Friday, July 24, 2009

Laws and Weeds

"Behind us, as we go, all things assume pleasing forms, as clouds do far off. not only things familiar and stale, but even the weed at the water-side, the old house, the foolish person, -- however neglected in the passing, -- have a grace in the past." (from Ralph Waldo Emerson's Spiritual Laws)

My father and I were discussing laws this morning. The definition of a scientific law is that it
generalizes a body of observation. I'd say the same is true of Emerson's Spiritual Laws.

And that explains why humans are drawn to observe and draw conclusions. Ma
ybe the calming feeling that comes from observing nature is an instinct that has developed in humans to point us to the richness of everyday life. Today's contribution from me is my latest collection of weed-by-the-water-side photos.

I like the idea that all things assume pleasing forms. I have always believed that, and so I can be distracted on occasion by anything, because it is all workable, all good, all a pleasing form.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stay the Course then Leap

So here's how staying the course brings success and surprise. I saw the lake and log in the sunshine on the way home from work, but because of dinner prep and other necessities, I didn't get out and get the shots. However, my daughter was cooking and we had a 10 min wait where I had an opening and I decided that even though the light wasn't good, I'd head out and see what I could find. Stay the course, visit the lake for inspiration even in non-ideal circumstances. I went and sure enough, there was nothing, nothing, on the log. But, I stopped anyway to 'stay the course.' By instinct and informed experience, I walked over to the frog bog sure that I'd catch one (figuratively, I would never touch a frog!) and I did. There's a picture of it's little head (though big for a frog) sticking out above, and a video of it jumping away below.

I then walked around to see what else inspired me and I took the first two shots above. The top one is a weed, but I think it's really interesting and the other is the frog bog framing the log. These are the stay the course photos.

But the frog photo and video proved to me that staying the course, is the best path to the mystery, the spontaneity, the experience and finally--the leap.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Staying the Course

Staying the Course. How do you know what the course is though? There are so many different paths to take and so many ways to accomplish goals. I have a very tough time staying the course. I believe it's the best way to move forward, however, I love a mystery. I love the thrill of discovering something new. I love following a new path, a new lead. I love being lost and surprised and thrilled at unexpected encounters. I think that this is what has made me successful in the ways I want to be, and at the same time, it's the characteristic that shoots me in the foot right when I'm about to really soar. I've been trying to write about this subject for awhile. In fact, I've been going to the lake for inspiration on this and looking for signs from the universe, and I have not been able to grasp it until today. This quote from Henry Miller came in my email:
"All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience."
-– Henry Miller
sent from a newsletter: Today's Inspiration
This rings completely true to my heart, and completely false to my brain. As I spend a little time with it I realize why. Yes, all growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous act. But, it can be premeditated, it can be thought out in great detail, and it always benefits from experience. It just may seem like the pieces don't connect, before the leap is taken.

I took the photo above of prints, I think they are geese and maybe ducks. There could be some frogs. I think of this location as the frog bog entrance to the log, the framed views that I've posted here with the iris reeds in front are taken from standing here. When I saw the prints, I thought that this was the perfect illustration for my 's
taying the course' post, but I didn't know why. Now I do. It's because it embodies the course, the mystery, the spontaneity, the experience that embeds itself in a being, and the leap.

The Course: These webbed-footed creatures were going somewhere, one foot in front of the other.
The Mystery: Who were they, and why do t
hose big prints stop? Did they fly away? Jump to the lake? Fly back?
The Spontaneity: Did they know where they were going? Even if they did, we don't. Did they just wander in and say, hey, this looks like a good place to hang?
The Experience: The geese have likely been to lak
es before, if not this exact location and so they know it's a place with conditions that work for them.
The Leap: They're not there anymore. They lept.

We've been traveling the last week or so for a variety of reasons, and all those deviations from my course have turned out to actually be the course.

Friends 50

I began this blog with a Friends post after a weekend spent with my close friends and their husbands (we met in high school and spent the rest of our lives together). There are four of us from that time, and three of us live an hour or so apart, one is in Florida. All of the northern contingent are now 50, and we celebrated the third "50th" last weekend in the birthday girl's magnificiently landscaped backyard. It would have been beautiful anyway, but after a month of rain to have the sun and all the flowers and view of "nuttin' but trees"* and my friends from forever, it was really a great day.

Butterflies were a recurring theme, as was purple and yellow, and just plain expansiveness. I felt like we were in an English garden.

*I cannot explain the "nuttin' but trees" phrase publicly, because, it would give away one of our husband's long-time dream of a business, but no gathering of all of us is complete without mentioning "nuttin but...something" a few times, so it had to go here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Framing 2

You'll find over the course of these blog postings, that I have repeated certain titles and just put a 2 after them. That's either because I'm not through exploring the idea that inspired the first post, or the universe keeps handing me that same message and so I have to go back to it again because there's something for me there. This time, my daughter was channeling the universe's message about framing. She's studying environmental science and land use management for two weeks at governor's school (we are proud of her!) and when we were hiking through the pine barrens yesterday, she told me that one of her guest lecturers was a nature photographer who told them (among other things) to frame their photos with something in nature. And what a coincidence, my last two posts were about framing and foreground. I've been considering the ground to help with my vertigo. The framing concept ties together my love of castles in the air with my newly found appreciation of the ground. Framing anchors your subject and gives your photo focus. The frame creates a "ground". The frame defines your viewpoint. So you have to choose your frame and your subject carefully. Sometimes you're given the subject, so you choose the frame. Sometimes you find them together. I intend to explore this further, but I'm suspecting that it's the less frequent occurrence that you create a frame and use that to find your subject.

So, to be less theoretical about it. Here are some examples of what I mean. The photo above is a cormorant on my lake log with turtles, framed by the wild irises on the bank. Below, I have the cormorant drying it's wings and then the turtle that took the cormorant's place when she dove away. They were the subject, that's the story, but the framed photo draws you in, and if I had to choose one, that's the one I'd choose to tell the complete story at once.

And here are three other examples of framing, featuring my little girl and a little frog that her father caught for her. The subject is the frog, but the framing describes different stories.
  1. frog in her hand, she's the story, you see the hand first, the story is my daughter holding a frog
  2. cute frog is the story, the hand is the frame, the frog is the focus, this puts us more in the woods checking out nature, and is less about our daughter
  3. if you can find the frog, this shows how camoflauged the frog can be, and reminds me how deftly she can hear the frogs and catch them (though this time she asked her father to do it.)
To me the best photo is technically number 2. Clear subject, clear frame. I'm taking that as the message of the day. I'm going to frame my projects carefully and clearly so the story is complete in one pass and easy to grasp if you're interested.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


There is a cormorant, there are ducks, turtles and a swan, but the humble ground is lit by the setting sun here, and it garnered my attention. However, that caused me to only see out of the corner of my eye when the cormorant dove into the water. It swam so far under water! It' really surprising. Then it flew away. They are such unusual travelers--diving, swimming and flying. But today's post belongs to the foreground. My experience today in life was about paying attention to the basics for stability too.


Monday I visited the lake morning and evening and there was sun!! If you had been living in the Northeast US during June, you would be thrilled to see the sun too. My vertigo episode is fading and I'm back to driving, but I'm still thinking about grounding.
Here's the lake in the morning
Followed by the lake in the evening.

I tried to frame the lake-log with the ground material.