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

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Confronting "The End Times."

The hoop-la behind ideas of the Apocalypse are mentally trying for me. The thought of those giving up their jobs to sit on street corners boasting the end times as if it were a party not to be missed. The man who, leading up to May 21st, 2011, invested $140,000 of his own money in signage warning of the imminent dooms day this past month. And every other poor soul obsessed (at what seems to be a cyclic 7 to 8 year period) with the end of the world as we know it. I'm beginning to believe that this fear is some innate sense passed down from generation to generation: a more tangible answer to the unfeeling/uncaring cosmos that we are spiraling within straight towards our death. Yes, death is meaningless. But all those years building up to our personal introduction to nothingness are ripe for human substance: To love. To experience. To share.

To confront these overwhelming thoughts, the poem below has offered years of solace.



On the day the world ends

A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the
rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

-Czeslaw Milosz

We're off to Iron Mountain.

For years I've wanted to take the hour long drive up route 60 to Bok Tower. May 30 was that day: a brutally hot one. Like the many things we take for granted (in our own back yards), this architectural gem sits atop a geographical anomaly that until we visited, I had no clue existed. Iron Mountain: 295 feet above sea level and the highest point on the Lake Wales Ridge. But more interestingly, one of the highest points on this giant sand bar we call home sweet home.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Learning to Read.

"In retrospect, I was a sad little boy and a standard-issue, shiftless, egotistical, dejected teen-ager. Everything was going to hell, and then these strangers let me come to read. All things considered, every year since has been a more intense and enigmatic joy"

-Salvatore Scibona: "Where I learned to Read."

I remember driving to school one late afternoon. Biology class. Piles of mind-numbing homework that could not be applied to the every-day grit that was the life I was living as a post-teen. I remember the shade of everything outside turning a dull orange. That time of day when everything slows down and your mind is allowed to turn upon itself. To think. To reminisce. I remember that day (sometime in late Spring) for the epiphany...I wanted to read. Not the biological nonsense I was paying for. Not the inapplicable math as part of my curriculum. Instead, I wanted to read about the connections of human experiences. I wanted to read something tangible.
That Spring, after opposing the recommendations of my advisor, I switched to a degree in English. Beginning that Fall, an educational void was filled: from then on, my life truly became a "more intense and enigmatic joy."

Thank you.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Existentialism: sometimes its the best therapy...

There are tricks to living on a char, Khalilullah says. He builds his house in sections that can be dismantled, moved, and reassembled in a matter of hours…He uses sheets of corrugated metal for the outside walls and panels of thatch for his roof. He keeps the family suitcases stacked neatly next to the bed in case they're needed on short notice. And he has documents, passed down from his father, that establish his right to settle on new islands when they emerge…His real secret, he says, is not to think too much. "We're all under pressure, but there's really no point to worry. This is our only option, to move from place to place. We farm this land for as long as we can, and then the river washes it away. No matter how much we worry, the outcome is always the same."

Don Belt: Excerpt from an article on Char's (small tidal islands) within Bangladesh.