Treasure Two

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.stalactiteAnd 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 -
orange calciteAnd turning it this way and that, trying to find the best angle, I heard a crash behind me -
kitty w featherAhhhhh, 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. kitty w feather 2One 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…
Treasure indeed…
Weekly Photo Challenge – Treasure

Moons I have seen

In honour of tonight’s full moon and Valentine’s day, a revisit –

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.

Treasure

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

Selfies now and then

FIRST STEP, hit play –

Errands had to be run – downtown, all around, this and that and here and there.
In a little knick-knack store in Chinatown that has yielded so many delightful little 50¢ treasures in the past, I came across a rather spectacular masquerade mask. Have no use for it whatsoever, but at $2.99, I couldn’t resist.
Figured if I put it on and took a picture of myself and funked it up with some apps to a grungey snow queen finish, I could text it to a friend to make her laugh.
Still haven’t heard back from her yet…
selfie
One of the latest collages I have going has an old-fashioned selfie element – my face squashed into the glass of a photocopy machine, there in the bottom right-hand corner. It was part of some art offering to a boyfriend way back in the day, back in the day when there were more boyfriends than you could shake a stick at and impulsive photocopy art seemed like a good idea, before the weight of life experiences grew up and around my little self…
fish fire collageWeekly Photo Challenge – Selfie

In the desert

We were walking along, my son and I – it felt like that trip to Arizona when he was 10 or 11 and wore his city kid shades on the horse ride out into the desert and Bill, who led us out on our little horse-riding expedition called him “cowboy” over and over and told him to watch for rattlers in amongst the stones.
But we were walking this time, and as we turned into a small dry gorge, in amongst the boulders and caves and stones there were all kinds of snakes, multi-coloured snakes, beautiful in all their patterns and brilliant colour combinations.
Probably not very safe though, I thought, so I suggested we’d best leave this small canyon, turning us both back towards the entrance.
But there, crouched and waiting, silent and watching from the rocks, were dozens and dozens and dozens of black panthers.
Tails flicked in the sun. Whiskers twitched slightly in the air.panther collageThere was no easy way out of this little room amongst the stones we’d stepped into – snakes on one side and panthers on the other.
I hoisted my son onto my back, began to flap my arms, and lifted us off the ground into the sky.

4th, maybe 5th black panther dream in the last couple of months.
Been reading up on ‘em.
From Ted Andrews –

In China there were five mythic cats, sometimes painted like tigers or leopards. The black reigns in the north with winter as its season of power, and water its most effective element. This is the element of the feminine. This is the totem of greater assertion of the feminine in all her aspects: child, virgin, seductress, mother, warrioress, seeress, old wise woman…
To the Indians of North and South America, the jaguar especially in the form of the black panther, was endowed with great magic and power… the black panther was the god of darkness and could cause eclipses by swallowing the sun. This reflects the tremendous power inherent within the feminine forces.

Gosh. I realize now it was probably one of those dreams where I should have faced the threat, the fear, asked it what it wanted, and made it an ally.
As Robert Moss suggests -

Trying to escape dream challenges by fleeing back into ordinary reality is a poor life choice. The issues we confront, or fail to confront, in dreams are issues we need to deal with now. In an even larger sense the dream state is an arena in which we are trained and tested in choice and courage and our ability to grow.

Hmmmm.
Time to try mastering lucid dreaming or at least some kind of re-entering the dream.
On the other hand Jamie Sams says –

If the black panther has appeared today, it may be telling you not to worry about the future… Let go of fears that appear as obstacles or barriers. Embrace the unknown and flow with the mystery that is unfolding in your life. The next step may be leaping empty-handed into the void with implicit trust.

At any rate, it’s definitely getting a little bizarre the repeated dreams of large cats.
Most of my friends say they dream about things like their boss at work and maybe strange scenes in elevators and subways – regular daily stuff repurposed for the dream world.
Imagery so far outside what I see every day (like, um, snow just lately) seems to want some attention…

What strange creatures appear in your dreams, gentle reader?

Juxtaposition (cleaned up)

salgado claw collageLately I’ve been doing more juxtaposing than anything else – taking bits and scraps of my own photos and other people’s photos and paint and glue and words and crayons and fragments of paper and throwing it all together - flamingo heart collageThere’s an easiness to it compared to drawing and painting, compared to facing the blank page…and yet it’s sort of scary and exhilarating to desecrate a beloved favourite photo – the Sebastiao Salgado claw in the first collage, the Steve McCurry child in a blue alley below -buffalo - deer collageThe photo of a little girl in the centre of the one above is me.  Years ago Brenda from Burns the Fire made a splendid collage with the same photo as a gift – it has faded with the years but still makes me happy -brenda collageWeekly photo challenge – juxtaposition