Posts Tagged ‘Inner Harbor Park’

SMALL CREATURES

July 2, 2013

Chameleon in All It's Glory 024 (1024x554) (2)Sometimes –

the world is too much with me:

I find myself riding waves

produced by questionable sources.

Things happen this way:

no blame, no shame.

A moment of distracted weariness,

and the current catches me.

I am caught frequently of late,

yet  as I  drift from this to that –

small creatures appear

and beckon me to stillness.

Bright green chameleon winks at me

as I emerge from some ordeal.

He seems aware of his affect,

and as I click,

displays his eagerness to be admired.

Devil's Walking Stick (Hitching A Ride) 028 (1024x768) (2)A Devil’s Walking Stick

compels me to

“Pull over please.”

Tiny, yet imposing,

he  is not to be ignored.

The hot moist air

caresses me as I click.

Oh Hermit Crab…

Your solitary splendor draws my eye

Hermit Crab on Log (The Tide is Rising) 007 (1024x736) (3)as I walk the dogs in the Inner Harbor Park.

Pulled forward by my canine darlings,

I am yearning

for the still small point of the dance.

Finding you

is a little bit of Heaven…

A reason to assert myself…

The dogs stand still.

Oh bliss…

to lean against the railing of the pier

absorbed by beauty;

to witness change as the water rises;

see you calmly holding firm

no matter what.

School of Minnows (A Few are Blue) 040 (1024x543) (2)An early morning appointment

has me rushing again,

yet I pause for a walk

in a waterside park close to home.

Fortunate me

discovers a school of minnows swimming

just beneath the surface of the water.

They catch the light in charming ways

and lead me a merry chase.

As I aim my camera

and dash to aim again,

the dogs are confused…

entangled in their leashes.

Yet I must follow the stream

of luminous motion

to reach the still small point of the dance.

Advertisements

The Bridge

June 15, 2013

Canadian Geese (A Kiss) 231 (1024x748) (2)Next weekend I will participate in another solstice exhibit at Saint’s Retreat. Yes, I have been asked to dance…and have consented to represent the White Mare Goddess to bless the summer solstice. And yes, I have been asked to exhibit art. My usual drawings are probably expected. Possibly a sculpture… But I am choosing to show a few of my photographs. This takes courage and even a touch of audacity, as I have only been intensely engaged in photography for about nine months. I am definitely not as secure in my pictures as I am in my brush & ink drawings. But this is what I am doing right now.

Carrying a camera with me through my day has opened my eyes in a whole new way to the world around me. And the gifts that appear to me (be it bird, tree, alligator, flower or mud flats on East Beach) have softened my heart. I am warmly attracted to the subjects I photograph. As I stand on my wriggling dogs’ leashes and shoot and shoot and shoot, I forget everything except the beauty and charm of what I am seeing. It feels like an act of love and I am enlivened.

Taking the photographs past the initial experience can be tedious, and also exciting. One can be disappointed in one’s technical limits, or one can be positively amazed by what one has captured. I have been both. And I have discovered that just as with my usual mediums, work is a big part of getting to an image I am willing to share. Blogging has helped me to bridge the gap between personal snapshots and photographs as art. I have even realized how like a painting a photograph can be.

Green Heron Fishing (Color) Etc 031 (1024x768) (3)At the heart of our recent spring, I reached an agreement of sorts with this little green heron. He would model occasionally (on his terms), and I could snap him in his various occupations when I visited the park. But I must control my dogs. Any obvious rowdiness, and he was out of there. Also, when he wearied of being focused upon so intently, he would fly…suddenly…no warning. I never once caught him in flight. My entrancement was too deep. But what a joy to have this opportunity. Repeatedly, he lit up my day, and I have the photographs to remind me of his gift.

Models are everywhere to one who is aware, and the camera definitely heightens my awareness. Another model that has patiently endured my photographic attentions is the Inner Harbor alligator. Mostly at a distance, but now and then pulling his long scaly body up onto the human side of the park. His sun-bathing on the wrong bank fascinates as much as repels. Alligators are unpredictable. It was with nervous caution that I focused and clicked, only discovering later what I had seen through the lens.

Alligator with Design in MindThis is often the way it is. One is surprised by what appears on the computer screen. One has to wonder if one actually saw the zigzag pattern of the land and water. I was certainly focused on the subject as I shot, yet later he seemed secondary to his surroundings. I love the repeated triangles in this photograph. And I can almost see brushstrokes in the water and the muddy bank.

Actually, the element of surprise is perhaps what keeps me so engaged. I may find myself withdrawing slightly from the process: there seems to be a dearth of interesting subjects. My seeing tires and begins to forget what is possible, then I am surprised by something entirely new. I dare a walk in the rain and a strange bird stands on the pier. I don’t know his name, but isn’t he gorgeous: a touch blurry, but oh…those markings…that red eye. And oh, the rain-wet pier. I am fully awake again.

Night Heron on Rain-wet Pier 090 (733x1024) (3)On that same day, as I happily walked, allowing the rain to drench me and to gather in droplets on the coats of my dogs, I received another surprise…yet another reason to pull my camera from its protective pouch: a fellow dog walker…a young girl surprisingly patient with her shaggy old companion. I had been respectful as I glimpsed her with her wonderful polka dot umbrella, but as she walked away, I couldn’t resist.  Photography is like that.

Girl with Umbrella and Dog 096 (757x1024) (2)And just as photography has become a bridge between me and the world I occupy, so might it be a bridge between me and my fellow humans. This wonderful bridge allows me to share my vision of our shared world.

EYE TO EYE

May 1, 2013

Eye To Eye 088 (1024x783) (2)Seeing can be mysterious. I am eager to go eye to eye with the world I inhabit, no less the world that inhabits me. I have even played the part of seer…been called upon for my insightfulness. I admit to being a quester after truth. I want to understand – probably to a fault – long to heal and whole myself to the best of my ability. I know: this questing, understanding, healing must be balanced by faith in divine intervention. I know that surrender is part of the game.

Over the last few months, I have found that photography can be a marvelous means of balancing the inner and outer seeing. Taking pictures of what I see delights me; it helps me to appreciate my world to cherish the simple gifts that each day places in my path. Later I come eye to eye with the image and receive what I have seen. Often it conveys something less than simple to my understanding. I find myself seeing through the beauty or interest of familiar things and fall into the possible meaning as effortlessly as I fell into the shallow waters of The Sound as a child.

Just the fact that I can see myself at the bottom of a glass of water and feel myself drawn to that tiny me is something of a miracle. Isn’t it? Isn’t is wondrous that I am moved to take a picture of a glass I drink from all day and every day just because the sunlight hits it a certain way, wondrous that I can see this as magical and beautiful. I am susceptible to beauty.

Inner Harbor green heron (closer up) 023 (890x1024) (2)Daily I visit the Inner Harbor Park with my dogs. This is our short walk, and short walks have been more or less the rule  as I have been fighting off the UTI.  Actually this has gifted me with opportunities to photograph other frequenters of the park. I came across this young Green Heron just after posting my last blog. Of course it seemed to me that my father’s spirit had entered the body of the bird as an offering to his freedom-loving daughter. The message: there is freedom in painting or photographing freedom.

I tucked the dogs leashes under my feet and leaned on the railing to steady my hands. This is a kind of freedom that Music and Star barely tolerate. They stand or sit as I shoot in a kind of rapture, occasional tugs of impatience travel up my legs, but my mind is set free by this process of absorbing through eye and camera eye. It is always the subject of my focus that lets me know when enough is enough, or possibly – in the heron’s case – the minnows he was catching and swallowing whole have gone elsewhere.. He flew…and I must shake myself free of my rapture and follow my dogs.

Inner Harbor Nutria 244 (1024x768) (2)This little Nutria, having taken refuge from a pre-storm flooding of the harbor had found a feast of delectable green stuff and tolerated my snapping for a limited amount of time before turning a fierce gaze in our direction and pursued. This time we were the ones to fly from the tiny beast intent on… What? I wasn’t waiting to find out.

Another fierce creature – mostly in dormant mode – has attracted my eye. A large and lazy alligator drowses on the opposite bank from the park we humans perceive has “safe”.  His wonderful laid out poses compel me to tuck the leashes and to lean in his direction. He, too, has occasionally demonstrated and a certain limit to his tolerance, has suddenly stirred and lowered his long reptilian body into the water. The water is that which divides him from me and my little dogs. We moved too…right after snapping one last interesting shot.

Inner Harbor Alligator (color) 028 (1024x816) (3)I gaze at this photograph and see balance. If one can move past the slightly menacing nature of the subject, one can perceive that the inner and outer reality is visible. I love the way the water reveals and magnifies the inner and more mysterious aspect of the creature. The original fascination goes deeper. At least mine does. As I said before, seeing can be mysterious. It is relief to me that seeing can be oblique.

When I began this posting, I did have a quest of sorts; I was hoping to find (or to see) some interior reason behind my on-going physical problems: a UTI that lingers, antibiotics that attack my system rather than heal my symptoms, a rotator cuff that continues to pain me in spite of steroid shots and rehab exercises, a digestive system that insists on simple foods and “Please… Less stress…” I have obviously digressed in my quest, but enjoyed the journey. And perhaps I do see (in an oblique way)   that I am – as they say at the clinic where I am currently receiving my antibiotic by injection – a fragile flower. More importantly, it is OK to be a fragile flower.

Walking Iris (fragile flower) 067 (768x1024) (2)

At Home With The Pelicans

February 3, 2013

??????????????????????As I recover from the removal of my second cataract, I find myself drawn to the pelicans that bask on the pier at the Inner Harbor Park. Without the little dogs, I am accepted. The relaxing birds are not threatened by my slow approach. With silent steps I move closer, fascinated by what I can see through the camera’s eye.

I went the first time two days after the surgery, weary of being inside, needing movement and the beauty of nature to remind me of my place in the dance. The left eye was still very sensitive, the pupil not yet adjusting to light. Yet my need to be nourished by the awkward grace of these creatures was greater than my lingering frailty. I needed to focus on something more than my self in order to realize myself.  Besides, nature heals. I know from experience that recognition of my spiritual connection with nature makes me feel more alive.

Why pelicans? Well, I admit to going first to a Japanese Magnolia, knowing that the blooms would not last very long. Their fleeting beauty would be a pleasure to photograph. Then walking back to the place where I had left my car, I thought of the pelicans. I have seen them so many times when walking the dogs…just on the other side of the harbor, tempting me to use my inadequate zoom. Without the dogs to limit my proximity. I could drive around and park near to the place they gather. I was free and they were there.

But now that I have experienced their nearness, and the charm of their inimicable behaviour, it is more than their availability, more even than how priviledged and fortunate I felt to be among these wild beings. In a sense, I could share their sudden and inexplicable urge to soar, to swim, to return, to stretch, to cackle at a neighbor that came too near. The more I lingered, the more patient I was about aiming and taking shots, the more I felt that I belonged. I was almost at home with the pelicans as they went about their simple mode of existence. And they know when to rest, when to huddle down close to the warm boards of the pier, even if they need to keep a watchful eye.

When I finally left them that evening my new eyes seemed to have undergone some sort of initiation or christening. I took home with me a frisson of joy that would spark again when I looked at the photos the next day on my computer screen. Here they were: my friends with their gorgeous feathered raiment, their clumsy stance, their penetrating gaze.  I admired again the strange beauty I had walked amongst, the gestures I had witnessed. I thought of my father, wading amongst them on Horn Island, clipboard and pencil in hand, and felt I understood his long-standing passion for this particular bird. My heart soars with a sense that I may have landed in the strange new land Walter Anderson spoke of in his Horn Island Logs “…where everything I see is new and strange.”

??????????????????????

I Believe In The Christmas Fairy

December 31, 2011

I came upon this young magnolia tree as I walked with my dogs a few days ago. We were on Hudson – a road less traveled by cars and trucks than the street I must brave before I enter the slow, sweet curve of Hudson. The woods that border the road belong to faraway owners, who have either forgotten this land or prefer to leave the thickening foliage for the birds and animals who have made it their haven. The dogs delight in the scents left behind by fox and racoon. The occasional fox sighting is almost too much to bear (for all of us).  But, as I was saying, on this particular day we were blessed by a different sort of sight. Someone had decked this tree with a modest array of ornaments. The sunlight bounced off the golden balls, the magenta stars, and this woman – so tired from the holiday overkill – felt a leaping of heart. My delight in this simple childlike gesture brought me back half an hour later with my camera, which – having a mind of its own these days – has recorded a superfluous amount of light. Can there be too much light? The light seems appropriate in this case, so I post what I saw – at least with my inner eye: a fairy at work. I choose to believe in the secret and mischievous efforts of unseen sprites to bring smiles to the  hearts of those who need a small lift. A small gift…

Small gifts are the ones that have pleased me most this Christmas season. Another gift has been the appearance of a small black cat in the Inner Harber Park that we visit each day. Scruffy, skittish, and persistant in its presence, I couldn’t help my growing awaress of it as a gift of sorts. I began to bring food, and over the last few weeks it knows when we arrive and races from wherever it holds up to yowel, to purr, and to rub its now healthy coat against the dogs. They accept her attentions, sniffing and rubbing in turn, having come to accept this daily ritual.  When she looks up from her hungry partaking of the food I place in a bowl, her eyes – an amazing shade of luna moth green – have an other-worldly glow.  She is not mine, I am not hers, but we gift each other in simple ways.

Abiding

December 4, 2010

Two Ducks Under Sweet Gum TreeFor days I have felt the desire to write this blog. My desire is a soulful desire – abiding as my body yields to flu-like symptoms. Fever, aches and pains, and debilitating congestion have put me on hold, forced me to wait and test the desire. Would it survive frustration? Would it eventually break through the muddled mind and body into clarity? Could I find words to express the very state that had been forced upon me?

Even before the illness – as the holiday season and all it entails began to encroach upon my modicum of peace – I began to contemplate one word and how it might make possible a different approach to the coming weeks. The word is abiding, and when I began to stress  over the usual seasonal demands, it came to me and  hovered in my mind. The word appeared to be a promise and I took it into my heart and made it my prayer.

Not so long ago I wrote a blog called “Companionship” about two ducks who abide in the Inner Harbor Park. Though I have moved beyond the blog, they are still with me – perhaps a symbol for the state I seek. Over the last few months I have done many sculptures of angels – for shows, to display in the Realizations Shop, even filled orders. It is good to know that the work of one’s hands is pleasing to others, and the work itself is satisfying and grounding. The sculpture in the photo above is something else: a gradual creation that came about in the lull between the other more purposeful making. First, one little duck surprised my hands. Then it sat alone on my bookshelf – barely visible unless the sunlight touched it briefly and in passing. A few weeks later – in an idle moment – I made for him a companion – slightly smaller: a gentle mate to join him on the shelf. It was some time before I wrestled the wire into a tree-like structure, and even longer before the leaves appeared, inspired by the star-like foliage of the sweet gum trees. I watched as they did their autumn dance, releasing gold and crimson leaves to brighten the path I took each day.  Then I formed the tiny imperfect ornaments for the tree beneath which my dear little ducks might abide.  No… It is not the real thing, yet it is a modest tribute to the living creatures who inspire me: a work in progress like the state that I aspire to – an icon to inspire “abiding”.