My neighbor’s yard man runs the mower over what is essentially prickly dirt. I stand watching under a bare tree whose branches curl a come-hither. I notice myself conspicuous and pervy watching the yard man, my fidgety hands in my pockets. This would all be perfect Southern California Winter—me, bare tree, pockets, pervyness, yellow yard, yard man outrunning the mild chill. All perfect had all these things not been dead since Spring.
Shadow at the tips and Shadow at the center like A god who is honest about What it means to be a god.
I am legally blind so I know—photography is a weird sport for me. What I am finding so lovely about it though is that I am often capturing with the camera things I would have never seen with my naked eye. To me, in the bright day, this gazania looked like a simple white blur on a field of messy green. It wasn’t until I got home and started working with the picture that I saw all it’s beautiful purple and that soft explosion of orange at the center. I look forward to many more visual surprises the camera is bound to catch for m.
I had fun with this one. I used a fish eye lens—my first successful experience with that. I played with the color a little in processing, but most of that is the natural light that comes in my office through the dark pink drapes.
I did a lot of selfies first, (the one below I like a lot), and I seemed to get a good bead on “depression” which is certainly a darker side of me, but I think the sad arrogance I got in the first photo is far more on point when it comes to personal darkness.
Sort of weird to start the year on the dark side, but I can say the bright side it exposes is knowing that even though I am low vision, I can find fun and creative expression in photography that is meaningful to me. May your 2021 be marvelous and full of opportunities to let your creative light shine.
Let’s get vulnerable with each other. Let’s get naked and play the mirror game. Let’s do it in front of a group of twenty-somethings with their whole brilliant lives ahead of them. Let us let them sit cross-legged in a circle around us and let us let them bombard us with questions as we try to mirror each other’s movements exactly.
We’ll have to answer honestly and be beastly to ourselves in this game because it is impossible to lie focused only on each other, move for move, even down to the twitch in the corner of my mouth and yours when someone lazily lobs, “What is your worst feat?”
We say, “This.”
We are afraid of this. We are afraid of only ever being as good as each other, locked in the hopelessness of leprous perfectionism. Not singly—mutually. Each other’s. Always each other’s.
We are afraid of this: falling short, move for move, in each other’s eyes forever.
Having too much time is like having too much money—it’s an asshole thing to complain about, but still a problem.
Whoever painted this mystery on my street—likely an alien—knew clearly where she was going and clearly where everyone else should be and what we all should avoid. She knew to tell everyone that if they dug here, something terrible would explode. Warning was the alien’s meaningful work.
She wrote: It would all go down in February.
Someone who came after—likely a human, likely me with my one blue running foot rudely in the shot—must have had too much time on her hands—an asshole problem—and, grasping around for something to fill her hours, investigated the alien’s code, aware only of its mystery and not its warning. She must have taken the arrow to indicate her life path and dug there foolishly—hoping to find her purpose entombed in the asphalt. Instead, our Pandora released the malicious thing, nailing her, the wise alien, and everyone else who had heretofore been busy.
It all went down in February.
Every now and then she comes out to kneel by the blackened hole in the cracked and cracking street. She cranes her neck to observe the bloom of the mushroom cloud she made and picks gravel from under her unmanicured nails. Locked down like all of us, she has all the time in the world for this.
Dostoyevsky said, “Life is life everywhere.” I don’t remember where or when he said it, but his mind was on human suffering in Siberia.
Bars and blue are the view from my office window. I live in a dirty, dying town in the inland desert of Southern California. We call it an empire. My neighborhood is ghetto-lite, but still rough enough to have warranted bars on all the doors and windows since 1985.
Here in the SoCal inland desert empire, it is green and, in the winter, the temperature rarely dips below forty degrees. The snow, in Siberia, is like bars I’m sure, but unlike these in my window, inescapable. Blue sky, like life, is blue sky everywhere though and we have at least these two things in common which, as I stand in the sun, un-barred, I’m sure is much more comfort to me on blue days wishing for the shocking sanctity of suffering and snow than it is to them on days that are nothing but sanctity, suffering, and snow