodded. ‘I’m doing what I can to live a better life,’ she said earnestly, ‘but I’m just an ordinary person living an ordinary life. All I can do is can change my part of the world. I am endeavouring to live more sustainably and I am working on my consciousness.’

The gypsy woman remained silent as Mirabelle looked out across the wasteland. Here and there she noticed new life burst forth amidst the weeds. The new growth looked puny against the vastness of the devastated space. ‘It just doesn’t seem to be enough,’ she said forlornly.

Still the woman said nothing but instead, rummaged through a cloth bag slung over her shoulder. She pulled down out a tattered manuscript and passed it over. Opening it Mirabelle saw it was an illustrated map engraved with strange directions. Bemused she glanced to where the woman had sat only to discover she had disappeared. For a moment she looked out to open land and noticed that although the new growth was small, it was vibrant and healthy. Returning her eyes to the map she read the directions – perhaps they would lead her home.

Look for beauty
Use discernment – question everything
Create our own path
Be courageous but harm none
Seek freedom012

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Lines of flight

Looking through the archives of ‘Art and Life’ for a poem I know is hiding there somewhere I came across this one.  All week in this neighbourhood my eyes have been reverberating with the sound of ride on lawn movers, chain saws, hedge trimmers and brush cutters  – the burbs in Oz!     Today seems like as a good as any to reblog this …

… A line of flight (French: ligne de fuite) is a concept developed by Gilles Deleuze and used extensively in his work with Félix Guattari. Translator Brian Massumi notes that in French, “Fuite covers not only the act of fleeing or eluding but also flowing, leaking, and disappearing into the distance (the vanishing point in a painting is a point de fuite). It has no relation to flying.”[1]     Wikipedia – line of flight

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   Sometimes I long to follow

       a personally delineated line of flight.

       Not so much flying out of sight

               but disappearing beyond the vanishing point

       to a destination yet to be defined.

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Grey

DSCN0486   Walking alone by the lake I see the grey heron standing so perfectly still my heart either leaps in joy or stops for an instant, I am not sure which.

from – http://www.whats-your-sign.com/meaning-of-the-heron.html

The meaning of the heron deals with being comfortable in spaces that are neither here, nor there. It prefers hunting at twilight, which is a symbolic and magical time of ‘in-between’. The heron will have one foot on land, and one foot in the water – this action has been recognized by ancient cultures as a sign of liminality – of crossing into the a space that is neither here, nor there.

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So often these days I feel like I am floating between one reality and another.   Out in the world I see the busy people rushing about.  Sometimes I rush too and get caught up in the worries and the fears.  The grey streets, the grey faces, the wind like a torrent of grey air sweeping down from grey sky –

I turn away then and walk alone beneath trees.  I see the way the branches stretch out against the dove grey sky and the leaves hang in slate grey ikebana arrangements of exquisite understated beauty.

This morning on the radio I heard a song I didn’t know.  “The soul got out of the memory box,” the woman sung.   “Ah that explains it,” I thought.   “My soul’s gotten out of the memory box and beats now in synch with my heart.   I am neither here nor there but somewhere in between.”

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prompt – https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/gray/