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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

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I wish I had the money to wipe away all of the debts of my family and friends.  Because if their debts were gone, would that make them happy?  Would financial freedom allow them to treat themselves better, as well as improve their treatment of the people in their lives?  No fancy behavior required, just respect, if not outright love and compassion.

Would it enable them to give the people in their lives a hug, on occasion, or at least a pat on the hand, and even sometimes to perform such actions without even being asked? Would it enable them to talk to each other and communicate in ways that work for all involved and not just one side? Perhaps conversations could take place without someone always having to be wrong so that someone can be right.

window8But I don’t have such funds to give and even if I did, I’m not sure that it would make a difference because in the end, I can control no one’s behavior except my own.  Maybe I should wish for the money so that I can travel around the world, to where all these friends and family members live, those that are suffering and in some form of pain. Perhaps I could pass out those hugs or those pats on the hand, so that certain people know that they are loved and that their presence does make a difference to the people around them and always has, even if words of gratitude are not often shared.

Of late I have received so many calls and notes from friends and family, all suffering in some way, but mostly feeling alone though they are surrounded by others.  I hear only their words, and know that there is always more than one side to any story.  I can make no judgements about those others in their lives.  I just wish that all were happy and each knew how precious each day was to have such people in their lives.  I can listen to the words and I can read the notes but I cannot change behavior.  But there is something I can do.
Each spring into summer, I buy seeds of all kinds, in packages large and small.  I send them out into the world to family and friends, of all ages, to help people pause and maybe even share a precious moment with others as they plant the seeds in the soil.  I send them to the closest of friends and family, and I send them to family and friends I know not very well at all.  I send them to the people who cannot speak to each other in hopes they can plant a seed together even if they do so in silence.  It is a selfish act — to know that I did something, gave something, to another.  I do not know what the seeds do for the recipients or even if the seeds are planted.  I simply hope they are.  I hope they are.

*the photographs are the latest series of photographs taken through the rippled glass, of life blurried but still beautiful

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Art by Jordan S.

Art by Jordan S. (3 years old)

I’m a lucky person.  Adults tell me stories.  Children like to give me art.  Or sell it to me for good causes.  I don’t only accept the art to make the child feel good.  I accept the art because it is unpretentious and celebrates a freedom of expression.  The child artists in this post are between the ages of three and ten years old, live in different parts of the country and do not know each other.  They are different ethnicities.  Some are related by blood, and others I’ve come to know through friends.  I encourage them to send (or sell) me more images.  Maybe one day they’ll send me their words.  😉

Art by Arwyn L., signed artwork sold to help her grandfather who has MS

Art by Arwyn L., signed artwork sold to help her grandfather who has MS

Art by Rokell S.

Art by Rokell S. (10 years old)

Art by Maya S.

Art by Maya S. (4 years old)

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In an old journal, I found the following words.  Perhaps one day I will polish them, but even a bit rough, I feel inclined to share them, paired with some new images.  I suppose I should be sharing a poem, given that it’s Put a Poem in Your Pocket Day, but perhaps there is poetry embedded in these words and images. 

Journal Entry:  Several friends think that I never go to the dark places. That I always see the light in the world. The glass is always at least half-full.  Lemons can always be turned into tasty lemonade.  There is no dark so dense where some bit of brightness cannot be found.  At such accusations, I usually say nothing or  I perhaps point out the beauty of fallen petals upon the ground. I do not to say with indignation, you are wrong because I do go to the dark places. Don’t we all?  I do not say, I have seen the dark clouds descend from once-bright skies and settle over once-clear roads.  Haven’t we all?  But, for me, you know what always happens … even upon the darkened road … eventually?  Winds come and blow the clouds away.  If there is a lingering dark fog, the sun rises and burns it to a cooling mist, refreshing upon the skin. When I’m in the darkest place, pitch black, I don’t always see the light but I know it’s there somewhere.  It has to be. I can feel it even if I cannot see it.  Don’t the blind feel the sun on their faces?

Maybe that’s why I write, why I photograph.  To show that no matter how dark, light penetrates and reveals certain glories. In the contrasts, the shadows created, the silhouettes that emerge, unique beauty is revealed. That is what I want to convey, in whatever medium feels right in the moment.  The simple beauty in this life.

I do not want to ignore the dark, or the fears that spring to life though I may not always share such fears with friends.  I will walk the dark roads until the sun rises.  I will carry a flashlight or a lit candle and if these items should fail then I will take a deep breath and raise my eyes to the sky and focus on the tiny beacons of the stars.  And who knows, I might even see a sliver of moon. All I know is I may walk in the dark – we all do at some point in our lives — but I will not stay there.  I will not.

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For my friend Melissa, I trek through bogs to photograph frogs, all the while hoping they don’t hop down my shirt.  For Emily, I keep an eye out for owls in the wild though mostly right now I just buy her owl stationery.  There’s a young woman in NY who loves squirrels and for her I have even roped Steve into carrying around nuts so we can thank the squirrels for their time in front of my camera.  And for Yves, I find bears, not yet in the wild, though I did come across bear tracks while blueberry picking in Maine.

This fellow I found in the bottom of a bargain bin soon to be tossed out for trash.  Somehow a light sparkled in his eye so that I grabbed him with a triumphant shout.  For seventy-five cents I carried him out the door and one day I’m sure he’ll make his way to his new home.  If I don’t forget to send him on his way.  You see, sometimes I do.  If you were to visit my place, in nooks and crannies and especially on the window sills, you’ll find caches of ceramic frogs, paper owls and bears in so many different forms.

These fellows, comprising a 2011 calendar, I found in a shop in Japan late last year.  It was a joy to find them once again, just in time, to send my dear friend the months still valid … ahem, just December.  As for the bear in the boat at the opening of this post?

Well he and his friends I found at a fair, made of cedar I think and meant to tuck into drawers.  Now I’m sure my young friend has many a drawer and I sure should have sent these to him by now.  And I will.  One day.  Meanwhile I hope that he likes these few photos until he can hold these wee bears for himself.

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