not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

moose, the noun and the verb

east side of the road against the line of the dense forest, dusk.  this is precisely what it is to stare into the face of a moose.  precisely.  i could show you the ordinary face of the moose, the one he wears, the one we are familiar with, the one we expect, except as i stared into his true face only some feet away i was unable to think toward my hands and adjust my camera. 


moose, east side of the road, killarney, ontario

earlier in the day i stopped to touch the remarkable head of a dandelion.  i ate fresh strawberries picked by my own hand, strawberries! with specific strawberry flavor.  and earlier than that during a run i paused and ate a pink head of clover.  five days before i stopped during my run and touched the flower of a lupin, a flower i have loved but never once touched before.  each petal unit was like a bell or a pocket, its keel covered by two wings creating its unique shape.   all these years i had no idea.  as i drove toward the forest i touched my arms and my neck, my nose, as i do, becoming reacquainted over and over again with this body that houses me. earlier in the morning i discussed with james through a post of ruth's the heated nature of how language is both a bridge toward and a bridge away from true understanding.  and then the day. and then this moose.

if you could take earth that has never been seen before and stitch it into a cloak and throw it around the shoulders of an ancient idea, this is what i want to tell you the moose's colour was.  the ancient idea would be breath, first breath, a handful of breath lung sized thrown into the house of a body, the breath before human, the one before language was born.  the moose breathed, it snorted, distinct in its body, as distinct as the dandelion and the strawberry, as the clover and the lupin, but with awesome and terrible animation, the moose was.

we stared at one another with only the distance of a few dark feet between us.  at first the moose was stock-still willing me blind.  i was careful to not take my eyes off it.  i put down my car window and slowly raised my camera.  some time passed in the world with both of us breathing.  when it realized i was not being lured into its trick of blindness it willed me away with its strength.  it tossed its head and snorted.  did it stomp its feet?  it raised its left front leg and scraped it against its right front leg.  didn't i understand what it was capable of?  yet still i did not go.  it was still again and we stared at one another.  again there was only time between us, time and the distance in me of being human.  i think we both knew there were moments of decision.  it might have charged me.  (what might i have done in its mind?) but i could not help myself except to remain and be who i am, deeply curious, entranced with possibility.  i was staring into the face of our history, well past the obstacles of being human, except for my being human, of course.  inside the moose is the information we need to understand ourselves.  we too exist in a place beyond language but sadly we have no ability to be aware in that place.  our language keeps undoing our experience of it.  (although this is paradoxically our happy situation, as well, our ability to utter and communicate.)

the moose began to move its awesome body toward me.  i was not going to move.  whatever was to happen would happen.  and then it suddenly veered off away from me onto the road. 

he entered the forest on the east side but did not flee into it.  he was not afraid.  he kept his strong rump toward me and immediately munched foliage, as though consuming were a part of his horrible being, something i should be frightened of.  (yes, moose, i am wary and sometimes weary of consumption.) 

i sit here now typing this, thinking of the moose i saw, conjuring up the memory of his dark face.  although i know the location of the encounter, although i understand i met him on a road through the forest in killarney, i feel his face present inside me, as though it lurks in the meated tissue located in the back part of my skull behind my brain.

moose, west side of the road, killarney, ontario

Friday, June 28, 2013

no matter how naked the photographer tries to make the world

no matter/how naked the photographer tries to make the world

no matter how naked/the photographer tries to make the world

no matter how naked the photographer/tries to make the world

no matter how naked the photographer tries to make/the world

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


and what if there is nothing behind begging to be revealed?


Monday, June 24, 2013

on and on we go. Meanwhile,

it's simple,

god says.

my gift to you is distance.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

collecting wild roses

as i drive i touch my neck, my chin, the beginning of my face and i practice,  i will die, i will die, I. will die. and outside of myself i recognize the countless other i 's that come into and out of being.  i will die.  it is inconceivable and yet true.

the other day my son corrected me on something.  i don't rightly remember what but whatever it was it elicited this response, "well, really mom," he said with a casual tilt of his head, secret informer, leaning his shoulder with practiced wisdom, "we are all dying, just some of us more quickly or slowly than others."  such wisdom at such an age, only 11. 

but days later i thought to test his wisdom.  perhaps he had learned only the words and mannerisms framing the truth, not the truth itself.  while sitting together at the kitchen island talking about a possible trip i might do on my own i said to both my children, "but really, if i ever die while running or hiking, by bear or by bad water, please at least know i died doing something important to me, something i love." 

my daughter seemed dismissive and possibly bored with this but i can't know the depths of her response.  she is so complicated and distant.  my son however stared into my eyes in deepening pools of fear and despair searching for something. after all i do run, i do hike and bears and bad water are real, therefore death is a real possibility. 

i hooked him with words before he was completely lost, "truly son, it would be ok.  i will die some time."  i touched his hand. 

he rose up from the dark pool toward me.  "ya," he said, cutting into his pie with his fork, "i could die too, even right now." 

i looked at him seriously.  "this is true, you know," i said. 

"yes," he replied, having a large bite of his pie and speaking through it, "and mom, just know, if i die right now, i've died doing something i love." 

raspberry pie is his favorite.

i turn off the highway onto the dirt road.  i will die, i continue to practice, not knowing even of myself how deeply i know this.  beside me on the floorboard rattles an old bottle of water.  i plan to find a wild rose to bring home for my window.  in this way i mean to practice both being here and letting go.

collecting wild roses

the woman went out into the world to collect a wild rose because a wild rose evoked in her a memory, hers but not hers alone, nostalgia tied to longing, not only for the past, but also for the future.

and then the woman went out into the world to collect berries and wood to make a table.  she made a bowl.  she made a window.  she put the berries into the bowl and ate them in the morning light shining through the window. 

and then the woman went out into the world to collect more.  she collected more and more and more, acorns and cedar boughs, stones and mollusks, twilight, dusk and all that existed between them, consuming happily that which spoke to her essentially and necessarily.

her body was found some years later on the floor beside the table, the bowl tipped over, the whole of the world once gathered, now spilled out.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013


practicing the sweet intersection between the world of flowers and humanity

and forgiving ourselves for being here

Saturday, June 1, 2013

"the void is the supreme fullness, but man is not permitted to know it."

"God could create only by hiding himself.  Otherwise there would be nothing but himself."

"It is possible for us to be mediators between God and the part of creation which is confided to us."

simone weil, gravity and grace