Monday, March 31, 2014

Quatrain #29: Presque Canadien

Almost Canadian. Writing about the essence of being Canadian wouldn't be complete without the bilingual, English translation.

Anyway... that's me, so I learned, sitting around a table with my siblings and some extended family one evening over the holidays. When I was too young to remember, my family came incredibly close to moving to Canada. I mean, I'm talking just being a few centimeters shy. Had only one circumstance been different, had one person been thinking differently, it would've happened.

The concept of it momentarily unnerved me, and although it has been weeks and weeks since that discussion it continues to fill me with wonder — what course would my life had taken had it been launched from a different geographic point, culture, political system, measurement system, language dynamics, friends, schools, jobs, and so many other facets of growing up? To be certain, all the unknown is mysteriously more intriguing that what is known.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Quatrain #28: Running Deer

I painted clouds in the sky with a tree and the deer went running.

Even at night the sun was out full force, and the moon levitated over a horizon's gutter.

Limited sight in this snowy desert promised more to see over an edge.

I found that it's all connected, never understanding how or why.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Quatrain #27: En Plein Air

En Plein Air is a French expression that defines the essence of somebody doing something in an outdoor environment. In the late 19th Century it was a phrase frequently used to describe the Impressionists and other groups of painters that preferred to produce their works outside. Today we just might call it working on location.

Nevertheless, what inspires the quatrain is a visceral sense of rawness, exposure to the elements, and the things we do sometimes to seek adequate shelter and protection to endure life's rough edges. Regardless of what form the protection [coping mechanism] takes, what the experience looks like to the outside world can be rather confusing, mysterious, and strange. Sometimes just being agile and adaptable, shifting into survival mode, taking cover, and letting function overshadow form is all one can do. These layers of protection are typically temporary, but sometimes they need to be built for the long term to enable growth and the act of moving forward. I mean, everyone has a security blanket, right? What's yours?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Quatrain #26: Slash & Burn

Last week's theme of stress gets this complementary visual, as Japan is marking the third anniversary of its tragic trifecta: the massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggering a widespread tsunami on the Northeast coast, and the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.

Although the phrase slash and burn refers to a controlled burning technique in forest management, one could just as easily apply the concept to a disaster like this. An unfathomable amount of healing and recovery from this event will take years and probably even generations to achieve a state of normalcy. Let's hope that authorities can expedite the region's recovery process with the best of intentions to benefit the impacted inhabitants.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quatrain #25: Storm & Stress

In the process of researching a title for this quatrain I discovered that it defines an 18th Century German literary movement that dealt with visceral reactions [revolt] against society. The movement held the natural world, intuition, impulse, instinct, and emotion in high regard. Germans call it Sturm und Drang.

I found this curious for a couple reasons. One being that the movement's manifesto defines some of the same experiences of producing the photographs for these quatrains. The second being that as I've been watching, listening, and reading about events unfolding in Ukraine over the past several weeks, I've noticed a strangely coincidental and synchronous presentation of news headlines and quatrain theme/titles. Just to clarify… I don't claim to be psychic, I just like to wonder about mysterious and intriguingly unexplainable things, like synchronicity.

Many weeks before #22, Dots & Dashes, we were hearing about the intensity of the protests in Kiev. I like to think that the morse code visually represents thousands of voices, which are impossible to record individually, but collectively shouting for real change. Around the release of #23, Vacancy Signs, the President had been ousted — some would argue in a coup d'etat — leaving a power vacuum in its wake. With the good news of change in favor of Western democratic ideals #24, Murmurations, brought rumors of Russian intervention. Most recently, Russia invaded and took over territory known as the Crimea, bringing a new phase of storm and stress to the region.

Besides the magnitude of all that, life in general has its fair share of storm & stress, but regardless we tend to carry it with such calm and tranquility. Get real and revolt. Don't just think, shout outloud, I'm stressed! You'll feel better.