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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

I have written of Steve’s kitchen quite often and in various ways, from the dishes he prepares to the memories evoked by his simple act of making coffee.  This autumn, I have found that even with that cup of coffee in hand, I like to sit in the quiet of his warming kitchen.  Like ritual, I watch the remaining leaves on the towering oak tree flutter in a morning breeze, and then … it happens.  I look across the table at Steve and I say, “The sun is coming around the corner on its sled.”  He says, “Mmmmhmm.”

It does not flood the room, this autumn light.  It moves slowly like honey or light maple syrup across a plate.  My favorite part?  How light pours upon the pot of sage.

It soaks into dusty leaves, alive and dead, and runs along unruly stems.

Truth be told, there are other herbs in the room, on the same little table, buckets of basil, rosemary stalks and more.  But my favorite sight in the morning light, this autumn so far anyway, remains the sage …

…even when its leaves are not green.

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Recently I had a conversation with that fellow in my life about how we have used music to better understand each other.  Where words have failed, sometimes our different reactions to music have revealed something important about the other.  The most humorous moments have occurred when he has tried to share classics with me like Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and in my head pop images of King Arthur racing across a moonlit field to battle (i.e. the movie Excalibur by John Boorman), or as he talks about Wagner’s The Ride of the Valkyries and I suddenly hear “Kill Da Rabbit” … or the whir of helicopters blades  in Apocalypse Now.   He quickly learned that I have been well schooled in music … through the movies.  Since he’s more into books than cinema, I compiled a CD of mostly movie-related music — pieces that move me, that I feel sweep the listener along on a journey, that make a body pause and feel.

“I was born by the river in a little tent

Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ever since …

I now realize that I lost the CD and made no backup.  I didn’t even write down the playlist.  But below are some of the more dramatic pieces that come to mind this bright day.  Warning, there is a certain sorrow to some of the songs, but there is uplift as well.  See what you think when you have a few moments to procrastinate.  FYI, in the spirit of pairing words/images/music, these are all links to YouTube renditions but these videos are just a tease.  I highly recommend viewing the entire movie to see the scenes and/or hear the music in context.

  • A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke, 1963 (moving movie moment is the conclusion of Spike Lee’s movie Malcom X)
  • Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3  (moving movie moment is the conclusion of Julian Schnabel’s movie Basquiat and there’s also the beautiful final scene in the movie Fearless)
  • Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings (played throughout Oliver Stone’s Platoon)
  • Especially after sharing Adagio for Strings with my guy, he introduced me to Ralph Vaughn Williams .  I love his Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis but it is Vaughn Williams’ Dives and Lazarus that I most often listen to when working past a writer’s block.
  • Anything by composer James Horner moves me deeply, but especially his music for the movie Glory.  And then there’s the campfire scene.
  • I’m still not sure if I like the movie Cold Mountain but Gabriel Yared’s soundtrack makes me think of home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It is the sacred harp singing that makes S. weep each time.  I always see fields of gold when I listen to this song.
  • There’s that repetition by composer Philip Glass that drives some people crazy, but even if you hate his music, please close your eyes and listen to the music from the final scenes of Martin Scorsese’s Kundun.  Ah, when that flute sounds …
  • There is Hans Zimmer’s Journey to the Line in Terence Malick’s Thin Red Line.  First time I saw it, I found the movie too chaotic.  I did not want to like it.  But I could not get the words, images and that music out of my mind.  It’s now one of my favorite movies.
  • And, finally, Moby.   There are two songs in particular that I bow down to him for producing.  The first is the music underscoring the final scene in Michael Mann’s movie Heat as DeNiro and Pacino have their final confrontation.  I believe the song is called God Moving Over the Face of the Waters. The second is the song Natural Blues.

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Once upon a time, before I ever thought of picking up a camera, I wrote short stories.  They often involved a bohemian young woman,  in good spirits mostly, searching for something rather intangible.  Not an uncommon storyline I know.

Eventually, in a coffee shop, a tea house, or a meadow by the side of the road,  she would meet a man.  A complicated fellow of the “still waters run deep” sort, if you know what I mean.

The two would engage in all sorts of experiences.  From playful to painful, all of the acts in one way or another focused on finding joy in one’s life …

… and discovering sometimes unexpected beauty if one were willing to see the world through the fresh eyes of another.

Regardless of how much beauty found, by story’s end, the man and woman had often physically parted, choosing to walk separate life paths.

Even so, by story’s end, it was usually clear that the characters would remain forever connected by their memories.

I have not written such stories in many years but they came to mind this week as I sorted through these pictures I took of two friends in their vintage garb.  Knowing of my desire to build my portfolio, they offered me the opportunity to photograph them in various settings.  Quite a treat with such photogenic folk.  And quite unexpectedly inspiring.  Not sure if I will ever put pen to paper for such stories again, but  I do look forward to future fashion shoots.

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The Dublin Moon Series … that’s what I’ve decided to call this week’s creations of papery moons and butterflies and tiny poetry-laced leaves.  The lunar inspiration is clear.  Dublin is in reference to that certain scientist fellow I write about on occasion.  In our time together he has been an unexpected source of creative inspiration.  He’s certainly expanded my thinking about light and angles and even about getting grubby to get the best shot.  Earlier this week he traveled to Dublin for business.  As I helped him pack, we came across a small notebook not much bigger than a matchbook.  It lay at the bottom of a bag he’d taken on a previous trip fishing on the high seas.

I remembered giving him that notebook because on that trip we wouldn’t have much phone contact.  And because I love a good story, I told him to take notes so that he could tell me later about all of his adventures with appropriate detail.  Well, upon his return he managed to tell me a very good story without ever pulling that notebook from his bag.  So nearly a year later we flipped through the pages, chuckling as he deciphered his notes.  Then he came to a phrase that made him pause.  Imagining that he had recorded seeing a mermaid, I laughed and shouted, “What is it?  What is it? What did you write?”

Well, what he had written was this:  “Let me try to see the world through her eyes.”  Now, over the years, I had gathered that as he traveled he sometimes took pictures of things for me like rose clouds in the sky and trees reflected in blue waters.  Once he had texted from a different boating adventure, “As I look out over the ocean, I see a lone butterfly and it makes me think of you.”

I did not create all of these paper works for this fellow, but I do recognize that this form provided a creative outlet for me to engage with him.  I was compelled to imagine what it was like for him to be out on that boat and seeing the butterfly over the ocean, and when he’s traveling in Japan, how he sees the red sun.  Anyway …

I think my paper period is done.  He shall be home soon, and I’ve got a backlog of writing, photography and exhibit-related tasks to focus on. Though, I must admit this morning I did find myself humming Blue Moon. 😉  And I do have a lot of blue paper left.

We’ll see …

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