Monthly Archives: August 2012

Interior Life

Belgian, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

I recently read (somewhere on the intertubes) that some neuroscientists had issued a declaration saying that many if not most of the higher mammals are not only sentient, but also have all the brain structures needed for complex emotional responses and experiences.

Well DUH.

The argument that animals are unfeeling black-box automata can really only be supported by someone who either a) doesn’t spend any time with animals or b) has a vested interested in believing that they don’t have emotions, don’t feel pain and fear, and don’t form meaningful social bonds. If your livelihood depends on the exploitation of animals for their products, you can’t afford to be “sentimental” about them, because that would cast moral doubt on your actions. Because only a BAD person would intentionally inflict suffering on a sentient, emotionally vital creature for personal gain, right?


A Year Ago: Booth

Wedding booth at Bretton Woods.We are always setting space aside for ceremony, for the sacred…
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Edge Case

Leaf Edge

The best thing about this image is the water droplets that you probably can’t see too well.

A Year Ago: On the Edge

Rocks and roots above the Potomac.Usually, when I crop a photograph, it’s strictly for compositional reasons: the camera’s frame has included something I wish to exclude…
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Sun After Shower

Sunflowers and late afternoon light, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

I have a hard time imagining getting sick of this place.

A Year Ago: Autumn Pasture

Field with stone wall and barn.And, just like that, even before Labor Day, summer is over…
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Ribbon of the Sea

I have been to eel and back.

A Year Ago: Feet Palette

Metal furniture feet and color palette.I think this four-tone palette would make an excellent start for a web page design…
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Hickory Nut Falls, NC

Eight and half hours on the road again, back to Asheville.

Sure, I’ll go with the flow—if the flow will go with me.

[Once again, updates likely to be sparser.]

A Year Ago: Here, Have A Flower

Some pink flower.This morning, I belatedly remembered that I had no coffee in the house…
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Peridot Passage

Stairwell at Shirlington, VA

I’ve photographed this passageway and its twin before. Let me be clear: I don’t think this stairwell in Shirlington is a gem of architectural genius. On most objective grounds it’s darn ugly.

And yet, there’s something about the shapes and rhythms, the patterns of light and dark, the loops of the handrail, the river of light above—something in all this tickles my aesthetic nerve (for want of a better term). I’m drawn to it, repeatedly. It’s worth asking myself why; I think I might learn something about my own taste if I can find an answer.

The exposure on this image is pretty darned awful too: 1/17th of a second on my iPhone. You do not want to see what the noise on this thing looks like (despite the supposed and I believe completely bogus claim of ISO 400). I manipulated the bejeesus out of this image to improve the overall image quality and—to be frank—make it look less like a photograph. That, at least, tells me that whatever the arcane appeal of this location, it has nothing to do with my desire to make a document.

A Year Ago: Sail On

Building facade, South Beach, MiamiWith yet another end-of-days meme on its way—Hurricane Irene, which I have dubbed Irenegnarok
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Wisconsin Ave, Glover Park Neighborhood, Washington, DC

Anticipatory nostalgia is already having its way with me. I’m looking on the storefronts of my neighborhood with a fonder-than-usual gaze.

Sushi Ko is a very good small-plates and sushi restaurant. Good Guys is a strip club with a very respectable front. The Whole Foods is a few doors down.

It’s hard to believe that our earthquake was a year ago.

A Year Ago: Formal Garden

Upper garden at Mt. Vernon, VAThis is a slice of the Upper Garden at Mt. Vernon…
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Bare tree, Brookside Garden, MD

Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum: verumtamen justa loquar ad te: Quare via impiorum prosperatur? &c.

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?

Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now leavèd how thick! lacèd they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds build—but not I build; no, but strain,
Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.
—Gerard Manley Hopkins

Okay, a tad overstated, fair enough, but I allow myself a day of histrionics. I’m pretty darned frustrated: another failed house bid.

Back to Square One. Again.

A Year Ago: Artifact of Light

Window shadows on white walls and ceiling.This phenomenon shows up from time to time in my bedroom…
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Time Machine

Something metal and functional-looking.

I hope we can all agree that it’s been too long since I brought the Urban/Funk/Distressed to this here-now blog. So the title’s a bit of a double-entendre on that topic. (The other entendre being how I wish I could press a fast-forward button and get to tomorrow, because waiting… FEH.)

But seriously, doesn’t this look like the temporal compressor of a steampunk time-pod?

The Big Picture

Woman collecting stones below waterfall.

They’re fascinating, the details. You can get your hands around them. You can inspect them up close. They take your mind off your soggy trouser-cuffs and the enormity of the world and smallness of your place in it.

But there, behind you, is the source. There’s the wild, scary, looming beauty—the urspring, the origin, the unstoppable, limitless beginning that makes it all possible. You are not separate from that immensity. You pulse with the same flow, your molecules are made from the same stuff.

So claim it, let it speak to and through you. Don’t be intimidated, be awestruck and inspired. Don’t turn away from it, lean into it and let it sustain you.

We are already embarked on this incredible adventure.

A Year Ago: Early American Kitchen

Kitchen at Monticello, VANOT. (Emphasis on the kitsch in kitchen.)…
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