Monday, June 21, 2010

It Is Light

Another solstice; so many now I've remarked upon, set store on, imaginary marks flourished in an archived digital calendar. All of this science to mark a date as important when this planet and this sun have been celestially waltzing for an eternity. But we need to make our marks; our personal scratches in the sand. We want something tangible to show for having been here; for having lived. All of our hurts, joys, doubt, compassion, and even anger, beg to be traded for something of value. But what is this mysterious something, this value, this qualifying factor? Is it even real?

I've been asked this question many times from many different people the past few weeks. Is it real? How do you answer a question like that? Is this rock in my hand real? Yes. Why? Because I see it. But say you are blind. Now is that rock real? Yes. Why? Because I feel it. I can tell you how heavy this rock is. I can tell you how cool it is, yet how quickly it radiates my heat back to me. I can tell you a hundred tiny details if I try, all because I feel it and I believe it.

The solstice sun. I feel it and I believe it. I don't need to prove it or describe it or even understand it. I simply need to feel its warmth through the cold glass and let my being radiate that warmth back to everyone I meet. That is real enough for me.

Love is not consolation. It is light.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Monday, June 14, 2010

Southern Gothic

There are sounds that move me. Instantly put me in a calm place, an open place; a place that is home. The laughter of my children, the sound of a loved one's voice, the deafening rumble and ear splitting wail of the dozens of trains moving through my town each day, to name a few. On occasion I have the good fortune of being right at the tracks as they pass and let me say that each and every time that has happened, the engineers always wave. That makes me believe in people. They fly by at forty miles per hour, sometimes more, through hundreds of the small rural towns like mine and with one gesture, one taken for granted gesture, they say, "Hey! I see you there! And just in case I don't see you next time, fare thee well." We should all be so aware of the world around us, no matter how small or how vast. We are all connected.

Photo Grunt featured another of my photos! Thank you yet again! I have posted a new album on Picasa, a Sunday Stroll through my town. Yesterday was Tennessee Williams hot; 95 degrees and as humid as a wet blanket, but there was relief to be found in the cool green waters of the creek, the dense shady woods, and the inviting front porches. Ah, yes, and the breeze from the passing trains.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

For the Birds

Early this spring I discovered a visitor in my backyard. A pigeon, brightly plumed, who followed me around like a lost puppy as I filled the feeders. He decided to stay on as a regular. Lucky for him the cardinals are finicky diners and toss down three perfectly good seeds for every one they deign to eat. He was friendly and even though he was four times larger than the other regulars, everyone seemed to like him and the congregation went about their days happily singing and snacking. But then a curious thing happened. On Friday, during a particularly trying moment, I looked out the window to the sky, as is my habit, and there was my pigeon on the fence with another pigeon at his side. A white pigeon with black stripes. No fooling. They have returned together each morning and afternoon since.

White pigeons are a result of a recessive gene anomaly that breeders force...similar to the mad science of puggles and ruffled tulips. White doves are typically sacrificed or, in less bloody terms, released during rites of passage ceremonies. The context of events defines the symbolism of white birds, but most commonly, they represent love, the soul, peace, forgiveness, and deliverance. But what to make of a white pigeon with black stripes? The dark and the light, the known and the hidden, the right and the wrong, all on the back of one bird; the entire weight of the world held up by a feather.

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.