Category Archives: Abstract Photos

The unseen – Part 1

There comes a time when the world ends.
Sucked inside a speck of dust.
And it stays like that for untellable time.
— Bhikkhu Sujato

Umbels of spotted water hemlock (a.k.a. spotted parsley or spotted cowbane; Cicuta maculata) in full bloom (20080629_08473_ab)

They no longer fool either of us, the gratuitous leaves of your platitudes, but instead they fall at my feet, more autumnal detritus to be swept away by the winds of change.

“Come,” you say, “let our intellects wrestle.”  Now the truth.

We stumble along boulevards of ideas, the two of us directed only by your wanton greed.  So much passes unnoticed.  Not by me, of course, for the silken pleasures and the heartfelt aches are mine.  Yet they matter not in the world you create for us, the world over which you rule.

Your rapt gaze falls elsewhere, toward the irrelevancies of others.  Their smallest dawns are your brightest sunrises, their every whisper a profound ringing in your ears.  And I walk alone in the shadow you cast, a puppy begging scraps dropped to keep me there.

How am I?  The question rings hollow now, finally, at last.  Its rhetoric stands as clear as glass, though it was not always so.  But then that remains true of much between us.  I needed time to see, to open my eyes wide so they might consume what is as opposed to what might be.  Emotional worth is a most potent intellectual blinder.

The sun setting behind a small strip of clouds (20081011_13814_ab)

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
— T. S. Eliot

The physics of beauty

Does one need to understand optical slits and diffraction in order to appreciate an opalescent spider web at sunset?

An opalescent spider web at sunset (20080617_06940_a)

Does one need to understand descriptive geometry and linear perspective in order to appreciate how objects grow smaller as they grow more distant, and how on a foggy day these lend to the magic of a simple scene?

Sailboats moored on a foggy day (20080126_01629_a)

Does one need to understand static charge and atmospheric electrical discharge in order to appreciate when the cosmos draws patterns in the sky, or how its rapid pressure and temperature changes cause a sonic shock wave that results in the booming voice of heaven?

Lightning (20080423_04530_a)

Does one need to understand caustic networks, catastrophe optics, and focused and defocused lensing in order to appreciate the play of light and shadow beneath the water’s surface?

A caustic network of light at the bottom of a brook (20080426_04781_a)

No, one need not understand any of those things in order to appreciate their results.  But in my opinion the understanding makes them all the more beautiful.

The measure of a life

Abstract image of a wooden footbridge with crepuscular rays streaming down through the trees (20080824_11279_c)

It took one tornado to fully appreciate Mother Nature’s power, one sunset to fully appreciate her beauty, and one solar eclipse to fully appreciate her complexity.

It took one dSLR and one day to learn how to take real photographs.

It took more than twenty years to figure out I didn’t need someone to be happy.

It took ten years with someone to see there are different kinds of happy.

It took the death of that someone to understand that every love lasts forever.

It took one true love to comprehend exquisite pain and sorrowful contentment.

It took waking up beside someone and feeling a profound sense of happiness that they were there to appreciate what it means to truly know.

It took nothing longer than a blink to comprehend that no creature in my care deserves to face death in the cold confines of a veterinary office.

It took until drinking age to face the reality of who I am.

It took one mercy killing to recognize I can’t be the cause of another creature’s death without feeling a part of me die.

It took thousands of books to learn thousands of books don’t tell the whole story.

It took one tale to recognize one is all it takes.

It took most of my life to understand the importance of living my dreams and making reality the existence I wish for.

It took one death to fathom the loss of a single life is a pain that never heals.

It took one true friend to teach me how valuable friends are.

It took a five-year grudge to comprehend that hate will never hurt anyone more than the person who harbors it.

It took repeated betrayals to learn that wise men forgive but only fools forget.

It took innumerable kisses to know that none will ever compare to the first one.

It took losing something I never had to appreciate how much I wanted it.

It took a lifetime to see a lifetime is both not long enough and far too long.  For anything and everything.

On the road

Abstract of small highway leading through trees (213_1360)

There lies across the landscape a small highway, a road just two lanes wide with space enough on each side for cars rolling along in single file.  A tiny road stretched like ribbon over hills and through woodlands carries visitors across East Texas in endless processions.  I know it all too well.

Houses grow alongside the concrete path like clumps of moss.  They stand above the road on hillsides casting their gaze down on the world, and they strain to look up at passing cars from valleys where they seem dropped purely by accident.  The scene rushes by me silently, perhaps even hopelessly, and I wallow in the rare treat of seeing life stir behind masks of time and age.

Restless winds wander amongst the old houses with their old people.  For they’re all old there, I know.  Even the children—if they can be called that, I mean—even the children are born old.  Young people don’t exist in that place, only shorter adults treated like dolls by parents who wish to dress them so they might appear young.  But they aren’t.  I know it and they know it.

History lies like a blanket along that highway.  Even the air tastes of centuries.  Handmade clothes and rickety buildings fit like frames around perfect pictures taken when cameras were new.  It all seems so preserved, I think, ‘canned’ in the local vernacular of jellies and vegetables and fruits, like Mason jars tucked neatly away on shelves behind threadbare curtains and doors propped against walls which long ago separated from squeaky hinges.

I’m reminded by them, by the people as much as the hamlets stretched for miles…  I’m reminded of what we once had, what we’ve given up for advancement.  A terrible loss, that.  Too much sacrificed; too much given.

I drive through all those lives and still don’t see them clearly.  My view of it remains distorted.  My memories skew along plastic money called American Express and Visa, and it haunts me still that so much can’t be seen despite its evident nature.  Damn me for being a credit card caller in their world.

Only when I look back do I see the paintings I missed while hurrying through their little gallery of existence.  The beautiful canvases laid out with careful attention, and what did I do with them?  I drove right past seeing little and feeling less.

The sun dances upon the hood of my car as its face jumps from tree to tree.  It follows me, and it tells me to slow down.  I don’t listen.  It’s my loss.

When words do an injustice

A ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) hovering (2008_12_07_001120)

Hovering, by a ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis)

Dried limbs at the edge of a marsh (2009_01_17_004321)

Dried limbs at the edge of a marsh

A tree in sunlight stands against the backdrop of a storm moving in over Dallas (2008_12_27_003596)

The coming of the storm

A winter wren (a.k.a. northern wren; Troglodytes troglodytes) perched on a dried branch in front of a sunlight-filled marsh (2008_12_28_003856)

A winter wren (a.k.a. northern wren; Troglodytes troglodytes) perched in starlight

Brittle thicket at woods edge (2009_01_17_004456)

Brittle thicket at woods edge

A great egret (Ardea alba) framed by thick brush (2009_01_17_004318)

A great egret (Ardea alba) framed by thick brush

In winter, a waxing gibbous moon at sunset (2009_02_03_006443)

In winter, a waxing gibbous moon at sunset

A small waterfall at dusk (2009_02_03_007399)

A small waterfall at dusk

A ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula) fluttering from a branch (2009_02_01_005450)

A ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula) fluttering from a branch