Spirit of Trees…

Last Friday I began Photo Friday here on the Reluctant Bloger. Not that all my blogs aren’t graced with photographs.  Friday is about the photographs. I looked for a poem to go along the journey of these “Trees”. Yet none captured the real essences of them.

I have been graced to walk among these trees and wood for the last several years, I have 100′s, if not 1000′s of photographs from every season, from spring to summer, into fall, and through winter.

These will be my last few weeks among these trees and wood.  I have been blessed with some amazing photographs in the past few weeks, I share them now.

Last of Autumn
Last of Autumn
Natures blessings
Natures blessings

In the 29 degree weather the warmth of these last past weeks of fall so rich and vibrant. Are jewels.

Autumn Morning Fog
Autumn Morning Fog
in the midst
in the midst

The branches and paths have been my comfort and relaxation, peacefulness is found, joy is discovered.

The Tree!
The Tree!

I share with you my companions, my comforts, my creative Muse ! Nature in all its glory, The Tree!

There are a number of Poems I found and did not use, about the Tree.

You can find many of the photos above here

The leaf !

Before another moment passes, and I am distracted by all the distraction of life. I am here, to write, well to offer you a view. This blog is about art, about photography, the process and the facts.

So Fridays will become Photo Fridays where Photographs will rule the page.

For years I have been fascinated by leaves, all seasons, all weather, and I have photographed them from buds, to blooms, to full fledge green flags flipping in the wind! To what I present today, fallen leaves, carpets of leaves.

Recently I have been photographing fallen leaves, a bit from above, shooting down at them, more fascinating is laying on the ground with me, ant level.

So the new series is being presented. With a poem “Dead Leaves” by MdAsadullah

embrace
embrace

Never think that dead leaves cannot speak.
Words can be uttered without mouth or beak.
Come in heard to hear and they’ll remain mum.
To hear them in solitude you need to come.

are they lonely
are they lonely
are you listening
are you listening

Loneliness and silence are their best friend.
You can listen only if truth you seek and intend.
If you’ve mind and heart to listen, men of clay!
Words more worthy than living they can say.

Heart is strong
Heart is strong
They will whisper..
They will whisper..

If your heart is strong and if you have no fear.
Then in storms they are very loud, very clear.
And if your heart is weak in breeze come near.
Truth of this life they will whisper in your ear.

patterns
patterns
did they speak
did they speak

 

I am grateful to have you walk this path with me today. I am honored to share these wondrous creations, the leaf with whoever wanders down a path. Please “see” .

All Photographs can be found here

What is true, what is pretense, what is…

inward
inward

 

it feels like everything that came before has been a pretense, a false start. as I grasps for my reality this morning my serenity is devolving into a massive heap on the floor, like scattered dirty laundry, colorful but smelling of being worn to long. The endless weeks of being weakened by a cold, has left my plans and projects sitting collecting dust. Has caused loneliness and emptiness to seep into the fabric of my being. i have missed events I wished to attend to photograph and be part of. Willing to spend my last few dollars to do so.

Is this illness, this cold, the flu, the true culprit or the endless dreams and visions which seem to energize my being for short periods of time, that keep drifting off like a mirage, wafts of smoke from a conjurors magic spell? Am I truly lost, have a just been spinning narratives in my mind. Have I truly failed at my life’s purpose?

How do I keep going, when my dreams and visions don’t seem to fit into a world that no longer cares for magic for healing, for beautiful?

shadowed wall/closed window.
shadowed wall/closed window.

I surrender now, I let go. Right now I am fighting the demons of illness. My center has been blasted out of me! It is debris, it is trash. Is there still worthy pieces, can they be upcycled, reinvented? Do I just burn them all and scatter the ashes in the ground hoping natures has use for them?

Waking up, feeling like you have not slept, body sore, chest heavy, the head in urgent need of coffee. Coffee cold but drunk, like an achlie’s long needed fix to face the day.

Stark blank screen endlessly fills with words, streaming out some thoughtful, many just flowing from one place to the next.

Coffees fresh and hot now. or was when I started. Nothing changed since I sat down to write, or has it?

There is no blame, there is no what if’s, should haves, there is knowing that it is within me, to show up. I showed up, this is the present. Is the future I wish to have? Not at all!

Illness, attracts ego playing mind games, playing tricks, making fun. Well it is not fun. Ego, get out-of-the-way, we have better things to do that lay about feeling sorry for ourselves. Is one step at a time, one activity at a time.

Breaking through
Breaking through

Let the little glimmers of light break through. The world is created within the steps, moving forward while sometimes going around or over.

 

Dear Volcano (writing 101)

Hi Hi Hi ...

Dear Volcano

 

It seems I have a volcano within my being or maybe just in my crazy mixed up head? Is a volcano a mountain I need to climb and explore? Is it the inner workings, the heat, the fire, the massive pushing and pulling that creates the mountain that needs attention?

I’m talking about this writing course. I took this on because I thought it would be a good way to enhance what I was already blogging/writing about. Maybe it will but right now, it is painful. No not really painful, frustrating and confusing.

Writing has always been more of a stream of consciousness process. Usually prompted by something I read, a meditative reading from a book or poem not these crazy seemingly off the wall assignments. If I wanted fucking assignments I would go back to school. Okay, okay, I am not being graded. Yes I know I took this on myself. So there is no one to point fingers at except yourself, your desire to learn, to improve.

So Volcano if you are pushing the plates together, heating up the lava, spewing smoke and ash up to the surface please feel free to do so. I am so behind in these assignments that I almost quit. Quitting means the frustration would only boil over sometime later in another fashion or other.

The idea of prompts with a twist was fun at first. I found creative ways to still write non-fiction blogs based on what is or has happened in my life. Than the subjects became more difficult in the fact that I had to use voices that were not mine. I was asked to make up a story. Use my imagination, what are  you kidding. Oy!

So Volcano you roared some more but did not produce. Oh maybe a little? There are a couple of drafts in your files to re-read, edit, and finish up, that may work. There are rumblings in my head, stories I keep going over, yet ego says, “you’re not ready for that type of writing. This is not what your blog is about.”   So you calm down for a while. Later in the day the emails come with new ideas, new assignments, new tips on how to go about this or that.  I love those links that offer more advice from established writers. They offer ideas and reassurance that all is good in the world. The rumbling and smoke is all part of the building of the process.

Yours Truly,

The writer within

 

Well there that wasn’t so bad was it? Ha ha. I want to thank Kaye for her blog this morning writing on the positive side, the gratefulness of the process, even when she can’t find the time, etc. Here is the link to her story.

Assignment:

Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.

Have a nice day

Assignment: Give and takeWrite a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else. Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!

 

There was a time I lived in a very rural area of upstate NY. Living away from the everyday world was a choice yet still on some occasions one has to come off the Mountain to purchase supplies or just to visit other areas. One fine spring day, I borrowed a fellows car to go to town, I don’t remember the reason but I do recall an experience.

Moving down the Highway

I had accomplished my errands, and was headed back home. The day was beautiful, with nice fresh spring breeze, the road before me was long and wide open. Music blaring from radio or could have been a CD? I was enjoying the moment, windows open, singing out loud, the trees whipping by. Then, I spotted him. That dark car parked at the edge of the line of trees, slowing down after I passed,  too late.  I looked behind to see the police car coming behind me, now the lights. I slowed more and pulled over to stop. Letting down the window while searching for my licence and other important documents I may need.

Turning to the window which was now block by the middle section of the police offices dark uniform, tightly fitted to his form. “Good afternoon Officer!”

Bending over to look into the car, strong hard voice says, “Afternoon! License and insurance please.”

“Yes sir.” I replied, handing over them over.

“Do you know how fast you were going? In a rush somewhere?” He ask.

“Not at all. I was kind of spaced, enjoying the day. The car is a friends and I am not aware of its power.” Lame statement, made before my mind could catch up to my mouth. The officer walked back to his car.

Sitting there for what seems to be eternity, wondering about a ticket, how much, what my friends going to say, how will I pay this, and on and on. You know how it goes.

Catching movement from the patrol car, the office emerges, placing his cap back on his head. Again his midsection darkens my window, bends over face inches from mine, handing me back the licence and insurance card. “Everything seems in order here. Next time pay attention to the speed limit and your driving. This is only a warning notice. Enjoy your day”

I sigh in relief watching him walk back to his car again. I take a few moments to be thankful. Start the car, driving off to enjoy my day!

enjoy your day

There are values in pain…

There are values in pain that are difficult
to see without the presence of a guest.

Don’t complain about autumn.
Walk with grief like a good friend.
Listen to what he says.

Sometimes the cold and dark of a cave
give the opening we most want.

–Rumi

 

A little over two years ago I noticed my Mom’s mind wasn’t functioning properly and when we had an appointment at the her Dr’s I ask about it. I wasn’t really used to being around mom that much at the time. She had a man friend and they would travel back and forth from Vermont to Myrtle Beach, stopping here on occasion for Holidays and Dr appointments. At that time I ask to see the Dr as well, to check her responses to normal questions. In his office she seemed to have answered correctly, even with being a bit distracted. Mom was not a very good listener, usually ready with a question about something else, maybe it was a way to deflect until she remembered.

Mom

Sometime later at her Heart Dr’s appointment, the Dr even came out to me to explain what she was to do for her self-care. He was concerned because she would not focus, and didn’t understand what he was trying to tell her, mentioning he would talk with her regular Dr. when I mentioned that we had discussed her memory issues and he was not concerned at this time.

At that point she went off with Lee, her man friend, I am sure which direction at the time. Her greatest joy was being with Lee and his Shih tzu Billy. She had a whole other family and friends there that she no longer had at home in NJ. Sometime later 3 months maybe she came home basicly  for good. Lee was concerned for her and he was having his own health problems.

Taking this walk with her was not my planned version of end life process, yet I was giving the task of being her caregiver, unprepared in every conceivable way. I began walking the autumn path of grief, anger and frustration with her it was not a happy time.

Continue reading There are values in pain…

The View from Here.

There was a time that each morning I awoke to loving warmth of my two Golden Retriever’s, Riley and Muffin. We would get petted and nudged, roll over, dance in excitedness to see me and to begin their day. Pushing their way out the door, Muffin always first because Riley was a gentleman, but always the protector. Off we would go down the street, to our little woods, what was left since the building of the Great Wall of FedX and accompanying business. The path led along the wall of fake stone front and cement, the fortress wall only went so far, and there was plenty of nature to our left to entertain.

enter

The trapeze act of squirrels scurrying from tree branch to tree branch, High wire jump from tree to tree, chattering all the way. The sounds of birds everywhere, The Cardinal elongated call and sharp whistle informing others of intruder in woods their red flash through the green always gave them away. The chick a dee’s in winter, their little gray tones sitting on branches and following along our path. The call for the Red Tail Hawk informing us from far above that he was there, but disturbed by our presence, circling in deeper and deep turns to scout for it breakfast.  On rare and lucky occasion we would get stared down by young white tail deer until one of the dogs would get wind of it, with a bark, start chasing after what now would be a small family of deer, running off along the little paths created by them to get away, disappearing in the brush.

shifting These adventures are multi purpose, the dogs got to run about freely, in a somewhat “wild” area. They would run off this way and that, sniffing, digging, rolling in something smelly. I was always in sight if not they would wait until I was or comeback to look for me. What was I doing observing, observing the light, the shadow. That green was no longer just green it was every hue of green, emerald, forest, yellow-green. The leaves shaped like stars, or maples others of oak brown green, contrast with humus of the ground rich decay of many past season of leaves, wood in branches and whole trunks that had fallen over or uprooted by the weather. In those logs chipmunks flashed by making its chirping sound causing Muffin to go into a frenzy. All this time I am waiting for the view, the right setting, the shadow here, the light just hitting there, on a mushroom or a leaf, a twisted sticker vine, spying little blue flowers, violets, and Queen Anne’s Lace, Mountain laurel, all to be photographed.

exist

Each season provided an never ending evolution of tree, plants, downed wood, fungi and mushroom popping up here and there, the rains made streams and puddles, created stick dams to hold things back, to wade over and to sit in. Seasons changed, the years have unfolded, progress took more of forest, years took Riley just this spring. Muffin who is now older stops and starts, would rather have attention than an actual walk, even though we manage at least once a day to get a full walk. There is always photography happening, I am never without my camera, Nature is my muse, she shines and dance, she sit gracefully, she changes clothes in full view of the world. Life is an impressive, expressive place. Look around, be present. View it from Here.

Riley and Muffin
Continue reading The View from Here.

Ordinary to Extraordinary

“We ourselves must choose each step. And to choose each step and be strong enough to endure what will follow on our repeated choice we have to develop a deep spiritual practice within the terms of ordinary life, trying at all moments to stay centered in the heart, the truth of the heart, the peace of the heart, so that the pain of growth can be borne within that peace and be infused by it” Andrew Harvey: The Return of the Mother.

Is life ordinary? Or is it not extraordinary!!! Extraordinary that we breathe each moment into the next moment. That life is ever evolving with or without our conscious involvement within it. Last evening I was granted a gift beyond my understanding of deserving the gift. Along with that gift the sense of gratitude overwhelmed me to tears, overcome with a sense of “how do I accept this?” What do I say, how can I repay this presentation? Than the realization of deeper friendship and love that lies within the gift from artist to artist, and friend to friend. Out of the depths of ordinary, out of showing up each day, out of the reaching out the hand to another one has reached back.

The songs “Make Believe” and “If I Loved You” touched some old memories, yet new meanings were layered over those memories of romantic love to to understand the idea of “acting as if” to believe in oneself even when the world seems to be falling about around you. When nothing seem to be in your favor. The Universe shines the light, cools the breeze, touches a place that has been unaired and darkened by survival.Glimpse of light

On each repeated choice we have to develop a deep spiritual practice, that practice is showing up each day, being aware of the details, being grateful sometimes just to get to the end of the day or waking in the morning.

Staying centered in truth, in peace, and in love.

I wrote the upper part of this on July 8th I didn’t believe it captured the essence of what I was trying to convey. So all writing stopped.

What have I been up to since the last blog? I have been rediscovering who I was, who I am meant to be. That uncovering is slow, yet warm and welcoming at times, is any of it practical? Who knows? Have I ever really been practical? Not very much, as serious as these blogs seem to be, I am not a practical person in that light the twist and turns of my life will attest to.

Now of course I have to get practical or serious in some cases. Taking care of myself. I need help financially, there is no more kindness of stranger or Mom. Of course once the house sells there shall be an amount that if properly managed can subside the plans I have to maintain my photography work, and build a healing/spiritual practice.

Until than I had to apply for food stamps, which I received and has been very useful for purchase of food.
There was a blog planned for that discussion. The uses of the gifts of natures goodness, plants and veggies. A friend had taken me to Produce Junction and we shared our abundance and I was more than grateful, overwhelmed with the kindness. What so much a little could buy.

Before all of this I had connected with a friend who has a space that is called Holistic Living Studio in Glassboro NJ. We shared Reiki together and as we checked in with each other she offered the space to do my Reiki practice and to host the Reiki Share. At the time I was still kind of numb but grateful for the offer and I truly considered it. A month ago we had our first Reiki share group which well attended, the vibrations/energy motivated those numb parts of me to say yes. Let’s do this thing!

The Buddha Sits

I placed out into the Universe that I am receiving Reiki Clients, three days a week during certain hours. The Universe has not gotten that message out yet but I am sure she will very soon. Along with that a friend got in touch with me with in days of saying yes to the use of the studio about doing Essential Oils workshop and a Fire Ceremony Shamanic event. We got the energy flowing for those to happen.
In that same inspiration, we discussed Reiki 1 classes for the fall. I am looking into Crystal and stone practice healing workshops, and meditation practice, as well as so many other assorted possibilities.

How practical is all of that. This is what I am suppose to do, these are the gifts I was given to share. This has been my vision for a long time. The light is now beginning to shine brightly again.

One more gift that was graciously given to me. A few weeks before my birthday I placed on my status on Facebook if anyone wished to give me a Birthday gift, the suggestion was to purchase Street Photo books from Michael Penn. I had committed to buy his self produced Philadelphia Project,  full page black and white photography magazines for $10 each. With the recent setback financially I could not afford them, and he had been saving them for me. Within less than an hour someone who I know from photography group messaged me that he was working with Michael to get the books for me. I was stunned and extremely excited and beyond grateful! I received all the back-ordered books and more, a week later!

These gifts are gifts that have been so freely given. I hope to honor that with my practice of healing and paying it forward when opportunities present themselves!

I have chosen the steps, I have consciously awakened mind, body, and spirit, through continual practice of sharing gratitude that allow the flow and vibration to bring these sources of abundance to us. The Universe has more than enough to share, so share the gifts of love.

I am Love…

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