Untitled Shaman Song
The great sea
frees me, moves me,
as a strong river carries a weed.
Earth and her strong winds
move me, take me away,
and my soul is swept up in joy.
-Uvavnuk (Iglulik Eskimo, 19th century) [translated by Jane Hirshfield]
I was going to go out for a camera walk but it was so windy I thought I would never get a good photograph because nothing would hold still. So I started looking around the house and decided to photograph some of my knick-knacks. I think I came by this Spirit Bear at Indian Market in Santa Fe one year but he has been with me long enough, I don’t really remember. I wanted to give him a more ethereal quality so added some textures and gave him a Georgia O’Keefe treatment in Topaz Impression (how appropriate!) Then I started looking for a poem. Not many poems about spirit bears and surprisingly few about bears, spirit animals, etc. I finally turned to gratitude in homage to Thanksgiving and nothing tripped my trigger there either. I finally found an anthology of Spiritual Poetry on the Poetry Foundation website and while Eskimos and spirit bears may not be a good fit, the Native American connection with nature and spirituality worked for me.
Flowers in a Vase
A bunch of flowers
Sat in a vase
Colourful and lonely
A mind looks at them
What is it they have to say
Are they a thank you
Or a gift of love
Are they an apology
Or given in remorse
Perhaps they are for nothing
Given to bring a smile
The mind looks on
Wondering for a while
The flowers sit in their vase
Unmoved by thought
Or the reason given to them
A little water at their base
To keep them fresh for a while
They are the end of the day
Just flowers in a vase
Another busy rainy day. So I took the flowers I bought yesterday into the studio and played for awhile this morning. Then took the results into photoshop and added some textures and french ledger script for visual interest. All in all I think it worked out pretty well. And though it is only one flower in a bottle I thought searching for flowers in a vase might be more productive, and so it was.
The Button Tin
Memories of the cracker tin
My Mother kept her buttons in
Such treasures beautiful and bright
That brought my childish heart delight
I don’t know where the time has gone
My Mother’s race is nearly run
The buttons now seem so passe
Who’d want to use them anyway?
Red buttons, blue and green and white
Are seldom ever brought to light.
But I can still remember when
I loved my Mother’s button tin.
I borrowed my Mother’s button tin some time ago with the intent of photographing it’s contents. She never asked for it back so I thought I might just keep it since she doesn’t sew anymore. The weather finally drove me to find something inside to photograph so I finally opened the button tin and found the buttons not nearly as intriguing as I remembered them. But I went ahead and photographed them and then I spent quite a bit of time working it into an art piece. Then I went looking for a poem and could find nothing suitable. I couldn’t quite fit what I had to say into a Haiku so I had to write a full blown poem. Not that great I know and how gauche to actually rhyme the lines. But I like it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
My Wooden Spoon
When your soup comes to a boil
and starts frothing,
You should place a wooden spoon
atop the pot
to keep the contents
from spilling over.
Alas, i must leave you here,
as i’m going to the kitchen
to clean the stove.
Yep, I was getting desperate for something to photograph and for a poem to go with it. It wasn’t fit for woman or beast outside today so I decided to find something in the house to photograph. This jar of wooden spoons caught my eye but by the time I got around to photographing it I wasn’t really in the mood. But with a little help from my creative software I came up with something. The poem on the other had didn’t do too much for me until I thought it through and then it made me laugh so it got the nod even if the author apparently didn’t want to claim it.
Flint corn, Calico corn, decorative corn, fall corn, there are lots of politically correct names for what we used to call Indian Corn. This poem was published in 1963 so let’s just give him a break. I wonder if the reason the only version I could find was an image from its original publication has anything to do with the title or the subject? Or maybe it is just too old and its author too obscure. In my experience European Americans are more offended by the word Indian than Native Americans. In New Mexico where I lived for eight years the aboriginals seemed to embrace the word Indian as an important part of their identity. Call it what you will, this corn is still beautiful and symbolic of fall in North America.
I’ve pulled the last of the year’s young onions.
The garden is bare now. The ground is cold,
brown and old. What is left of the day flames
in the maples at the corner of my
eye. I turn, a cardinal vanishes.
By the cellar door, I wash the onions,
then drink from the icy metal spigot.
Once, years back, I walked beside my father
among the windfall pears. I can’t recall
our words. We may have strolled in silence. But
I still see him bend that way-left hand braced
on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my
eye a rotten pear. In it, a hornet
spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice.
It was my father I saw this morning
waving to me from the trees. I almost
called to him, until I came close enough
to see the shovel, leaning where I had
left it, in the flickering, deep green shade.
White rice steaming, almost done. Sweet green peas
fried in onions. Shrimp braised in sesame
oil and garlic. And my own loneliness.
What more could I, a young man, want.
I had these pears in a bowl on my counter and thought they looked very photogenic. So I took them up to the tiny studio and made a few images. Then into the computer for some lighting effects and textures.
All Around the pumpkin patch
Summer yawns at rest,
Autumn kaleidoscopes in
– Robert Dufresne
After another hard day of touristing I have come the the conclusion that if anything happened in Boston between the revolutionary war and the birth of JFK they don’t want you to know about it. I was delighted to accidentally stumble across the Boston Public Market which is not on any of the tourist maps I have seen. And there, at last I finally found something suitably autumnal to photograph.
Good morning world.
After the deluge of yesterday I am sun-kissed once again.
Look out of the window.
Two gardens up stand sunflowers.
Heads the size of dinner plates.
Seems rather late this summer.
Late in coming.
For their gifts to be pasted to the sky.
They stand in a sort of floppy gestures.
Trying to support their heavy heads.
They remind me on this autumn morn with blazing sun.
That summer’s almost gone!
– Olivia Kent
With a forecast of 90% chance of rain I thought it wise to plan to work in the studio today. Though as it turns out I haven’t seen more than a few raindrops this morning. But I have been quietly gathering props for a day such as this including some small pumpkins and a bouquet garnered from the growers market yesterday. I also had some new textures to try out so had some fun with this one anyway.