Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Courage”. he said, and pointed towards the land,
This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon”.
'The Lotus Eaters' Tennyson

My bamboo brush was loaded with what I had thought to be dark blue, but a broad sweep across the white paper told even my colour challenged eyes that this was really a wine colour. OK, I thought and used the remaining twist of the brush's hairs to draw in an island. A few more dabs of colour, a distant galley and I had stumbled into a page from Homer and his 'wine dark sea'. Ulysses, on his torturous way home from Troy has been storm blown beyond the known bounds of the world and while his crew cowers in fear and trembling he sights land by morning's light, tells them to have courage, there is land to leeward. That of the Lotus Eaters, it turns out and the beginning of a new adventure.

I remember telling Homer's story to an acquaintance some years ago who like the crew was in despair with no obvious passage through her life's travails. Sometimes we all need to turn to face into the future and say to ourselves 'courage', because no matter how faintly it shows itself there is something new on the horizon. No matter how dire things may seem this is not the end but a new dawn, a new beginning.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Light in the forest

Right beside the paved walkway in nearby Ruckle Park, many walk past this scene everyday, but only briefly as the late afternoon winter sun streaks through a gap in the trees will anyone see this spectacular combination. Light is what photography is all about.Being at the right place at the right time is what being a photographer is all about.

Friday, November 24, 2017

"The thing itself"

The morning at Indian Point was bright and breezy, almost too bright with sun and reflections off the sea, so I decided to break that old photography rule about not pointing the lens into the sun. The result was a close approximation of the original experience.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Snake fence

A snake fence was popular in pioneer days. It required few tools, - mostly an axe and some wedges -, close materials -  the trees nearby -, lasted just about forever, and could be picked up and moved when necessary.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The voice of Oneness.

Home contains the idea of oneness as a state of mind as well as a place. A state of mind that contains companionship and common purpose. We are one when we cooperate and talk together, consider the welfare of those close to us.

When we cast our net wider to include those we do not feel similar to, who may not even know us, then we are extending our sense of home to include many rooms, many faces and attitudes and we are the richer for it.

If we include all sentient beings within our compass, if we extend our home to the trees that surround our house, to the flocks of birds voyaging south overhead, then our home has grown in diversity, has softened its form, grown large around its edges.

When we stand on the beach and look out to sea we have a sense of vastness, Surely this is not home is it? How can this watery otherness be home? Because it is home to multitudes of fishes and whales, sealions and others.... then this cannot be home. Home must have intimate boundaries, places we know and are comfortable in. But what if we could feel at home there? If we could sail out and leave land, humans, familiar scenes, the scent of land behind, would we ever feel at home there? What if we settled into waves and wind, clouds and distant islands and found oneness there too?

Home is the voice of oneness, home is our planet, the light from the sun, the sparkle of stars, the passage of the moon. We do not need boundaries or constraints. We need to live large, love widely and kiss the universe goodnight.

Monday, November 6, 2017

"We gan kill you all!"

My wife and I had the privilege in our early twenties of joining CUSO and working in Guyana, South America, where of course we were glaringly WHITE in this colonial system even though our work was of the low down teaching class type. Everyday we experienced at first hand the complexity of this class system. One minute the unemployed cane cutters were waving their machetes and shouting 'Bukra” at us as we walked through the (South Asian) village on our way to work, and that evening were being introduced to the Governor General. A wild and woolly life, but so instructive.

A student might write in her essay that she was the 'darkest child in her family' and we realized that even there that made a difference to how she was treated within her family and certainly to her future prospects, both for marriage and for employment. We also found that the 'white' Portuguese girl in our class was at the bottom of the ladder in this pernicious social system because the people from the Azores were the last to arrive ( after Africans and South Asians) to work in the sugarcane fields. So colour was not as important as your history and the work you did, that there were economic reasons behind prejudice. As there are in North America today.

I think that much of what goes on between the sexes and between the peoples of different origins has a lot to do with how we envision our lives and how the social system works. If life is a ladder we must fight our way up then it makes sense to step on other's fingers below us and to push off those who share our rung even as we attempt to pull at the feet of those above us. Women should know their place not because they are women but because they threaten our precarious position on the ever changing ladder.  Men obviously do it. Women do this to each other too, as do our children.

What our experiences have taught my wife and me is that living cultures are infinitely complex and variable and that cut-out type images that simplify and provide rallying cries for social activists are dangerous, are only another variation of that 'social ladder' cultural way of thinking. By all means identify social injustice whether of the Weinstein type or pay equity or of the most common and unnoticed attitudes in everyday life, but be aware of all our agendas and biases as well. That 'ladder 'has got to go because of course it will kill us all in the end.