Weekly photo challenge – perspective
They’ve been sitting in a folder in the basement, old old work prints that never quite got finished, and are here scanned. I’m thinking to join a local photo co-op so I can scan some of the old negatives and revisit them, give them some love, resuscitate them from their state of defunctedness.They are moments of abandon, in different meanings of the word – a moment of wild running abandon; an abandoned fridge and perhaps child as well; and losing oneself to the abandon of sleep…Weekly Photo Challenge – Abandoned
In the alleyway just down from my house, there’s the expected graffiti on the garage doors, but more unusual are the bits of installation art that appear.
This one of the heart has been most striking.
It began on one side of the alley, on a kind of plywood sliding wall, and has morphed over time, its paper images and fold-out doors peeling away in the weather, then magically sprouting new imagery in its centre.
After several incarnations on the plywood wall, one day it had been moved to the other side of the alley, near someone’s rear doorway. It continues to evolve. The images continue to shift. Over time it’s become a highlight of the walk down the alley – to see what new elements have arisen in the night.
I’ve been thinking I must contribute to it at some point, adding some new element, some small sprinkle of love before we leave the neighbourhood.
Weekly Photo Challenge – Three
The day was blustery but sunny – a rare delight in this long winter.
I was out, everyone was out on College Street, voices high and excited with the hint of spring.
I walked alone, fast. Fast, trying to excise from my system all the worries and sense of impending doom.
For weeks now the tension has been mounting – we need to move somewhere cheaper, but where? There is nowhere cheap left in the city besides a basement apartment out near Highway Nowhere. Still we should do it, we have to bring expenses down, but even to do that would take a deposit of first and last, and already I had to wrangle to get enough into the bank to for March rent and god knows what we’ll do about April let alone expenses in the meantime, cause really I can’t keep up can’t carry all the debt anymore, but even bankruptcy isn’t gonna solve the problem of April’s rent, what will happen after that as the year goes on and there’s no work – wasn’t any work last year, even Pete didn’t work all year, and Mike says “it’s really quiet out there” and if those guys aren’t working, well hell, but there was that one time my sis said if worst comes to worst we could live in their basement, but it’s really only a room – how can a middle-aged woman and her 20-year-old son live in one room in a basement…?
The thoughts churned and churned in my mind as they’ve been doing for weeks now.
And then I saw the hawk.
I’d rounded the corner from College into Kensington market, an area dense with downtown humanity and stores and artists and automobiles. Up there, to the left, just beginning to coast upwards, was a hawk.
Wings spread, soaring up up up into the sky.
I stopped to watch him and thought of the other hawk just a week ago as I was on my way to a friend’s, the same monologue of desperation nattering relentlessly in my brain, when a hawk circled above me. Just a meter above my head – he circled. Maybe a block north of Bloor.
Unusual. Not that hawks are never around downtown, but the rare times you see them, it’s an occurrence.
I didn’t have my camera. Didn’t even have the phone. So I watched him there at the corner turning into Kensington market, watched him climb and felt the moment – what was his message?
Look wide and broad.
There was that horoscope I’d read just before I went out the door – the Free Will Astrology guy whose prediction for my year included –
“To destroy is always the first step in any creation,” said the poet E. E. Cummings. Do you buy that idea? I hope so, because you will have to metaphorically smash, burn, and dissolve any old structures that have been standing in the way of the future…
Okay. So be it. Maybe some of the external trappings of my life as it has been for the last 15 years or so are crumbling around me, demanding change.
I carried this thought with me into the market and did my few errands. Standing waiting for a vendor to finish my order I realized all my transactions had been in Spanish. Odd.
Walking back up to College this small detail felt like a hidden talent, as if any number of hidden talents might yet come to the forefront in whatever is next on the path, even if that path takes me to my sister’s basement.
And then, walking home into a fierce wind now that had risen on College St, the third hawk appeared.
He relished the wind – he coasted, he soared, he rose up into the heights of the sky, effortless.Weekly Photo Challenge – Three
Over the weekend I was thinking about treasure, personal treasures, and I remembered this piece of stalactite from a cave in Spain, reminding me of a time and a place of beauty and freedom and adventure, and a person who was special to me, Seanna the American.
She was a bit of a wild thing, divorced (which seemed slightly exotic at the time) and living in Spain in a funky little house in a small town not far from our small town. She’d come visit now and again and she and my dad would have martini parties and laugh loud late into the night.
We’d gone to the caves together one day and before we left she bought this slice of stalactite from the guide and gave it to me as a gift, one that I’ve kept all these years, hanging in the window so the light will come through.And taking photos in the afternoon sun, I noticed how this piece of orange calcite glowed so beautifully, a hint of gold to the orange, and was thinking actually maybe this was more of a treasure-looking thing -
And turning it this way and that, trying to find the best angle, I heard a crash behind me -
Ahhhhh, she’s at it again…
You see, treasure one lives in a box on the table in my room, and someone else seems fascinated with feathers.
She knocks the lid off the box, pulls the feathers out, throws them up in the air and licks them, leaving them scattered in a sodden mess around the room. One morning I woke up with a feather clutched in a fist and figured somehow in the night she must have brought it into the bed and it ended up in my hand…
Weekly Photo Challenge – Treasure
A cold full December moon cresting high over the Clinton schoolyard – staid brick building structures back lit with beams of moonlight, a few lone figures with dogs scuffling, breath in clouds in front of them, a faint dusting of white on the frozen ground.
in summertime the bats swoop down over this little round of track and trampled grass and soccer goalposts. In daytime the children shriek happily or protest the small devastating cruelties of their recess torments.
In the night with the moon bright, these daytime activities echo, ghostly.
In this city interior it is sometimes hard to distinguish the moon from a street lamp – a single globe like so many others – hard to believe the number of cultures that created a Moon Goddess out of this small frail lamp – almost an unremarkable phenomenon in the forest of lights.
A brisk February moon over the farm fields of southern Ontario – Ajax, Port Hope, whisking by in the night, the horn of the train calling out forlorn and hopeful at once, coming, coming, we are coming. As fast as the train goes, the moon does not move, the fields and houses are drowsy in her soft light.
A humid March moon low over the small town of shacks by the jungle – powerful single light of the night, illuminating modest wooden lean-to’s for homes, mud streets, the last tired men heading home after the long day to settle in before the monkeys begin to scream from their trees.
Late in the night when the moon is highest, laying a blue light over this little collection of shacks, only the skinny crazy woman is out – the woman who went mad with grief, losing her child to one of those childhood illnesses afflicting only the countries closest to the equator. She wanders in the night, sometimes silent, sometimes still wailing her grief to the unblinking moon, her body still young and beautiful under her rags, her tangled hair a glorious matted mane of dark waves. Tragedy incarnate, the beauty, the insanity, the youth, the grief, the potential, the loss.
The big river is not far.
A singular star-effacing June moon over the playas del este just outside of Havana – a beam of clarity on the ruins of dreams and hopes of generations past – rubble that used to be construction, vacant chicken joints that used to be dreams of prosperity, empty lots that once had been valuable property along the beach. The most undeveloped, unspoiled and unloved stretch of fine white gleaming sand.
We walked, my new love and I, along the beach, my hand in his, contemplating together the empty shadows of lives unfinished, the dreams of futures never realized, the beginnings left hanging, suspended, abandoned. The moon held us in its light, showing us the path, a way along the dark beach by its light.
A sharp glaring mystical eye of a moon over the October desert mountain stretch – a penetrating gaze in a landscape that offers nowhere to hide. The mountains present themselves stark dark ochre against the dark blue sky like a childrens’s book of cutouts. Pink highways push northward. Whiffs and shadows of the cultures of the plains, the great warriors, the visionaries, people of power, shimmer around the edges of shrubs, speed limit signs and gas pump exits.
A hazy unreliable November moon watching the square and the streets of Coyoacan, nudging its light into the patio and the windows of the casita azul, empty and haunted. Amidst the teeming millions, the frankly frightening overwhelming labyrinthine megacity, still the nights give themselves to the snaking rising mist of the ghosts of the old souls, the departed, the ancients, the history of the city. Even outside the throbbing discotheques, the shining towers of business and industry, the ancient layers of the Aztec breathe out their pustulent breath until the rays of the sun break the spell yet again, and all manners of ordinary activity return.
A massive May supermoon rising engorged and heavy, menacing as it looms over the city, heaving itself above the downtown highrises and slowly propelling itself up into the sky. In the park, people are stopped silent and clustered, staring, pointing, cel phones out taking pictures of the big ball in the sky over downtown.
I wander the paths of the park, alone with my phone, frustrated at the paucity of the images it’s able to capture of this monstrous moon. Still, I pace back and forth, stalling, biding time, watching the moon climbing up the sky, waiting out the hours with my heart in my hand at the edge of the park, the street, the sirens, the moon, as my love – no longer new, now a fumbling, faltering marriage – is packing his bags, getting his belongings together, and leaving.
Photo note – usually I use my own photos, but most of these (save the one immediately above) are found from various places on the internet. However as they were largely not credited where I found them, I have left them without credits here with apologies.
Irrational perhaps, I couldn’t tell you why exactly, it isn’t connected to a single memory or association, but is perhaps the sense of invitation, or mystery, or being lost in a field of infinite softness…or maybe it’s the notion of being handled with the delicacy of a feather… I really don’t know, but something about this image to me suggests treasure… Weekly Photo Challenge – Treasure