Friday, August 28, 2009


We've had an unbelievably rainy summer this year. It's raining again today in fact. I don't mind it. But I have to say, it does make the sunny days stand out as bright and special. Yesterday I was in New York with my daughter visiting a friend of a friend who is an architect for a huge realty firm. We were at the top of one of the city's fabulous towers with tremendous 360 degree views and the gorgeous day made it even more spectacular. We had lunch in one of the city's airy atriums. Then of course we went shopping. Small stores and my favorite -- Macy's. It was a memorable day.

Coming home, I went over to the lake to capture the light that was so gorgeous and I take back everything I've said about end-of-August muckiness. There were gorgeous views everywhere and so now instead of seeing the overgrowth, I see abundance. For me, I realize that a bright perspective leads to positive thinking and expansive interpretations of events. Then, because everything's cylical we come right back to perspective. Brightness influences a cyclical upward perspective spiral that leads to seeing abundance rather than disorganized mess, and challenging situations become beginnings or opportunity doors rather than endings or dead-end walls.

More simply, the day was beautiful, and here are some lake photos that are bright reminders of what is really always around us.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I have to comment on my last posting on being outstanding. I woke up in the morning determined to identify what's been bugging me; wrote the Outstanding post; then stopped at the lake on the way to work to find my 'outstanding' photo. Guess what? No photo available, really none that I could see. However, I had an outstanding conversation with a gentleman I talk to at the lake once in awhile, one of my fellow lake-observer-photographers, and he told me if I had been 10 minutes earlier I would have had some spectacular shots of the swans in the lily pads. So the conversation was outstanding but no photos.

I stopped back between work and home, and I could see some shots, but my battery was dead. I took the ones that I posted here and in "Outstanding" by shutting the camera off and on and snapping quickly with the last of the juice. I couldn't double-ck the settings though, and while I thought I was shooting in 'chrome' for saturated color, I really had it on black and white. I think these photos would have been great in color, so I was disappointed that they were grayscale, but, I'm posting them anyway, because they are interesting to me anyway.

I believe though, that since I couldn't find that 'oustanding' photo I was looking for, there is a further part of this message I'm meant to see. I believe that it is that you have to really be prepared to be outstanding. I needed to show up on time in the morning and make sure I charge my camera battery. My accidental black and white studies are interesting gifts to have received, but there's a balance between execution and planning that deserves attention.

So I can't say that I find any of these black and white's outstanding, but I have to give it time. I thought the photo that I took of the brown edges of the lake was ugly, but now it's one of my favorites, and I have another from that day as the desktop background of my computer. So, I'm going to plan better, but I'm open to the idea of receiving my best execution in any circumstance.


I've recognized the idea that was struggling to come to the surface. Though the entire lake is often a breathtaking vista, there are seasons, cycles, occassions where some areas of it are not. While I have some obligation as a citizen of this town to make sure that we pay attention to maintenance, upkeep and improvement, I don't have to focus on the things that are wrong. I can acknowledge the condition, but spend more time with what is pleasing to me. Maybe it's a type of natural selection. What you pay attention to becomes your reality. Thoughts become things. It's OK to focus on the outstanding.

That sentence is a paraphrase of one of my father's favorite life lessons: "It's OK to be outstanding." He meant a lot of different things by that, and I thought I knew what he meant, but I was always uncomfortable because I wondered what happened if you weren't outstanding. The thing is, by definition, you can always be outstanding. He did not say be perfect, he did not say make sure others recognize you're outstanding, he said be outstanding. And that can be accomplished every day, and you can recognize it in others every day. So here are today's postings of what I found to be outstanding aspects of Pompton Lake on August 25, 2009. And thanks Dad.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The lake is just cycling through the seasons. It was really unfair to call it less than beautiful in my last post. I just prefer less gunk at the edges, but that's a preference, not a fact. There is a very moist, green-lavender-brown-tinge of gold that reflects the weather we've had the past few months. The edges are trimmed back, but they're pruned not broken, and everything will be healthier and cleaner because of it. We're just cycling through another season together. And it has an overripe beauty of its own.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I don't like edges and I don't know why. They're sharp, and that seems dangerous. They define separation and I'm more comfortable with continuity. They are finite and I like to think about the infinite. And yet there they are, everywhere.

I've been focusing on the weeds that grow by the lake, first to think about the ground to stabilize my vertigo, and then to consider beauty in something that many find a nuisance. But now, the town has cut them all back. They are no longer a transitional wide sort of gradual entrance to the lake. They are now chopped and brown. They have edges. They are the edge. Even my stretches of imagination can't make them beautiful.

I can walk around to other parts of the lake and find frame-able, pretty scenes, but at the spot that I've been examining, there is just a brown edge. And it's been so rainy and hot that the lake also has overgrowth that's pretty ugly. I look back at earlier lake photos I've posted here, and really, they're prettier. So, I've found that when ideas like this nag at me, there's some message I need to hear, and usually through blogging here, I can find it.

Not this time though. I think I'd be forcing the issue if I take a guess right now, so I'm posting the concept and we'll see what develops in the followups.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Once again we met and painted and gabbed. My drawing contribution is at the end here because I didn't finish. However, in my own defense, I arrived two hours late. We talk and eat before we paint (and during too I'd have to say) but I didn't get the necessary amount of talk in before drawing, so I was a chatterbox and not an artist. But, the perfection of this day for me, was just being present, though I believe I did get some great photographs. (To be posted at a later date.)


Using landscapes and nature to explore connnections and contemplate how life works is an intellectual tradition, I'd say particularly in America. (Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, and more...) but I'd like to reverse that approach at the moment. I'd like to look to contemplate light and nature by thinking about life lived together over time. The friendscapes below include my closest friends, all of whom I've known for thirty years or very close to that.

The garden scape is about three of us who grew up with each other in high school and beyond. The city steps are from another paint party with my friends from college and my early career. We're now 50 and being together anywhere incorporates the richness of our entire life. Our history is our friendscape. It's a place we create together. And just as the whitespace or open space of any composition contributes to the whole, the things that we don't say or don't have to say, or see or don't have to see, or choose not to see or say, imbue the moment with a light that you may be able to catch in these photos.