Our older son married this weekend, which has meant no time for other activities. Only now are minutes creeping back as we gradually reduce a pile of accumulated chores. But as our human happinesses and activities filled all our experience for a while, the wind continued to blow and the sun to shine, the tides surged, the birds went about their necessities. See _ this is proof.
Since a hurricane narrowly avoided us, the wind has been whipping a gale. That is welcome in this humid heat, unless you are trying to swim in the ocean or control a bridal gown on the lawn during picture sessions. And with the arrival of evening lightning bugs in force, I am strongly reminded that the days are now growing shorter, and in another few months we will be anticipating more seasons.
Spartina _ what is left after the ravages of last winter _ is thick now, welcoming the flushing high waters each tidal cycle. Horseshoe crabs almost reach it at high water, digging shallow pits in the sand to lay eggs. Pretty soon the surface of the bay will be roiled by the splashes of as-yet-too-tiny minnows and snappers. One lonely white tern is out ceaselessly swooping low around the pilings offshore.
Beyond the grass, children play in the muddy water at the town beach, their cries of freedom from class echoing charmingly (as an older person mostly charming because distant, I admit.) It all seems so perfect and timeless. My logic tells me that is not so, to worry about the future, to understand disaster is everywhere. My inner child has also left the classroom this day, and says to forget all I want, smile and shout my own gladness at these moments, which are, after all, reality.
The dune grass is also well on its way to summer peak, presiding over the sand drifts above the calm water. There is such an infinite of interplay in the visual world around us _ even ignoring everything else which is just as infinite _ that I could shoot a picture from here every day and hardly become repetitious. Each hour, each weather pattern, each season _ each fleeting moment of focused consciousness and attention _ is unique.
It is too easy at my age to wake in the morning and be bored. There is a constant wash of memories and a lethargic pull that whispers “you have already done all that already.” One response is to try to push harder and harder for the novel and new by finding totally new experiences such as travel. I have found for my own peace of mind it is better to make the effort to understand why I feel that way in the face of overwhelming evidence that my universe is untarnished, fresh, and unexplored each day.
Don’t get too many birds in these photos _ nor for that matter special sky and water effects. I have a cheap old camera, by design, no fancy lenses or filters, don’t even use the standard options and doodads available on everything electronic these days. I’m not a photographic artist and have no desire to be. These pictures are taken to encourage me to see more, and the next day to formulate a few minor observations on myself and the world.
The important thing about any beauty _ created by art or otherwise _ is not that we can analyze its components nor basis nor creator. Beauty is a gift to allow us to appreciate each moment, to feel that all the patterns around us are in balance and that we belong. Beauty is the full sensory equivalent of an intellectual “religious impulse,” identical except for our need to create artificial categories in all we perceive.
I like to think this scene on East Shore Road has not changed much since the mid-nineteenth century. The houses were there, perhaps almost as big, and the harbor filled with sailing craft. Of course we have none of the animal smells, the roads are paved, and in the biggest change the hills all around are forested instead of being used as pasture and meadows. The way we imagine the past is rarely how it was, even visually, and certainly not emotionally nor in terms of human experience.
The world constantly changes and evolves, in spite of the conceit of each generation that what it knows happens to be what is normal and eternal. Stability is illusion. Old people worry about what is lost, but they are soon gone, and the tribes move on with only occasional reminders and fantasies of what must have been in the old days.
Old fat guy lurking in the bushes like an aged panther waiting for prey. At least, I guess he imagines prey. I’ve never seen anybody catch anything this far inside the harbor and discussions I’ve caught mostly spoke of imaginary flounder (not in this season) or inedible spider crabs. At this point, he is just a picturesque part of the scenery, like some ancient Italian peasant in a fishing village.
I like to think that my life is more purposeful, what I do filled with meaning, more important than merely sitting all day, smoking a cigar, watching a futile line stretch off beneath reflecting waters. Of course, I am wrong. Cosmically wrong always, from the standpoint of the mechanical universe. Socially wrong in that nothing I do will result in financial rewards at this point. Personally wrong in that walking and thinking is not really more elegant than sitting and meditating. Still, we all like our little points of better-than –you comparisons in our competitive society.
Yep, nothing but green. No focus, no break, no composition. That’s the point. A short time ago, this tiny roadside meadow was filled with flowers. Already many of the annuals have finished flowering and are busily storing energy in seeds for the coming year. Most of the leaves on the trees and other perennials have already reached full extent, the new growth is beginning to halt and the nutrients sent back to the roots. Basically, this is as green as it is going to get.
We think of timeless nature and its great cycles, as if it were some quiet library or majestic swells on the ocean. But the ocean is not alive. Life is roiled by constant disasters, plans, adjustments, chaos, and only survives by getting what it can when it can. And that is just the plant world! This quiet boring verdant patch is seething with tension and energy and competition. Me, I just enjoy the lush ambience.