28 Jul 2014, 10:01am
General Ponderings
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Seasons of Shifting Gears

P6290021 P6290016
Suppose I could make an animated gif but I’m not gonna.

Life is much about choosing your focus, changing your focus. What is real may be the thing or an image of a thing. Even an image of a thing is enough to chase. See a cat chasing shadow of fly on the wall. Frog trying to eat fly on the iphone, seems more frustratingly out of reach. For mental exercise and challenge, needs can be as much met with simulacrum as the real.

Is a to-do list complete without the level of do-dadding-diddle, for what? and that for what benefit? And why is that good and useful?

As monk Thomas Merton considered The Way of Chuang Tzu, he at one point concluded about the pitfalls of making an effort to improve, “The more “the good” is objectively analyzed, the more it is treated as something to be attained by special virtuous techniques, the less real it becomes. As it becomes less real it recede further into the distance of abstraction, futurity, unattainability [...] a devotion to the systemic usefulness of practicing means that lead no where. This is, in fact, nothing but organized despair.”

Improvement: doing it wrong.

It’s easy to overcomplicate and mistake good route for the goal. Best practice might be to print one manuscript on blue paper and manuscript B on pink so I can find them in a sea of white papers. But it’s not necessary. The system isn’t the thing. The doing is the thing. Do it efficient, or do it chaotically, throw in emotional weight or do it and not care about outcomes. The action is the thing.

One can figure out rules and patterns that should optimize. It is easy to forget why and that they are not the ends in themselves. For what, for what, leads me towards less pain for others and for self, an eased path in the long and short term.

What are good practices? If we were confined to best practice we’d spend most of our time deadlocked. Doing and not straining is a good practice. Use your muscles for something other than clenching; to keep them and heart and ends of the blood system pumping properly. Stay hydrated. Eat nutritionally varied and nutritionally dense food. Do things that improve the world around you meaningfully. Cultivate peace and beauty without hiding from or denying ugly and neutral. Exercise your compassion and your critical thinking. Sleep enough. Work enough to sleep well. Spend time in communication with like-minded and different-minded. Happiness techniques. Balance the spheres of your life.

There are times when one sphere rightly rules and displaces other things, just as there are seasons when fruit comes in season and the grains are set aside. Sometimes are not for full sleep or proper diet or listening.

It’s good to prop open the mind so new possibilities can come but not so uncritically that any fool thing is given equal weight as the sound and tested things.

It’s impossible to be in all the right place & all the right times. There’s now. There’s the now chipping and slipping away. It would be easy to pursue the disappearing moon. Or let it go and wait to see what is now.

You’re never going to run out of motivation. You’re never going to stop driving yourself and find you become a null. The body rests and like inhale follows exhale, something else to chase rises.

If you treat yourself like driftwood and decide that whatever happens is to the learning and to the good, you can have a state of rubberstamping good. This can take more energy than calling a downside and moving on.

If the mandala of the world is that all things are to the good, all bad contains good outcome, that’s going to take a lot of legwork mentally to justify. Work to see the benefit and overriding logic in the random which gives a sense of large picture purpose and path but there’s a tradeoff in the delusion and the crunch comes when you try to make sense of something out of reach.

You may feel you personally failed, spiral into self-blame but all the patterns were fanciful structures as substantial as cotton candy.

20 Jul 2014, 2:47pm
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In Season and Out

I’ve been blogging for enough years to see the pattern that when someone who blogged daily drops back to weekly, or so, the writing’s on (or rather disappearing off) the wall.

That said, the pattern usually happens within the first 2 years of blogging. Most often with someone who blogs under a pseudonym and runs out of classified but not personally identifying things to say.

Typically people who quit (previously, invisible to the audience) wrote to navigate a personal crisis, often offering drama or upbeat pictures until the big reveal where they can go public that they are now in a new country, new career, new marriage. Then they disappear again since the distraction about and use of talking about something else is over. That makes sense. Why wouldn’t a purpose underlie communicating?

But then why wouldn’t communicating be a way of being, shooting the breeze, connecting without a motive past the talking? That works too. Not so crassly-based. Maybe that’s my countryside roots showing. Urban is on the clock and the clock on the money and there has to be a purpose and payoff, a ROI, but countryside is you’re here, I’m here, let us entertain one another. What are you about?

cucumber cling
Why not hang on? Why not quit? In the grand scheme, neither makes a whit of difference.

Quitting happens. It can be a good thing. To stop one thing allows room for something else.

Some of the people who quit sometimes regroup to re-amalgamate all their blogs to one site, often an author site, or for food bloggers, a bookselling site where they slowly erase content until a professional veneer remains that then peters off in a couple years or until the next cookbook.

In contrast since National Capital Freenet days I had a showcase area and a blog area and by the time I had multiple blogs I had an author site. I’m deviating from pattern enough that my blog demise isn’t fated from the signs.

The mushroom of writing is always going with me. Fruiting bodies pop up everywhere but it isn’t crisis-based.

Whether a season of leaf

of of lily, I am still continuing.

Maybe that’s madness.

The biggest laugh I ever had at my in-laws was one Christmas when my brother-in-law apologized for any extra cleaning incurred because of his kids being there and my mother-in-law said, no, no. I clean the kitchen that much whether it is used or not.

I busted some eardrums with my laughter. They looked perplexed.

To me to clean whether need or not struck me as utterly obsessive compulsive. Uncharacteristically comically, uneconomical and useless.

But it makes as much sense as for me to write whether a subject is driving it or not.

There’s always something to say. There’s always something to clean. It’s not what you do but what you’re doing makes you.

OC, I suppose that too is a pathological/illness-based filter. I seem to use that a lot.

What if my model is of flourishing rather than compensating? What would that change in perception?

1 Jul 2014, 9:50am
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Happy Canada Day

getting dog all decked out
[Archived crowd shot in 2010]

Let’s continue to make, moment by moment, choice by choice, the country of compassion, love, honouring the different but equal, supporting the vulnerable and protecting and improving the air, water and land. Boundaries about respect not defence. See how lives in parallel can coexist without necessitating destruction or disruption. Curious and kind, taking time. All the time we need.

P.S. And this from this year:
Celebration woven into the chainlink.

24 Jun 2014, 5:40pm


Our World Tuesday is not really remote from Ottawa but is a road trip.

The Fieldwork Project has been going a few years on the wild to the west of Perth near Maberly if that helps. Take an unmarked dirt road off Highway 7 beside a lake and stay on it until the banner appears. The site has more directions. There’s a parking lot and a guide in a box, a comments book, a deet and guide to recognizing and removing ticks.

And five new installations by: Geoff Wonnacott, Marc Walter, Lisa Cresky & Susie Osler, Barbara Cuerden & Karina Kraenzle, Zone Vert and Carey Jernigan & John Haney. I’m not sure we ended up looking at them all. Installations by their nature aren’t photographical. One was a nest as if made for a giant with clay shapes in it that you were to raid, take around and break to let the seeds in them be dispersed.

Another was a “hunting” hide with the other side being the daily gathering of a photo in a built environment of grocery store. What is our story of self, of “adventure”, of “normal” and “nature” and our relationship to them.

Forget scarves for trees, how about a glove? Yarn bombing as art? It begs the question of nature and this construct of non-nature defined by humans not being evidenced. Except the grove of pines were probably planted.

That’s by the lady who is often around the tiny fieldhouse at the base of the park across from the National Gallery.

There was a mini picket fortress as if by beavers.

There was a translucent shelter with a ladder in it that lights up at night. First off eye-catching.

Hm, wish it didn’t light up at night even if using solar power. Light pollution happens one lumen at a time and dark skies are so rare. It won’t make a difference in the grand scheme but if it is moving in the wrong direction or right direction? I don’t know if this was part of the design of provocative or my bent.

If it doesn’t matter, but how could it not? I feel guilty for any lights at night. Regularly think of doing a note campaign along the streets to slide under businesses that keep their storefront going continuously to let them know I won’t shop there if they do. If a store is open 24 hours, it is in use. Showing off merchandise in the off-chance someone see it and wants. I like the Paris model where metal doors come down over the store front. Closed is closed.

Ghost barn. I don’t know that I moved to new thoughts. My failing.

I can’t say I get art. I keep exposing myself to it but little catches.


There was a monument to the book and decay. Presumably erosion of information.

You can’t tell but the stack is donut-shaped, narrowing as it goes up. Books are starting to fall off.

From the site info:

The work is about stillness, and interiority, the kind that is particular to the book. In an era where bookishness seems to be disappearing, Speaking Volumes is a testament to the internal voice and its absence – and the persistent beauty of the material object – being slowly returned to its source.

The structure is a sentinel made of books, in a small glade in the pine forest at FIELDWORK. The free-standing structure is accompanied by fragments torn from the books themselves. Words and phrases are suspended from surrounding trees, like nearly perceptible whispers.

There’s the aim.

In the trees around it were torn out bits of paper fluttering on strings and tangling in the pine branches. A bit of a gee whiz factor. Words everywhere.

Except what I appreciate about a forest is the absence of words. Why bring plastics (a different exhibit) and things into a cathedral of light of trees?

Does intention make a difference in effect? Was the yarn and thread cotton or tiny plastics that will stay forever?

It is a claiming of space that is claimed by field and fence and road and broken patchwork of forest, but this time claimed to examine ourselves in with physical prompts?

Am I a philistine? I may have been in the wrong headspace. Some parts of me wall up into skeptical with visual art. Occasionally pottery or sculpture can break thru but mostly I want representative art. Which is at odds with liking representative poetry least of the kinds.

It may have been that I was more concerned with ticks and lyme disease and sun making skin cancer and deet causing other cancers and aerosol eroding atmosphere and amazed that aerosols are still marketed for any use. And caught up what I could see.

flowers are to art what ideas are to words.

What is ephemeral is more interesting than just its aspect of ephemeralness but all the complexity that fits in that life too. We have 172 species of dragonflies in Ontario. Each compound eye has about 30,000 tiny, six-sided lenses or facets. It may buzz past a Bladder Campion which is that inflated pouch of a roadside flower with white petals. Perhaps someone taught you to pluck it and snap it against the back of your hand. As it ages the seeds inside it turn from white to pale and darker purple then black-brown. They are “weeds” because they’ve been here centuries, but came from Europe.

13 Jun 2014, 5:28pm
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Did you come by when I was out?

Someone came knocking at my wee small door.
Someone came knocking I’m sure, sure, sure.
I listened, I opened,
I looked from left to right,
but not there was a stirring in the still dark night.

Walter de la Mare’s was one of the first poems I memorized and it still delights me. (He also wrote horror stories and was a bank official. How odd.)

For me, I’m still busy. G’wan over to pesbo to see the event de jour. And I speak more at twitter more than anywhere.

Life and I’ll surely slow down for a bit soon. Mid-next-week looks calm.

Once, several years ago, Colleen in Manitoba said summers are too busy with gardening to blog and I didn’t understand it at the time. Ah, I get it now.

Life maintenance and 1/4 of what you want to get done seems to take all the time. Pick and choose, pickaxe and chip.

We have garden beds. I have a largely functional shoulder, chest and back again. I’ve felt outright normal for about 2 weeks now. How extraordinary normal is.

Around the 25th I’ll have blocks of times to get thru all the back burner stuff for a while.

But on the other hand, after a 3 year wait, we have poppies blooming. Each of the last 2 years we were away when they were going to blossom. They take a long time in bud almost popping.

Heavy rains last night made them look far less like crepe paper than they did the day before. But even torn and a little past prime, they look fabulous. And more buds are thick with their own waiting.

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