Archive for January, 2010

#CED2010: Silence and Loss


2010
01.29

I wasn’t going to post again this month – CED’s Body Month.  But today changed that.  I’m still at the cabin, leaving tomorrow.  One of the things I like best about being here is the quiet, the silence.  I forgot that I’d written a poem about it when I got here.  I’ll put it in as an introduction to the idea of silence, total and complete, because today I found out someone was taken from our midst, leaving a silence total and complete.

Silence

Quiet fills the cabin.

It’s only me.

How much noise can one person make?

The cabin makes its own noises.

Whirs, grumbles and hisses

As the furnace starts up.

The kitchen is culprit too.

Coffee gurgles, toasters spring,

Water runs, disposals crunch and grind.

I suppose I break the cabin’s quiet.

It’s not like Bradbury’s Mars House.

The appliances don’t run on their own.

Quiet’s not the same as silence, though.

Opening the window to the still night

Reveals silence I can feel.

The silence of the night is

Enveloped by the cold.

It sucks it in, dampens it, leaves it there.

So important to hear nothing,

So I open the window, suck up my breath

As the silence consumes me.

Quiet fills the cabin

But silence fills the night.

The quiet cabin nests in the silent night.

After tinkering with this poem late this afternoon I got a shocking message on facebook.  A former  seventh-grade student of mine, one of my favorites (I have so many favorites), died last night, 20 years old, in his third year of college.  The ultimate silence.  I don’t know the cause of death but I suspect it didn’t have to happen.  And now Mike’s gone forever but he’s left the silence behind him.  The silence will rest within his parents as they grapple with the loss of a child.  They’ve seen the worst that life can give them.  Sure, they’ll move forward but that huge silent void will always be there.  In my poem, I wrote about a comforting silence, but there is nothing comforting about the silence left for Mike’s parents to live with.

Dozens of his friends are leaving messages to Mike on his facebook page as if he’s going to read them, and there is uniform shock and disbelief.  One says

“mike i cant believe this man, we were just chillen a few days ago. RIP im sad to see you go homie.”

Another says,

Love you Mike. You’re such a beautiful beautiful person.

And

i dont even know what to write bud …i can really say that you have left me in shock and that we will all miss you…im glad that i was able to see you before all this…R.I.P love you man

Another

Mike, one of the best friends a guy could have….I’m glad I got to see you before you left, but I would do anything to have you back. I hope you are in a better place and we will all miss you man. RIP

and then quite simply,

rest in peace buddy.

There’s death and then there’s death.  Illness can be understood.  Accidents can be understood.  Even suicide can be understood.  But i don’t have an explanation for Mike’s death and probably never will.  My heart just aches for his parents.

#CED2010: Adam Lambert! And New Works


2010
01.29

Talk about a body!  What better way to end Creative Every Day’s Body-themed month than with Adam Lambert.  I’ve got two tickets to see him at Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Palm Springs in February.  It wasn’t easy – I do not know how to be the first on those phone lines or on the internet!  But I’ll be there.

This guy is as gorgeous inside as he is outside.  And his voice is indescribable. But I divert.  Easy to get diverted by Adam Lambert.

This will no doubt be my last post for January so I thought I’d put in a few things I’ve done up here at the cabin.  The photos are very bad, however.  I had to crop so they would be straight and lost a little of the art.  Contrary to usual patterns, the plate to my tripod did NOT show up after I ordered new ones.  So much for that theory.

Besides writing a poem and a few stories, I did an 11×14 of the Shadows study in my workbook.  It’s less crowded on the bigger sheet, and at first I wasn’t sure about it.  Now I like the simplicity.

For those of you who didn’t see the post, these figures are my grandchildren.  I took the photo so long ago, and it was during the infernal photo-organizing project that I rediscovered it.  Which reminds me that when I’m home Sunday, I have to finish that project up.  Anyway, you can see the original post here.  And the original shadow.

I did a quick journal page with a photo I plan to use today in a full-sized work.  But it’s not going to be like the journal page.  Years ago I was driving Caliente Creek Road and stopped into Twin Oaks General Store. This Popeye can was on the shelf.  I didn’t know Popeye graced canned food, but I loved it.  So of course I took a photo.

Maybe I should call it Spinach?

The last one I did was hard.  I couldn’t get it to work at all until I spattered paint on it as water droplets from the wave.

The wave and the people in the boat are from that Japanese Print book we were discarding.  The fire is a photo I took at an oil well blowout in Coalinga years ago.  And the eagle is a photo I took at the San Diego Wild Animal Park carousel.

So it goes.  I’m going to finish up my last day up here with another story and another collage, as well as uploading photos to my flickr page.  Flickr seems to be productive – I’ve had two photos put in tour guide books because they were found on Flickr – one from the San Diego Wild Animal Park, one from Stanley Park in Vancouver.  Important to put those tags!  Some of the same photos plus more from Vancouver and the Wild Animal Park on on my web page in the gallery.  They are in the flower gallery, a sub-gallery under nature/travel, and in the animal gallery.

For all you Creative Every Day folks, see you in Feb. with HOME as the theme.

#CED2010: On bodies, reflections, footprints, and tripods


2010
01.28

I’d finally warmed up yesterday after Tuesday’s freezing trek through the snow into my 39 degree cabin.  The sun was out so I ventured out also – but only onto the balcony.  I got caught up in the footprints I’d left from the day before.  Footprints as a record of our body’s movement and footprints as possible art also.

I found myself studying this random pattern of my footprints.  There seem to be three in a row heading toward the railing.  They are so close together and appear to be the right foot – where was my left foot?  Immediately I thought of how we try to fool people by pretending a one-legged creature has been there. Then there are the two that form an upside-down V.  How did that happen?  I know I wasn’t practicing first position in ballet.

I got interested in this pattern – it’s as if I were walking in two directions at once, met in the middle, and then turned and walked off.  I was loving this footprint thing.

I won’t be surprised if this one ends up in a collage somehow.  The left one especially reminds me of Planter’s Peanuts – anyone old enough to remember those? Maybe they still have them.  But I think there was a cookie with a waffle pattern like that.  Maybe there still is.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the cookie aisle – if Trader Joe’s doesn’t have it, I don’t have it either!

Funny, isn’t it, how us artists get obsessed with details and observation?  Because the next thing I focused on was my own reflection in the window.

Since January is drawing to a close, which means the Creative Every Day theme of Body is drawing to a close, I suppose I was reflecting on body.  I took a photo of myself looking into the cabin and merging with my art materials (above).  Body art.  Body as art.  Body making art.

Body in motion.  Looking dejected.  Walking away.  From what?  Or, with the divider in the sliding door, a  body going from one reality to the next.

Just thinking about a simple photo reminds me of all the ways in which almost anything can be interpreted, and how we interpret according to our own understanding and mood.  That’s something worth remembering, because another thing we do is jump to conclusions which are often wrong.

I realized, somewhat obviously, that I was on the outside looking in.  Did I want to get in?  Was I being left out?  Or just idly curious about what was going on.  I realize I was just taking my own picture, but it made me think about all the ways we can be on the outside looking in.

I like this photo a lot.  I was on the outside looking through.  Did I have to go inside but wished I didn’t?  So was I planning an escape out the other side?  Or was I blocking out something unpleasant about going in, or not being able to go in, so was looking past it?  Or was I just looking ahead.?  So many possibilities!

I took a photo of these two tree trunks, shadowed by the sun.  It was bright and beautiful.  And I went inside.

I’d been working on some watercolor exercises for practice, since I’ve just now started using watercolors.  It’s all such a mystery, too, since I can’t paint!  Doesn’t stop me from trying.  And then I looked outside.

In those few moments the sun had disappeared to be replaced by fog – no tree trunk shadows now.  It’s quite amazing to see such a rapid change – exciting too.  Today is all sun all the time, with snow melting and falling off the trees in big chunks.  So I finished off what had become a study of reflected bodies, which in a way reflects what’s inside our bodies – in terms of thoughts.

Because if we can be on the outside looking in, we can also be on the inside looking out.  That evokes its own kind of longing.

I like this photo a lot because I’m on the inside looking out but becoming one with nature.  I also notice that when I was on the outside looking in, it was all in color, and when I was on the inside looking out, it’s black and white – mainly because of the fog, but doesn’t that give us something interesting to reflect on?

The whole point is to think, isn’t it?  This stuff makes me think, contemplate, end up knowing myself and the world just a little bit better.  At least from my own perspective.  On my webpage, in the About section, under My Approach to Photography, I talk about seeing beyond the surface and finding the unexpected.

TRIPODS

The plate that attaches my camera to the tripod has been missing since my last visit to the cabin.  I remember putting it somewhere – not in the usual place – so telling myself to remember where it was. I did the same thing with my iPod Touch and never did find it.  Also at the cabin.  Well, it’s PREDICTION time because I’m about to find the missing plate.  How do I know?  Because I finally ordered a replacement.  Two replacements, in fact.  We all know that means that within the hour I’ll find the missing part.  And then I can take some decent photos of work I’ve been doing for tomorrow’s post.

#CED2010: Cabin in Winter: Almost Snowed Out


2010
01.27

Cabin in winter cocooned in snow,

Visiting brings it to life.

Inside heat melts outside snow

Creating new creaks and sounds.

Would’ve been scared as a kid.

Settling in, finding a rhythm

To being alone in the woods.

Wandering mind loses focus,

Don’t care, not concerned.

After all, it’s only me.

Cocooning in snow, waking the cabin

With books, canvas and paints.

Crashing through silence, ideas tumble.

Thoughts focus in images and words.

Sleepiness scares them away.

Alone in the woods, finding a rhythm

To thinking and writing with paint.

Everything quiets, urgency flees

To return on another’s day.

Today, it’s only me.

I love being at the cabin alone.  But I almost didn’t make it.  We knew there had been four feet of snow last week (we’re at elevation 6,200 ft.) but the guy in charge of our “snow plow collective” said the road had been plowed a few days ago.  Maybe he was dreaming.  Anyway, my husband drove me up because I knew we’d need the chains and I don’t seem to be able to get them on.  So we got most of the way, and here was the “plowed” road.

Time for chains.

We still couldn’t get up – first the snow tires failed us, next the chains.  We could just leave the car there and carry everything to the cabin – SO MUCH because I take all my art stuff!  And food.  But we did it.  I did the first trip only.

There was the stair rail, but where were the stairs?  Under four feet of soft snow.  We became trail breakers, sinking in past my knees with each step.  At one point I fell down and sunk so far into snow that I figured I’d just stay there until snowmelt.  But no, finally I maneuvered myself flat on my stomach and figured out a way up.  Camera hanging from my neck the whole time.

So that’s why I did the first trip only.  By now, I was willing to call my husband my sainted husband.

Without the stabilicers I wouldn’t have made it at all.  These are ice shoes with crampon things on the bottom and they strap over your shoes with velcro.  I won’t set foot in the snow and ice without them.

Even if the road had been somewhat plowed, our lower driveway sure hadn’t.  We have four foot high flexible things with reflectors on the top, mainly so I can stay on the driveway as I back down and not go off the edge.  Can you spot one?

We made it.  Mark left to go back to Bakersfield and he’ll get me on Saturday.  I won’t be setting foot outside the cabin except to the balcony – maybe.  But everything worked.  Internet is spotty but working.  Water works.  Hot water works.  And furnace works, even if it did take several hours to get from 39 degrees inside to 68.

It was pretty darn cold so I sat snuggled in a blanket and caught up on my newspaper reading, finally getting enough energy to make dinner.  As far as I can tell, I’m the only one up here.  That’s what prompted Cabin in Snow, the poem I started with.  I was almost snowed out.

#CED2010 New Photos on Web Site- Bathtub, Popcorn and More


2010
01.26

Finally got around to some more organizing of that body of work!  I have new photos in the Misc. Gallery, the Animal Gallery and the Nature Gallery.  I especially like the Misc. Gallery.  Check out the popcorn and the bathtub.  The bathtub would be useful if you wanted a pine needle bath.

Here’s a great idea from Ruthie, who commented on my last post.  I mentioned that I have an eHow article on how to organize digital photos – you can click on it from the sidebar.  Ruthie said that she also puts the photos in event folders within the month within the year.  Good idea – I’ll start doing it.

About to head up to the cabin where we got four feet of snow last week.  I just want to work – paint and collage and write – with no distractions.  I’m not even taking the cats this time so truly there will be no distractions.  I’m going to miss them though.

And speaking of cats, check out this cat cartoon on youtube.  My cats have never bonked me with a baseball bat or pulled my ear, but everything else is so right on!  Anyone with a cat will relate – and if you don’t have a cat, this is exactly how they wake their owners up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0ffwDYo00Q

CED2010: Conflagration! Anyone Who Takes Photos, Listen Up!


2010
01.24

I have been immersed in a photo-organization project for the past week plus.  This is what I feel like I’ve been immersed in:

OK, what this photo really is, is an oil well blowout in Lost Hills, CA, in November, 1998, and the reason I can tell you that and show you this photo is because I have been sorting photographs from 1985 to sometime in 2003 when I went digital.  I scanned a few, such as this one, into the computer.  Right now, I think I’ll scream if I look at another photo, and I’m not finished yet.  So listen and learn from my mistakes.  And this post will have something to do with the Creative Every Day January theme of BODY, I promise.

For years, I mean, YEARS, I’ve been thinking that I need to organize the photos, and maybe five years ago I got them into boxes labeled with the year at least.  But then we make photo boards for all kinds of occasions, and after extracting dozens of photos to copy for the boards, I’d just toss them in the closet.  This is what I mean by a photo board – my husband surprised me with this on my 60th birthday.

At Costco recently, I saw nifty containers for storing photos – a plastic case with 12 smaller cases inside.  All acid-free and all that. They look like this.

And this is how many I have filled.

Eleven.  All individual compartments labeled with contents and date, and all cases numbered, and an excel document cataloging what is in each case.  Because if I was going to do this thing, I was going to do it right.

Well.  Do you think I dated any of those photos on the back?  Or wrote what the occasion was? I had to become a detective.  I should have been wearing the Sherlock Holmes hat I bought when I was teaching and wanted to teach students how to investigate a subject.  Alas, I was hatless, but still investigating.  Bless my mother-in-law – SHE dated and labeled photos!  And occasionally she’d give some to us.  So I had to match hairstyles, clothing, etc., to try to figure out what month of what year I was in and who was who.

And do you think I ever threw the bad photos away?  Or the duplicates? There was even a time when developers were giving you triplicates whether you wanted them or not.  Wastebasket after wastebasket-full  went into the trash.

Our Christmas letters were a big help.  Since 1981 I’ve been writing a lengthy Christmas newsletter – it’s grown to 8 pages (two are all photos) in a newsletter format.  They make a great family history.  So I’ve been reading and re-reading – what year was Kim in Annie Get Your Gun?  When did we spend Christmas in Yosemite? You get the idea.

I swear there are photo gnomes rearranging these things when no one is looking.  Today I had a big stack, well, one-inch maybe, of photos in my hand from when I was in Sweet Charity and Finnian’s Rainbow.  I can’t tell you the years because I hadn’t gotten that far.  I put them down, did something else, turned back, and they had vanished.  I backtracked and they are just plain nowhere.  I really hope they aren’t in the trash.  Those gnomes have been wreaking havoc in the boxes in the closet, too.  Somehow the wrong years had gotten into the wrong boxes and the wrong photos had gotten into the wrong envelopes.  And sometimes the negatives don’t even match with the photos!

Finally, I said ENOUGH!  I’m done for now.  I have a stack of photos about 15″ long still to sort, but they are going to have to wait.  I am photoed out.  I’ll do them within the next few weeks, however, because all those plastic containers are staying on the bedroom floor until I am done.  And all I can say is my kids better appreciate this and be interested in family history some day!

LESSON: and this goes for print as well as digital – date, label, and organize. DLO. D-LO.  However you want to say it, just do it.  This has been consuming me – I haven’t journaled, read, done any art, nothing.  Well, ok, I have done some bike rides (the rainbow blog) and the Martin Luther King breakfast (the Fannie Lou Hamer blog), and the Shadow art journal page, etc. but I haven’t read other people’s blogs nor commented.  I didn’t even watch American Idol!

I’m going away.  Really, I am – going up to the cabin on Tuesday to spend five days all alone thinking and doing other things.  Writing, art, reading, guitar hero, or nothing.  They’ll be so much snow I’ll be cabin-bound but that’s ok.  I’ll miss Adam Lambert on Ellen but we’ll Tivo.  My husband is going to drive me up because try as I may, I can’t get chains on the car myself.

I wrote an article on eHow that may help you if you aren’t sure how to organize digital photos.  I almost got in trouble there too, but luckily I wised up before I had too many years to sort out.  That was its own nightmare.

Consolation:  we’ve had beautiful skies the last couple of days.  I’m sorting by the balcony so I can look out and see the lake, ducks (we had some cormorants today), and clouds.  This was yesterday.

Just mesmerizing.  I could watch clouds all day.

We get these beautiful skies in January and February – that’s all.  So I cant’ stop looking.  And today, when driving out to visit my parents, I backtracked to take a photo of this building.  It’s an old Quonset hut I pass all the time, but there’s been so much rain this week that there was a wonderful reflection.

Remember, always have your camera with you so you can take advantage of unexpected moments.

So I promised I’d relate this post to the CED January theme – Body.  It’s about your body of work.  One of the most important bodies you have.  Whether you are an artist, photographer, writer, collector, whatever it is you do – keep it in order!  I’m going to upload some new photos to my website this week so my BODY of work will be more complete.  I know what’ll happen if I wait too long.

So – happy organizing!

CED2010: Rain, Wind, Coffee with Julie, and a Rainbow


2010
01.21

What a glorious day in Bakersfield, CA!  It  could have been improved by putting Monday’s wind with today’s rain, or importing Monday’s rain to today – but I’m not complaining.  Sometimes it’s enough just to rejoice in the weather.

I was meeting Julie Jordan Scott at 9:30 for coffee and to share art journals, but I was hesitant.  Hard to get myself together and out of the house by 9:30.  But as it turned out, I got up shortly after 7:00 so I could enjoy the wind.

This palm tree is in our backyard.  The wind was moving the water.

We’ve had a few visiting buffleheads recently.  Buffleheads went the other way; wind picked up.

Loved watching the neighbors palm trees.

I’ve been finding things to do upstairs so I can keep an eye on the lake.  Good thing I’m in the middle of this massive photo sorting project.  But I wanted to be able to take photos of anything interesting too – because that’s what I do!

Like watching my own trees too – but it was time to go for coffee.

That’s me on the left and Julie on the right.  We talked for 1 1/2 hours without noticing the time passing.  We shared art journals and I left with lots of ideas.

When I got home the rains started.  It wasn’t an exciting rain but it was wet and that was enough.  Just a steady rain.  Wind was over.  Since we have rain so rarely, sprinklers are set on automatic year-round.  My neighbor had double benefits!

The rain stopped and I jumped on my bicycle to take a few turns around the lake.   Luckily I grabbed my camera – obeying my own instructions to photographers – but just a few yards from the garage, rain started again.  What was the worst that could happen?  I’d get wet.  So I kept on going.

It was a wonderful carefree feeling to be pedaling in the rain, the crisp cool air, and look what I saw.

It was beautiful and it was so big I couldn’t get the entire arc in my viewfinder.

And – it was double!

Wow.  As I was taking pictures, my daughter texted me to take pictures of the awesome rainbow.

The light kept changing – it was a lovely end to a lovely peaceful day.

Me and My Shadow


2010
01.20

We’re still in Creative Every Day’s Body month.  Last night, during this ever-lasting photo-sorting project, I came across a wonderful photo of the Bakersfield Six less One (Xavier was just barely born). That’s what I call my six grandkids who live in Bako.  We were at the beach in Ventura in 2000.  More reflections on body sprung into mind – the physical body, yes, but the spiritual body also.

I started thinking shadows.

Have you ever noticed that wherever you go, your shadow goes too?  Duh, of course, you say.  Anyone ever tell you after you’ve been ill that you look like a shadow of your former self? Did you ever try to run from your shadow?  Have you been told to step out from behind your shadow? Is Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem My Shadow one of your favorites?  It was one of mine.

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an errant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

Shadows show up everywhere.  Like in the lyrics for Everybody’s Talking at Me:


Everybody’s talking at me.
I don’t hear a word they’re saying,
Only the echoes of my mind.
People stopping staring,
I can’t see their faces,
Only the shadows of their eyes.

Lots of negative connotations in shadows: escape from your shadow, run from your shadow, shadow of your former self, shadows of their eyes.   I played around with the photos a little.

How about life?  We can move so fast that we (and our shadows) are a blur.  No time to think about where we’ve been or where we’re going, let alone concentrate on the present.  Moving so fast that our shadows become indistinguishable from ourselves.

Or remaining so static that we become shadow people – shadow ghosts.  An empty life.

Besides reflecting on shadows themselves, I just liked the image so much – the expression in the five little bodies – the twins on the left, obviously relating to each other somehow, the two oldest on the right with Ali pointing out something to Sarah, and Dax in the middle.  All of them seemingly unconcerned about the approaching wave although it appears they aren’t in swim suits.  So I decided to do a journal page as a small study of something I may turn into a bigger collage.  Instead of using a negative connotation, I turned it around into stepping out of one’s shadow into embracing your own body and self.  I’ve spread the kids out to give them more independence.

Photos are full of stories, both real and imagined.  I’ve talked about that a bit on the “About” page of my webpage, as well as a former blog post on how to photograph people.  And Taking Better Photos of People, Part Two.

#CED2010 I’ve Looked at Clouds from Both Sides Now


2010
01.18

We had a storm!  In Bakersfield!  At least we had weather that qualifies as a storm here.  And more expected this week.  I was inside most of the day for the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast and then the Community Luncheon, with two former students (one my granddaughter) who were part of the program.  No windows! That’s ok since we looked through windows into the soul.

Allie and Ali – the Ali on the right is my Ali.

But when we got outside the wind was whipping and then the rain came in a deluge.  Ali, my 15-year-old granddaughter asked, “Is this a storm?” That’s how deprived we are weather-wise in Bakersfield.  Yes, it was a storm.  And the clouds were astounding.  So this post is about clouds – photos of clouds – which hint at the January theme of bodies.  Clouds are such amorphous bodies – elusive, constantly changing, mysterious.  Today, the clouds were like none I’d seen before.

I’ve got to quit doing this – taking photos when I’m driving.  But how could I pass up those puffy little scallops?  And without thinking I began to sing the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now.

Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun they rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way.

So I wondered, in this cloud are puffy little scallops drifting out into the more dispersed cloud?  Or – is the more dispersed cloud converging into puffy scallops?

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all.

Wow.  Again , taken while driving.  I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now…I really don’t know clouds at all.  Isn’t that a great metaphor for the futility of trying to understand certain things?  In the literal sense of clouds, it doesn’t matter what I understand.  They are just plain gorgeous to contemplate.  In the more abstract sense, maybe there are things about life that we really don’t have to understand.  They just are.  Or things about our bodies that we just have to accept.  We are who we are.  And as Martin Luther King Jr. said, it’s the content of our character that counts.

Now these are just downright amazing.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen clouds quite like these.  They make me think of being pulled into the maelstrom.  Or the tension and excitement of the unknown, like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Writing this reminds me that I have a college named Into the Maelstrom that isn’t on my art gallery. I have some work to do to catch the web page up!

These clouds are worth a second look.  Of course, they are being whipped around by the wind and by turbulence.  The wind had it’s way.

Trees were felled all over the city.  This is a block away from us.

This large established tree was felled on a busy street.  Luckily, because of the holiday, traffic was light.  A Kern County man was not so lucky and tragically lost his life when a tree fell on him, or his roof rather, as he was sleeping.  Mother Nature is capricious and arbitrary and there’s no way to know when you might become the victim of very bad luck.

Back home, our boat had not fared too well.  One of the biminis, or covers, was shredded by the wind.

A bimini isn’t anything compared to a life, though. How does one come to terms with a life cut short so arbitrarily by a fallen tree?

Right now, looking out from the balcony, the sky is lovely – a lull between storms.  But water in the lake is already getting high.  The end of the lake in the next photo usually has a wooden barrier visible between the lake and the little drainage area.  Not  now.

So I eagerly anticipate the weather of the next few days as I ponder the “unknowability” of clouds.  (Sometimes a made-up word works best.) And I’m still thinking of other verses of the song.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all.

#CED2010 Check-in: Bodies of Water, Graceful Bodies


2010
01.17

Thanks for reading Putting Your Body on the Line

Before I begin today’s post, I want to say thank you to everyone who read and forwarded my last post – Putting Your Body – and Life – on the Line.  Over 300 people have clicked on the link to the video in just a few days – I don’t know if they’ve watched the entire 10 minutes, but they’ve at least looked.  And maybe a few donations will have trickled in to the Fannie Lou Hamer Statue Fund. I know it’s a tough time to ask for money, especially when we’ve all just donated to Haitian relief.  I sent a donation to Doctors without Borders, an organization that is already established in Haiti and certainly critically needed right now.  But I think we can all squeeze out just a little bit more, especially with the stark reminder Haiti has given us of just how lucky we are.  Tomorrow morning Ali and Allie, the two seventh-graders who made the video (they are now in tenth grade) will be showing it at the Martin Luther King Community Breakfast and later at the youth luncheon.  I’m really proud of them.  Especially in this photo, which was on the last post:

Mississippi Civil Rights Veterans with Ali and Allie

They are centered in this photo taken in Mississippi at the Mississippi Civil Rights Veterans Conference.

Graceful Bodies, Bodies of Water

We finally made it to today’s post!  Still working with the Creative Every Day theme of Body, I extended the theme a bit to bodies of water.  Leah said we could interpret it broadly!  I’m fascinated with water – the patterns in water, colors, and I’ve been wanting to do a collage using water.  One thing led to another, and I came up with this.

I painted the background on canvas using acrylic paints.  The rectangles and squares are from photos taken in Mazatlan, Pismo Beach, Cambria (both in California) and a fountain at Disneyland.  Most of the paper is glossy but some, such as the long strip on the bottom, is Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper (I do all my printing myself).  I got all that arranged to my satisfaction – after several days of looking, walking away, changing something, etc. But I needed a focus and grabbed that Japanese Print book we were discarding.  I have a feeling that a whole series of collages is going to come out of this book.  So I found the perfect images in color and shape, and they lent such grace to the collage.  So we have Graceful Bodies, Bodies of Water.

I am particularly fond of this because it reminds me of some of the quilts my mother has made.  Hers from cloth, mine from water (figuratively).  It’s very poignant to think of my 86-year-old mom and her quilts as she still goes out to the studio and moves around blocks of cloth, but her memory isn’t there anymore and she can’t sew or quilt.  None of us are sure, but I don’t think she realizes that she doesn’t actually quilt as she’s moving around cloth and planning what to do next.  So in the best scenario, she’s still getting pleasure from it.  For the rest of us, it’s quite poignant.