Still Delighting at the Taste of Wild Blackberries

August

“When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.”

–Mary Oliver

Morning Trip (108)

“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”
– Albert Camus
Notebooks, 1951-1959
Soaked In Soul

An Excellent Photo Shoot, A Broken Camera, and A Teeny Tiny Back-up Camera!

Oh. I got up this morning, feeling more physically and mentally able. This was good. I was in the car by 7:00 a.m. I was not even thinking (ok so I was) about not stopping to pray. The object this morning was the light that I wanted on the fields in the center of the Tree Place. An hour of sensory-filled shooting. Ignoring a common malfunction of the camera. Suddenly, a new glitch. I frowned at it, couldn’t get it to go off, so, I pulled out the battery pack to reset it per usual. The camera didn’t tell me no. I took some more shots the ‘normal’ way and then the odd error again. Ut oh! I thought to take out the smaller camera, the one that has served me ever so faithfully and well since 2006. I grabbed a few shots with it and noted it’s own increasing set of malfunctions. I just smiled at it. It was a camera known for the board going in the first six months, mine was only doing it now. I did have a wince of panic at the possibility of losing both cameras at once. Well, I can’t change it. The large camera was just handed over to me, so I’m not out anything but my method of talking back to my Muse. I’ll patiently await discovery of what might ail it. Off to Walmart to see if a simple set of new batteries might take care of the problem. The larger camera didn’t put one file onto the card, not even when the top stated that it was functioning. I did get a few shots from the smaller. It was, and still is, a very pretty morning here. I’m really glad to have had the urge matched with ability to get there.

Notations from The Gentle Art of Tramping by Stephen Graham

What I thought, when I’d only reached page four of the text, might leave me for a shitty distasteful feeling that I would wish to scrub from my mind and body as one would a rape–should I continue to read. I took a great amount of time, even in my sleep, considering the context of this book, that had a copy date of 1926. I decided to be amazed to wonder over how the writer thought and how much I will never know if he wrote with the view and influence of humans present in his social grouping at the time. I wonder, even, if he might have been considered a rogue, bluntly writing as he willed his hand to do.

“…They learn little on their wanderings beyond how to cadge, how to steal, how to avoid dogs and the police. They are not pilgrims but outlaws, and many would be highway robbers had they the vitality and the pluck necessary to hold up wayfarers. Most of them are but poor walkers, so that the word tramp is often misapplied to them….”

Later, on page 29, he writes, “…Class is the most disgusting institution of civilization, because it puts barriers between man and man….”

The remaining notes, from my best recollection, are simply things that struck me.

“So when we look on a river we are affected by its hidden relationship to our own life. The river interprets our mood. The road suggests God as a taskmaster who would have us work; the river suggests Him as a poet who would have us live in poetry. The Creator must be a poet–not a General or a Judge or a Master Builder; there is so much of pure poetry in His creation….”

“What is a tramping day if it does not liberate a voice, so that you can sing out your soul to the free sky.”

“The heart can be lifted up by poetry even more than by song. And the inner meaning and the sense of a poem becomes one’s own on the march when it lends it rhythms and verbal emotions to express the hidden yearnings of one’s own being.”

“The life opens us with its very breadth. Is your friend too thin; do not diet him under a white ceiling, but give him air. Air will fill him. It is not the air alone that cures and fills, but what you breathe in with the air. You breathe in the spirit of the open. You breathe in the wideness of the sky; you reach out to the free horizon. It makes a man big, it builds a man within.”

“In the long halt, therefore, one has not stopped living, because one has ceased going onward. You get poised on your center. You feel the origins of joy and pain–deep down at the heart’s core, the place from which something in you is welling up all the while, welling up and overflowing, flowing away in waves and tides, to break on a mystical shore.”

“Self-expression is life. What gives more satisfaction to one’s being than to have expressed oneself.”

“Each day Nature puts her magic mirror in our hands. ‘Oh child, do you see yourself today?'”

Morning Trip (105)

“…Going down stone by stone,

the song of the water changes,

changing the way I walk

which changes my thought

as I go. Stone to stone

the stream flows. Stone to stone

the walker goes. The words

stand stone still until

the flow moves them, changing

the sound – a new word –

a new place to step or stand….”

–Wendell Berry, Excerpt from The Book of Camp Branch, out of Leavings

Foray into Photography of the Canine

sigh

I am working up to the photography of humans, I swear, I think…

I’m just not drawn to image them.
Well, not many, in any case.

The ones I AM drawn to, come out talking and sharing, like the landscapes and nature images.
What DOES that say anyway, if plants or trees, or stones talk more than the flat two dimensional people along the way?

I don’t photograph animals either. I like the special images of them. Not the ones one must pretend are special because they are of someone’s beloved pet and are thus special by default. The really interesting ones with light and shadow and, well…talking!

I have been getting some very nice feline images. I thought they were a fluke, until lately. With animals, I’m finding that I need to create a thought, an idea, and a setting before I get the shot. If I attempt candid shots that look like portraits, I have to take a LOT of images! I have been contrasting the images that I like and that I dislike with pet images of other folk and then of some more known photographers. I’m developing my idea or taste of what I think makes such an image contain character and feel attracting.

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This is Woody. He is two. He has unlearned his manners. That is another story for another time. I thought I would get a nice portrait of his alert face. (waits while some of you laugh, blink, or raise your eyebrows at the ridiculous owner of a sedate cat)

He, at present, doesn’t really get the stimulation required, and he is two. He LOVES it when I show up, as I have become the woman with the tennis ball. If I forget to come for a day he jumps up on me. His nose then reaches my forehead. He used to follow silent hand signals. Did I mention that he has lost his manners?

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I almost got one from the perspective that I wanted, as he paused his galloping to devour lick inhale taste investigate his ball. Had I not set out to get a shot of his warm brown eyes gazing at me from a sitting position, doing that thing he does when he wished to know what I have done with his beloved tennis ball, I would not have thought any of my first attempts at canine photography as an epic fail–my daughters in college use that phrase.

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This last one has me think of the Zen of Ball

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The black and whites weren’t too shabby either. I think, not so bad on my first try, expectations not expunged.