Wednesday, November 30, 2005

All Creatures Great and Small

Squirrel on Tree, Somewhere along the Mall, Washington, DC, June 2004, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/100 sec @ f4.4, ISO 200, with flash, © Steven Crisp

"It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elemental compassion toward our fellow creatures." -- Gandhi

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Destructive Beauty

Bonfire in the Field, Amherst, NH, June 2004, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/250 sec @ f4.5, ISO 64, no flash, © Steven Crisp

Even something as destructive and potentially dangerous as fire can be beautiful, don't you think?. And while we often hear it described in “bad” situations, it can really be quite “good” and of course, just “is”. It rejuvinates. It transforms old, dead, and decayed matter back into energy. It makes way for new growth and indeed life itself to re-emerge. Yes, beautiful indeed.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Beauty of an Idea

Beauty of an Idea, Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, October 2003, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/30 sec @ f3.2, ISO 320, no flash, © Steven Crisp

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal ..."

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it is also in his mind. To me, beauty is not only found in nature, in things that are pleasing to the senses. Beauty also exists in ideas — in ideals — many of which may not be acceptable to all. It is so easy to get caught up with our day-to-day obligations and norms of the work-a-day world, that we lose sight of why it is we are alive. Of what really matters. And when we catch a glimpse, it may challenge the status quo. It may question our livelihood. It may impact our comfort. But sometimes these ideas take hold in spite of our conditioned resistance. Sometimes the resistance is well-organized. But occasionally, in spite of these conflicts, the idea will prevail, and it can begin to flower, until, after a time, it becomes self-evident.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Morning has broken

Morning has Broken, Tucker Pond at dawn, Warner, NH, July 2004, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/40 sec @ f7.9, ISO 64, with flash, © Steven Crisp

One of my favorite places in the world -- right here in New Hampshire where I spent my childhood summers. Also one of my favorite times of the day, just before sunrise, when the rest of humanity slumbers, but the woods have awakened.

Every day, whether the dawn is painted from a rich pallet, or penciled in with shades of grey, it is magnificent and it is alive. And if you can reflect upon that moment, you realize that is where life is created, again and again, each instant the wind rustles or the sun peaks or the robin sings. Revel in that moment. Always.

Morning Has Broken
As sung by Cat Stevens; lyrics by Eleanor Farjeon

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Who is that on my finger?

Friend on my Finger, unknown butterfly (can you help?) overlooking Burma and Laos from Anantara Balcony, Chiang Saen, Thailand, November, 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/125 sec @ f7.9, ISO 64, with flash, © Steven Crisp

Have you considered your relationship with all the beings around you? Do you cherish it? What really is the difference between your family dog, a visiting butterfly, the housefly that seems to keep grabbing your attention, or the spider that's crawling around in the corner? Do you want to kill one of them? Maybe that's worthy of some contemplation. Should you really use your power to end that life? Who gets to draw the lines and on what basis? Why?

Here's an experiment: Try cherishing all of life for a day or a week, and see what that intention does to your spirit. I suspect it will flutter gently about and softly alight on you just when you need a friend.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Whiter than white

Whiter than White, Anantara Pool, Chiang Saen, Thailand, November, 2005, Pentax Optio 555, Exposure 1/640 sec @ f6.5, ISO 64, © Steven Crisp

"Whiter than white" refers to the relative nature of our judgment of all things. For example, the rocks in the background would be called "white" by anyone asked, 'what color were the rocks that surrounded the Anantara pool?' And yet, they clearly are not white, or at least not "as white" as the rocks in the foreground. Further, when I was picking out the "good" rocks for the photo, I was struck as to just how meaningless the term "good" is. Good according to what or who's criterion? If I were looking for smooth rocks, or oval rocks, or flat rocks, at least some of these would be judged as "bad".

So be very suspicious when ever you find yourself considering something "good" and something else "bad". Comparisons are simply part of our dualistic nature. Instead, just observe what "is".