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Friday, 24 September 2010

Autumn Leaves on a Park Bench

Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
William Cullen Bryant

I feel I must apologise if I am boring you with a plethora of focalised colour shots. I have been having a difficult time finding subject matter without an ugly or boring background. So I have been portraying the ugliness in fuzzy black and white. How I wish this worked in Real Life.

I did, however, think these leaves were such a lovely vibrant colour (the park bench, less so). I don't remember an autumn with colours this bright before. Well, not since I lived in New England. Something to do with the drier, hotter summer I am told. Or perhaps I merely forgot to look.

Some days I feel myself overcome with the need to See. I worry that in trying to see my world in a new and interesting way, to find that image that will keep you entertained, I have perhaps forgotten to truly look, to actually see my world, to remain conscious. These are the thoughts that occupy my mind until the colour and shape of a leaf captivates my imagination and I forget about you, about me.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Sunday 19 September 2010: Pyracantha Golden Sun Berries

September: it was the most beautiful of words, he'd always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.
- Alexander Theroux, 1981

I trust in Nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant and Autumn garner to the ends of time
- Robert Browning

Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow
- Author Unknown

Our Pyracantha is making berries for the birds to feast upon in preparation for winter.

I love this plant. We inherited two, one on each side of our back garden. We have to work really hard to keep them under control but the blackbirds absolutely adore the berries!

They do, however, have extremely lethal sword-like thorns on them. Gary has been assaulted more than once and is not nearly as fond of them as I am. I just like making the birds happy and then there is the colour! Ours is called Golden Sun and is this lovely vibrant shade of yellow. A truly lovely sight on a gloomy winter day.

Blackbirds swoop and dive
Yellow berries dance, beckon
Autumn seduction
Haiku by Robin

Friday 17 September 2010: Patchwork Wall in the Rose Garden

I'm susceptible to that sort of thing - to walls and flowers. You can probably get something more from a wall than a person sometimes. It's just put somewhere.
Ray Davies

We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love these old flint walls. I could just look at them for hours looking for a hidden pattern. Walls made of flint are one of the great things about living in Sussex. This one has been repaired numerous times; a few red bricks here and there, a crack filled in with cement, support bars made of iron...

This is another photo taken in the old rose garden (no roses anymore) in one of the darker corners. I very rarely look in that corner but it has a kind of dark beauty, not much sun, a lot of shade from the trees. A place where one tends to whisper for no apparent reason. Where spiders spin their webs while no one is watching. A fantastical place where one has to be reminded to breathe.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Wednesday 15 September 2010: Blue Skies with Clouds

Excuse me while I kiss the sky.
Jimi Hendrix

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
e.e. cummings

Dixie and I stopped to throw the ball around and the air was so bright and clear and crisp. We stopped to look up and I managed to capture this moment.

If only it were possible to reach up and kiss the sky...

Perhaps Dixie and I will become Sky Worshippers...

Friday, 17 September 2010

Poems4people: The Opposite House

Poems4people: The Opposite House: "There’s been a death in the opposite house Family members have come to rip Out the unwanted furniture And put it in a skip. Mill..."

Sunday 12 September 2010: A Sunday Afternoon in September

I Am the Autumnal Sun
by Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes a mortal feels in himself Nature
-- not his Father but his Mother stirs
within him, and he becomes immortal with her
immortality. From time to time she claims
kindredship with us, and some globule
from her veins steals up into our own.

I am the autumnal sun,
With autumn gales my race is run;
When will the hazel put forth its flowers,
Or the grape ripen under my bowers?
When will the harvest or the hunter's moon
Turn my midnight into mid-noon?
I am all sere and yellow,
And to my core mellow.
The mast is dropping within my woods,
The winter is lurking within my moods,
And the rustling of the withered leaf
Is the constant music of my grief....

McIntyre Field, Lancing Ring as the summer changes to autumn and the green, green grasses turn yellow and drop their seed pods...

But, Oh, such gorgeous blue skies and how the Sun did shine...

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Saturday 11 September 2010: Solitude in the Wood

The Way Through the Woods
by Rudyard Kipling

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods?.
But there is no road through the woods.

This is a quick shot of the way into my woods... A wood filled with the 'sound of skirts swishing in the dew, cantering through misty solitudes', hushed whispers never quite heard, a portal to another time and place ... even if only in my imagination...

Wednesday 8 September 2010: The Lost Reflected in a Churchyard

In Those Years

In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and, yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to

But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
along the shore, through rages of fog
where we stood, saying I

Adrienne Rich

This is my local Anglo-Saxon church. I've taken photos of it before. I try to to take at least one every season...

A gloomy, blustery day this was. I think I must have been a little gloomy myself. This day when Dixie and I took a reverent shortcut through the churchyard, I was reminded of loves and lives long gone.

I spend quite a lot of time wondering how we manage to 'lose' people - part of the aging process, I am sure someone will say.

Obviously some die and we are left with the husks of their life... holding on.

Some are lost through choice: our choice, their choice, petty dramas that seemed so important at the time.

And yet others just seem to slip out the back door unseen. One day you turn to them only to find them gone...

I like to think that by merely remembering them, they are no longer lost...

Somedays I think that is the purpose of an Anglo-Saxon churchyard...

Tuesday 7 September 2010: Sunflower in the Wind

"...bring me the sunflower crazed with the love of light." Eugenio Montale

Yes, I have fallen dreadfully behing on my photo journal... Life seemed so very busy and I seemed to have lost the words to describe it.

I spotted these in someone's garden on my way back from yet another visit to my GP... It was a windy, blustery day. We have had quite a lot of those lately. Autumn is, indeed, upon us.

It was as if they had turned their faces to the wind like a small child would do. Letting the wind take their breaths away for a moment followed by a giggle. Of course, sunflowers don't actually giggle or even breathe, I suppose.

Perhaps they find some kind of flowery joy in making others giggle...

Sunday 29 August 2010: A Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait
by Adam Zagajewski
translated by Clare Cavanagh

Between the computer, a pencil, and a typewriter
half my day passes. One day it will be half a century.
I live in strange cities and sometimes talk
with strangers about matters strange to me.
I listen to music a lot: Bach, Mahler, Chopin, Shostakovich.
I see three elements in music: weakness, power, and pain.
The fourth has no name.
I read poets, living and dead, who teach me
tenacity, faith, and pride. I try to understand
the great philosophers--but usually catch just
scraps of their precious thoughts.
I like to take long walks on Paris streets
and watch my fellow creatures, quickened by envy,
anger, desire; to trace a silver coin
passing from hand to hand as it slowly
loses its round shape (the emperor's profile is erased).
Beside me trees expressing nothing
but a green, indifferent perfection.
Black birds pace the fields,
waiting patiently like Spanish widows.
I'm no longer young, but someone else is always older.
I like deep sleep, when I cease to exist,
and fast bike rides on country roads when poplars and houses
dissolve like cumuli on sunny days.
Sometimes in museums the paintings speak to me
and irony suddenly vanishes.
I love gazing at my wife's face.
Every Sunday I call my father.
Every other week I meet with friends,
thus proving my fidelity.
My country freed itself from one evil. I wish
another liberation would follow.
Could I help in this? I don't know.
I'm truly not a child of the ocean,
as Antonio Machado wrote about himself,
but a child of air, mint and cello
and not all the ways of the high world
cross paths with the life that--so far--
belongs to me.


I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.
Frida Kahlo
Mexican painter (1907 - 1954)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Sunday 5 September 2010: The Making of Cider

And there never was an apple, in Adam's opinion, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it. ~ Neil Gaiman

People came from miles around for their cider. ~ Jayne Berger

We met up with friends today, including a couple from Scotland. I made American-style pancakes. It was hugely fun and hugely decadent. On our way to Beachy Head (yes, again) for a pub dinner in The Tiger Inn we stopped at Middle Farm so our visitors could sample the The National Collection of Cider & Perry . Dixie and I waited outside which gave us this lovely view of apples just waiting to be turned into that magic elixir known as Cider.

Thursday 2 September 2010: Autumn Colours and Emily Dickinson

Besides the autumn poets sing,
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the haze.
~Emily Dickinson

As Summer into Autumn slips
by Emily Dickinson

As Summer into Autumn slips
And yet we sooner say
"The Summer" than "the Autumn," lest
We turn the sun away,

And almost count it an Affront
The presence to concede
Of one however lovely, not
The one that we have loved --

So we evade the charge of Years
On one attempting shy
The Circumvention of the Shaft
Of Life's Declivity.

Autumn
by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Wednesday 1 September 2010: An Afteroon in the Park with a Dog and Milosz

If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.~ Lyn Yutang

The Sun
by Czeslaw Milosz

All colors come from the sun. And it does not have
Any particular color, for it contains them all.
And the whole Earth is like a poem
While the sun above represents the artist.

Whoever wants to paint the variegated world
Let him never look straight up at the sun
Or he will lose the memory of things he has seen.
Only burning tears will stay in his eyes.

Let him kneel down, lower his face to the grass,
And look at light reflected by the ground.
There he will find everything we have lost:
The stars and the roses, the dusks and the dawns

Warsaw, 1943

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Monday 30 August 2010: Memory of a Flight

Life is a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.
Charles Lindbergh

The wave of the future is coming and there is no fighting it.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This is not really a very interesting blip but this is the tail of The DeHavilland Heron outside Airport House which was the aircraft that flew the last passenger flight from Croydon on 30 September 1959.

We were attending a wedding reception next door and I stopped to take some pictures of the old Croydon Airport which opened on the 29 March 1920. It is sadly looking decidely frayed around the edges... a very depressing sight really. But in its heyday the Croydon Aerodrome (as it was called) experienced world wide fame:

"The aerodrome was known the world over, its fame being spread by the many aviators and pioneers who touched down at Croydon, such as

* Alan Cobham, who flew from Croydon to Cape Town and back in 1925-6;
* Charles Lindbergh, who flew into Croydon in 1927 shortly after completing the first solo trans-Atlantic flight;
* Bert Hinkler, who made the first flight from Croydon to Darwin, Australia in 1928;
* Charles Kingsford Smith, who beat Hinkler's record;
* Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly from Croydon to Australia, later to return to Croydon to a jubilant welcome.
* Winston Churchill, who took extensive flying lessons at Croydon and was nearly killed during a crash at take-off in 1919.
* Tom Campbell Black, who with C.W.A. Scott won the MacRobertson London to Melbourne Air Race in 1934;" ~ Wikipedia

So for one afternoon with sprinkling rain blurring my vision I found myself swept up in a moment lost, virtually forgotten, apparently no longer valued. However, I wonder had this moment not existed would my present be in its same form?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Saturday 28 August 2010: A Lighthouse at Beachy Head

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine. ~ Dwight L. Moody (American Evangelist, 1837-1899)

Just Shine!

Friday 27 August 2010: Dixie Listening

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as a dog does.
- Christopher Morley


Another lovely photo of Dixie... but just look at that face.

I was having a conversation with my dog which clearly made much more sense to me than to her but, as always, she stayed right there with me completely focused.

I think she believes I am the wisest person in the whole world... and when I am with her, I am.

Thursday 26 August 2010: Memory of a Wood

A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen. ~Edward de Bono

It was at this moment on my walk with Dixie that I suddenly forgot exactly where or when I was. This was not a scarey forgetfulness but more of a poetic pause.

I looked up and realized the beauty before me could have been a wood in Oklahoma, a wood in Mendocino, a wood in Louisiana or any of the many woods I've trodden through in England and Scotland. It was a very small moment in time when the beauty of a place existed without my needing to know what, where or when it was. A moment of grace when nature reached out to include me...

We do not remember days; we remember moments. ~Cesare Pavese, The Burning Brand

Wednesday, 1 September 2010