Photographs. Anecdotes. And observations on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Monday, December 27, 2010

About Thirty Years.

I've not written verse in over seven years
And I can't stay awake to read, none the less hold a pen to paper
And write; the meaning has slipped, memories fall short
And my drive cycles through the physical, a leper

Too routine the days--salt. The nights--pepper.
Like a clock face, clock work, the onset of a turning season
Three gone, triple to seper-
Ate, and eat life likes its your last...

Seven years, my innards like phosphorescent tubes, flash
Blast, flood into a thin sheet like cake
and I drink coffee, bitter sweet, biting, and pleading to make
What I so hoped for, and somehow forgotten to ask:
Again, I beg you, please return, for empathy's sake
my loved ones, and loving memories: the remembrance of things Past.

Tampa, Florida. May 22nd, 2007.


The fields lay in waiting
Fallow, like eggs to be cracked
With a tiny orange spade: a Philip's head beak.

Heat beats wheat stalks over a hill
And under a Roman buttressed bridge
Oscillating, waving, my back says goodbye
Soaked in the lavish heat of June.

I peel it off like cellophane and he says thank you
And wishes to be dipped in cool waters
Those cricks that accompany this road
Through The United States of Central Europe.

My back the Imperialist, so sopped, dressed
Like wheat bread whipped with perspiration.

It opens up to the air, to eat
Tepid and loud.

In route to Weimar, Germany. June 2000.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Human Bread: MCMXLV.

The salt of rye
The raw salt of rye
When the rind peels away
First with the hands, then the teeth.
Spiral the grain, and a saliva sweet ball
Is left rolling and dipping and dying
Into your esophagus.

It is what it is after
As when it was formed
The doppelganger on a tin sheet
Stapled, yet sliding to where we think "it belongs"
To browned perfection
Beautiful and forgotten.

Buchenwald death camp, Germany. Summer 2000.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yosemite now and then...

Photo taken on my trip to Yosemite. May 24th, 2009.
Photo taken of my Great Grandfather (Andrew Jackson) by my Grandfather (Joe) in 1959. I was given this photo a year and half after shooting the one above. Nice coincidence.


Monday, December 6, 2010

What Everybody Needs...

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike."

--John Muir--

Redwood stump, Muir Woods. March, 2009.
Redwood Grove. Muir Woods, 2009.
The quietest place on earth.
Photos by M.C..

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dear G.C..

Dear. G.C.,

It was good seeing you last week, I know it’s been awhile and I know I need to visit more often. But I’ll be honest, I get worried before stopping by. I’m afraid you’ll forget who I am. Since your diagnosis, I know it’s a matter of time before that’s the case. But each visit you remember me; the exact time I’ll stop by, what I like to eat and what we talked about on our last meet. You even remembered to make a copy of that photo I love. The one from Chicago in 1938, when you were sixteen, serving as a maid to those wealthy people from the city. You look adorable in that photo, It’s no wonder Grandpa snatched you up so quick. But on each visit you slip away just a bit further. In subtlety; you look a little older, your attention to me more distant. Death, but more so, dying, becomes a reality to me when I see you. And I just don’t know how to handle it.

Did I mention that the frame you picked out for that photo couldn’t have been more perfect. You’re so young there in that yard; your youth eases the thought of time running out.

Last November you asked me a really odd question. Do you remember what it was? You asked, “what are all those markings on your legs?” And I thought you were talking about my shin injuries. Those scars that run up and down my legs: from when my foot slips off my bike pedals. I went into detail explaining to you the grim, bloody, details of those scars and then realized you were talking about tattoos. The one on the back of my calf in particular: that tarot card, with the image of a death’s head. Its true meaning serves plain and simple as the symbol for death. Who’s death I’m not sure? I wasn’t planning on it being my own, and I wouldn’t wish death on anyone. It just makes me feel young; having this image of the ultimate stuck underneath my skin and not being scared. Well I am scared, I just try not to think about it. Seeing you reminds me how fragile you are, and really, how fragile I am. I know that at some point, death is all that will be on my conscience. I know I will be consumed. For now, apathy is my antiseptic.

Besides the image and what it truly is, the card serves as a symbol of “treasure,” of something that I wish to keep forever. Let me to you a little story.

A. brought the card back for me from her trip to the city. She hated the image. A bit brutal it is, a bit too abrasive. But I loved its grimacing face, the colors, and the font that “death” was written in. For years, I have had it above my computer. As I busied myself with schoolwork, writing tedious essays about science experiments, or, what I thought was meaningful lines of verse, the death’s head loomed on my shelf. For me, it was and still is a gift from A., besides death, something that represented her kindness, her support, and her love. It was like any other little treasure. Its true meaning hidden behind something subjective, something you created for it the moment you received it. It could have been a box of candy hearts, it could have been a plastic skeletonyou know I love skulls and bones. Because of A.’s devotion, it all means the same thing, regardless of the shape.

Do you remember the last time I visited you? I stared at my brother’s wedding photo and you, you sat to my left, in your dinner chair with your favorite cushion. There were remnants of pasta in your bowl, some fresh vegetables unfinished. You looked up at me and asked what I was looking at. And I told you how long A.’s hair was. How beautiful she looked. How I love her glasses even though she hates them. How I still can’t believe we’ve spent ten years together. I apologized for A. not being able to stop by on that visit. I told you that the photo seemed like yesterday. You paused, took a breath and said that you didn’t know who A. was. My heart sunk.

Instead of explaining, I just stood silent. And in that instance, your Alzheimer’s became a reality. I knew that it was going to be a slow process. A metamorphosis changing everything that is ultimate; self-worth, the love bestowed upon you by others, and the simple, yet so complicated act of living. It breaks my heart that life is given away to something as hateful as nothingness. It just breaks my heart.

I’m going to stop by again soon when I’m not so busy. But I feel guilty that that’s my excuse. It’s funny how you always forgive me, you say it in the same, lackluster tone: “I understand, everyone is busy.” But being too busy can be a curse. And I’m caught in it, caught up in the moment where “busy” is an excuse not to think, not to feel, and not to worry. It’s easier that way, and I’ve become really good at it. Once every month is like a year in your condition. I’ll have to visit once a week. Just a quick visit so you know that I’m coming back soon.

I don’t want you to forget me.


your grandsonM.C.

P.S.-Tonight I took down that Tarot Card from my shelf. Funny enough, the little clearing that opened up offered a perfect place for my new framed photo.

Published in HRVST: "Death," Issue #1. March 2010. Berlin, Germany.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wedding Day.

Wedding Day.

At noon it rains
Those movements that brought life to earth
Those movements that instill
The "Monkey Puzzle Tree,"
Hydrangeas like archaic pom-poms,
Symbiotic Ivy clutching stone.

I sit indoors pressing my hand into the glass
I can hear the cold
I can feel the fog thickening
Where a schooner skirts the coast
A short walk from where I witness
Its three lights, a triangle.

Each time I look up
I want it so badly to not move
Each time I look up
It remains there, inside the cove, comforting.
From now on, I am not alone.

Oct. 26th, 2010.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hatred is a family value.

"Die All (big rig) Truck Drivers."

Zephyrhills, Florida. March 2010. Photo by M.C..

Monday, November 22, 2010

Isabel, is a bell.


"Me, I myself ending
I'm just a mime
a silent entertainer
remove my makeup"


Isabel, is a bell.
What you want isabel?
Is a bell what you want?
They say life, Isabel, is a bell.
Isabel, life is a bell.

Scrawled in blue ink on a yellow wall in a bathroom in Tampa.
November, 10th. 2010.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Morality and Responsibility.

"Humans themselves are the source of good and evil, I thought. We must think for ourselves; we are responsible for our own morality. I arrived at the conclusion that I couldn't be honest with others unless i was honest with myself. i wanted to comply with the goals of religion, which are to be a better and more generous person, without suppressing my will and forcing it to obey inhuman rules. I would no longer lie, to myself or others. I had had enough of lying. I was no longer afraid of the Hereafter."

--Ayaan Hirsi Ali-- (excerpt)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Isle of Skye: Then and Now.

View down from the "Old Man of Storr." May, 2005
View down from the "Old Man of Storr." October 27th, 2010.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Scotland Vignettes.

A man walks by me in Glasgow, he's completely covered in clothing less his knuckles that fall out of the sleeve of his jacket. Tattooed across his digits in faded ink is the word "hate."
The average life span of a man born in the East end of Glasgow: 54.
A couple days before we arrive in Skye, A Royal Navy Nuclear submarine beaches itself on some rocks a stone's throw away from the Skye Bridge. The locals tell us there's rumor of five Russian subs circling the Island.
A young boy climbs on top of an electrical box. In a thick Scottish accent he chants "I'm on top of the castle, you're the dirty apple."
The Chef at a restaurant in Portree tells this story:
"When I was in the Royal Navy, I worked with a man that happened to be on board a ship during a US convoy mission. One night, the vice admiral spotted a light in the distance."

The Vice Admiral gave a warning: 'To you at -- cordinates, please move your ship.'
The unidentified light: 'I will not.'
Vice Admiral: 'If you will not move we will be forced to take action.'
The light: 'We won't move.'
Vice Admiral: 'I'm giving you ten minutes to retreat.'
The light: 'Go ahead. I'm not going anywhere. We're a light house.'"

Cycling as Therapy...

"So I began cycling three times a week to my Dutch class at Midlands College in Ede. The leaves were turning, I remember, and I felt so happy riding my bicycle through the forest, with a sense of purpose and an overpowering impression of good fortune."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali--Experiences of a Somali refugee in the Netherlands.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vegas part two.

simulacrum [ˌsɪmjʊˈleɪkrəm]
n pl -cra [-krə] Archaic
1. any image or representation of something
2. a slight, unreal, or vague semblance of something; superficial likeness

Venice Italy? Or The Venetian Casino?

Rome, Italy?

Or Ceasar's Palace Hotel/Casino?

In 2010, what is Simulacra? And what is actually real?

All Pics by M.C..

Sunday, October 17, 2010

If you Believe...

"If you believe in telekinesis, raise my right hand."

Insurance Company billboard, Gainesville, Fl. 2010.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Nothing says I love(d) you like..."

"Nothing says I love(d) you like a new penis."

Scrawled in chalk, verbatim, on a downtown Tampa building.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lessons from Pico Iyer.

"When travelling you obtain knowledge, but when you return to the states, you return as a child"

-Pico Iyer
It's funny travelling through the red light district at night and then in the morning going to the city square to realize that shopping for clothes parallels sex shopping--aren't both ultimately for the purpose of sex?

A man accosts me: "Ecstasy? Do you want some or not?"

I've seen Chinese, Mexican, Thai, American, Lebanese, and German (restaurants), but what is Dutch here? Maybe what you can get in a bakery? Pastries?

In the city of Amsterdam I sit in a courtyard. Street cleaners are working--a truck sprays some water (to dampen the dirt?), sweeps with spiral brushes, and men follow up with the collection of garbage. After they've left, I look around and realize that the courtyard is still filthy.

-Journal Entries, May 24th and 25th 1999. Amsterdam.
"As soon as you begin to know a place all talk of "old" and "new" or "East" and "West" becomes redundant. Just the movements inside it, the way it comes closer and slips away: That's all the excitement you need."

-Pico Iyer

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vegas Vignettes Part One.

I'm in an elevator and a stranger joins me for a dive down thirteen floors.

Stranger: "Gambling?"
M.C.: "No, I don't gamble (I lie)."
S: "Why are you here?"
M: "I work for a bicycle manufacturer. I'm here for a trade show. You?"
S: "I'm here to be an idiot for a week."

The door opens and we both exit.


Barista: "What would you like?"
M.C.: "Could I get a refill of coffee in my travel mug?"
B: "We don't take those at this location."
M: "Then can I get a medium black coffee?"
B: "That will be $4.55."


Every hotel room in Vegas has a bible in the top drawer of the bed stand.
A frivolous offering (by the promoters of sin) to those writhing in the debauchery of Sin City?


(While eating dinner with an Australian friend)

"I've noticed that Americans ask too many questions. What type of bread? Mustard? Catchup? It's like War and Peace when you order anything."


There was a birthday party being thrown for a 16 year old. I thought to myself, 'I'm twice as old as this kid.' But then I forgot my age...Am I thirty-two or thirty-three?


I joined some friends at Hooters. There was nothing on the menu that I wanted to eat (vegetarian). While having a glass of water, a UFC fight was being broad casted on three TV's in a twelve by twelve room. Mid way into the fight, an opponent got an elbow to the eye brow splitting him wide open. He bled onto the floor. He bled onto his opponent's back.

Looking down I noticed that both of my friends had ordered hamburgers. Rare, blood seeping onto their plates. The room smelled like charred meat.


M.C.: September 21st, 2010.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Athens, Greece.


Of all the things to see in Athens
a quarter mile of sloped steps to the Temple of Athena
the sixteen remaining Corinthian columns of Zeus
the olympic stadium standing after two World Wars
and the many dogs that call home
these annals of lost human history.

To feel the sun in true mid summer
is to enjoy skin burnt from your arms
to sweat from your calves into your shoes
to scrape the salty grit from your scalp
and to dry out, finally, only to smell like wet dog.

To take cover under an olive tree
to lean on a stoop, half uncomfortable, looking into port
as international freight comes and goes
the ships claim Turkey, Italy, Morocco
the freight mundane, the same:
Only here is "Foreignness" tolerable.

Peter, a Greek limo driver sits beside me
and from a silver embellished case, he meticulously fingers
a cigarette between his lips and lights.
From the corner of his mouth
he begins and ends his story:
"Thirty days of mandatory holiday in Greece,
It's a shame, you Americans work too much."

M.C.--Photo and words. Athens, Greece. 2007.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oslo, Norway.

Journal Entry--June 4th, 1999.

"Oslo was most enjoyable: the fortress, the viking ships, the beautiful pier. At 11pm it was still light outside so I decided to take a walk to the graveyard. People were hanging out inside on park benches. Some were riding bikes along the sidewalks. On many grave stones were molds of the dead's heads. Some of the faces inlaid in the stone making them seem 3-dimensional. Saw Henrik Ibsen's grave as well as Edvard Munch's (who did the famous "Scream" painting)...on the way back to the bar, I peed on an ally wall. I later found out that the wall was actually Edvard Munch's house."


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Santorini, Greece.


Six Hundred

There is a sign for a missing Jack Russel Terrier
yet no one pays attention as there is bottled coke
baklava and a semi-dormant volcano
that, long ago, sunk the island into the sea:
The black nipple of the Cyclades.

Five Hundred

Donkeys slump in the heat, with tongue out
like thick taffy waiting to be stretched.
Children are crying in spoiled misery
their parents in desperation, begging enjoyment
from the saddle that wrenches their innards.

Four Hundred

Looking down, I hop from stone to stone
left, right, left, right
piles of donkey shit, some hard, some soft
ooze over the marble curb cut.
Two women pass, gagging, with collars pulled to cover their faces.

Three Hundred

To look over the cement railing, to peer onto cacti
blooming in the fresh June heat
is like debating suicide
and I think of how hateful the pain would be
as a woman walks by in high-heels.

Two Hundred

Higher onto the cliff, the sun has blocked out
the horse, donkey, and mule piles
leaving a perfect, thinly spread path
of burnt grass, brown from equine acid
and by the trampling of a thousand morose hooves.

One Hundred

A woman assists a 90 year old man
to a resting spot shaded by a flowering tree.
He sits briefly, then stands butting his head on a branch.
Laughing indefinitely, he continues up,
his grin is all the reason
to climb these six hundred steps.

M.C.--Santorini, Greece. 2007.

Friday, September 10, 2010

From San Francisco to Salt Lake City: September 2010

Graffiti scrawled on the bathroom wall in the humanities building at the University of California at Berkley:

"Death comes to you kind"

and below this,

"The right to write isn't the right to write anything."

The Bay Bridge in San Francisco. 4pm on a Saturday.
Winnemucca, Nevada. 8:30am in route to Salt Lake. A rock in front of a random foot hill.
10 feet from the photo above. Politics show no bounds, they even haunt dried rock in the desert.
Layton, Utah. Sunflowers abound cutting upwards through the cracks of urban sprawl.

All photos by M.C.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Arches National Park, Utah. August 2010

Words cannot describe the grandeur of Arches. Of all the places I've traveled to, this little section of Utah had my undivided attention during a solid eight hour visit: my eyes were wide open, my jaw slack from awe...

Sunset, staring East onto the "Parade of Elephants."
Balanced Rock at sunset.
Delicate Arch, left at top center.
“A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like Delicate Arch has the curious ability to remind us—like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness—that out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted, for if this ring of stone is marvelous then all which shaped it is marvelous, and our journey here on earth, able to see and touch and hear in the midst of tangible and mysterious things-in-themselves, is the most strange and daring of all adventures.”

-Edward Abbey

Our hike down from one of a handful of double Arches.
Double Arch minutes before a monsoon.
The Parade of Elephants.

All photos by M.C.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Not so Wild West Part Two

And so we headed over the boarder of Colorado into Utah. After passing through Grand Junction there's not much to see minus oil derricks, tumble weeds, and the allure of the desert scape--creepy yet beautiful. We decided to take a short cut on our drive to Moab and stopped here: Cisco. What was once a oil hub in early Utah history has turned into a semi-ghost town. One afternoon in the early to mid 20th century, the construction of Hwy 70 began just a couple miles outside poor Cisco diverting major traffic and sending the modest settlement to its grave.

Cisco post office.

50's Frigidaire baking in the sun.

Outside of Cisco was this sign pointing to Moab. The stickers somehow relieved the eeriness of desert solitude.
While following the Colorado River, stumbling upon this guy was my initiation unto the classic American rock monuments of the West. I could have stood in admiration of this spot for hours.

Moab signage by A.G.. All others by M.C.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Not So Wild West: Part One.

1998 was the last time I set foot in both Colorado and Utah. On Aug. 15th, my young lady and I hopped on a plane and headed out West--It was 12 years over due.
In Florida, the yew bush was just something I pulled the light blue seeds off of. It was my weapon of choice in mock military raids on neighbors/friends houses. On seeing the western Pinyon-Juniper for the first time, I thought it was just a giant, overgrown Yew. Not the case. Much more appealing to the eyes alive (background) and even dead as seen here (foreground).
Colorado National Monument--I was amazed at how few people were here visiting. The infamous Balanced Rock is scheduled to exit the canyon side in the near future: Maybe a reason you should visit ASAP.
Paonia, Colorado. We visited extended family that raise two types of unconventional live stock. A. The Alpaca. Shown here against the back drop of the West Elk Mountains. My significant other got a little too close to this young female's offspring--We witnessed, first hand, an Alpaca "stink eye."
And B. The "tamed" Elk. This large buck was quite docile. After learning his name ("Clover"), we are able to give him a couple good pats and a couple light antler yanks. Fortunately, Clover is kept as a pet--12 years old a counting. We were informed that if one of the family's animals has a name, it remains a pet. I was relieved to find out that Clover will never become a menu item.

All Photos by M.C.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Every traveler is an envoy"

"We had a very strange encounter with the Aghori sect in India. They are Holy men who embrace unholy things, showing that all things are from God. They drink alcohol and smoke ganja. They drink their own urine and eat feces. I got into the action, too. A guy brought me a chicken and told me to drink the blood...Iv'e learned that a single traveler can build understanding between different cultures. Every traveler is an envoy. People tend to fear each other, but exploring the other culture, even the hard-core parts, can demystify it and reveal common humanity."

-Excerpt from an interview with documentarian Riku Rantala

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Americans put the Rational in Ir-rational.

"Americans are and always have been credulous skeptics. They question the authority of priests, then talk to the dead; they second-guess their cardiologists, then seek out quacks in the jungle. Like people in every society, they do this in moments of crisis when things seem hopeless. They also, unlike people in other societies, do it on the general principle that expertise and authority are inherently suspect."

-Mark Lilla (excerpt from "The Tea Party Jacobins")

Monday, August 9, 2010

Freedom of debate...

I've been wondering why I feel inclined to argue a point even if I know I'm wrong?

Is it really that important to get my point across?

Does my own input really matter?

Yes, yes, yes. We need to pan out debate to justify being right (or proven wrong). To argue is to be human, and each argument a part of the grand scheme: the progression of human enlightenment.

And if we didn't have the capacity to debate through some social construct? Through politics. Through religion?
The freedom to debate: one of the many important little things we take for granted.

While reading Leila Ahmed's "A Border Passage,"I found this line regarding the glory of freedom of speech in the depths of political oppression (Egypt under Nasser in the 1960's).

"Still, the exhilarating intellectual vibrancy of almost every party and gathering was so remarkable that I began to wonder whether there weren't perhaps some unintended benefits to having one's freedom of thought and speech threatened...Perhaps it not only focused the mind but made one prize and understand all the more acutely how important, how vital, indeed, to one's life and well-being it is to question and reflect on and openly share one's ideas."

Monday, August 2, 2010

The not-so-accidental Tourist

Over the years, I've found that the best way to be a tourist is to pedal through its interstices. Down each road, through each alley, around every corner there is always something amazing to see. To hear. To experience. Time is limited: Why not soak it up in half the amount with some foot to pedal action.-M.C., Leeds, UK.
Photo by Daniel Benson

Sunday, August 1, 2010

From Afghanistan, with love.

A friend of mine is serving in Afghanistan. On their daily search for I.E.D's, they ran into this man, who, upon searching, had nothing questionable. According to my friend, a photo must be taken of anyone they come into contact with who may be suspicious.
When asked to take the man's picture, he happily agreed and demanded that he hold his grandchild and a teddy bear for the photo.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I-Phone panoramic project.

Greenville, South Carolina. July 2010. Sweating in the heat and humidity. Photo by C. Degroot.

Live and Dead.

Live. Dead. A tree is a tree. I'll take them however...Live Redwoods. Big Sur, California. October 2009.

Oxford, UK. May 2010. Tree death #1.

Oxford, UK. May 2010. Tree death #2.
All photos by M.C.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Have an Ice-Cream

Diary excerpt. Istanbul, Turkey. 2007

...Our tour guide did very well promoting peace and commerce in the city. He kept pressing the fact that Istanbul (and Turkey in general) was welcoming to all religions except, oddly enough, "Satanists." Women had the choice to cover their heads, if not, it wasn't odd...We went to the Hagia Sofia first which was enormous: a good mix of Islam and Christianity. Outside, I took a photo of a soldier wielding a rifle, a dagger, and an Ice-Cream cone."

The Mediterranean Ocean, June 2007

An Isolated Scene

Waves sweeping diagonal
A crystal blue, translucent and hashing
The reflections of the sky
And you feel God.

An outcrop like a crown
The eternal fog like (ghosts)
Hide excrement of branded sheep
And it makes you want God.

The lights of a helicopter
Its blades compress sound
Suffering the foundation and
(for the survivors sake)
You hope to God.

To grab a rusted steel hinge
That imprisoned a living being
To hold it in your hand
And to let go
Makes you pray to God.

But to stare into the Sea,
To lay on a warm fault of stone,
Or be enveloped into the night,
Draws you away, and for a moment
You feel Nothing.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Definition: "Hungry Bum"


The influx of unreadable emails I receive is simply amazing. Is it because we are in the age of the text message where communication has to be curtailed to fill only 160 figures (including marks of punctuation). Outside of texting, will it be possible for future generations to manually complete a sentence, finish a statement, or ask a comprehensible question. Is our language de-evolving?

"...In the next 40 years, there's going to be a larger demand than ever for people who can communicate with the written word, whatever format it takes. I don't think there's ever been a greater need for people to be able to write at a functional level, whether they're tapping on their computer keyboard or on their I-phone."

-Carl Hiaasen (Smithsonian Issue July/August 2010)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dirt never smelled so good.

Ten days in the UK is never enough. Even with "English Weather," that whole, tiny little island remains one of the most beautiful places I've traveled to. This photo was taken on the only sunny day during our trip. Loughborough: rolling hills, crumbling stone abodes from who knows how many hundreds of years ago, and plot after plot of bright yellow rapeseed fields so bright it blinded you.
Behind this spot where we stood, I took a stroll through the maze of vegetation. The sun warmed me just enough, insects flew in and out of flowers too busy to be bothered, and at just the right spot I laid, face down, into the soil. There I took a deep breath. Dirt never smelled so good.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Unexpected Trio

Owls never cease to amaze me. Their human-like eyes. Feathers built for silent flight. And their elusive, nocturnal profession that stigmatized their species throughout ancient history: Owls were the bearers of the deceased soul as it traveled from one world to the next.
I can count on one hand how many I've seen in the wild--out of sheer luck, three of those five fingers were raised this past weekend. Hanging together lazily in an oak in Clearwater (Florida), a family of Screech owls (one of only five species of owl found in Florida) let us get close enough to document them between siestas.
Photo by Nick Lamastra.

Monday, July 5, 2010

How did Bill Bryson miss this one?

"There are a few streets that sound like medical complaints, a few that sound like names on an anatomical chart, a few that sound vaguely unsavory, and a few that are pleasantly ridiculous (Coldbath Square, Hamshades Close, Cactus Walk, Nutter Lane, The Butts), but there is very little that could be called truly arresting."

-Bill Bryson, excerpt from "Notes from a Small Island."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Augusta, Georgia. June, 2010.

My connecting flight from Charlotte to Augusta took exactly 29 minutes. While staring out the window, I overheard these lines of conversation:

A man announces to the entire plane: "Anyone want any onion rings?"

A man to a random woman: "It's ok to eat food from a stranger at an airport."

The same man to another randon male passenger: "Is that an I-pad? I need to get one of those mother fuckers."

First Post....

In 1998, I stumbled upon this poem. For me, it is quite possibly the best two stanzas ever written. Thank you Mr. Stevens...Let be be finale of seem.

The Emperor of Ice-Cream

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

-Wallace Stevens