Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stuff That's In the Way


...went out to take pictures of a sunset a week or so ago...like people with cameras and artsy-fartsy pretensions do...was kinda frustrated by the opportunities offered by my neighborhood for a good clear wide-open cloudscape...too many things in the way of open sky...so, walked around a bit trying to find a better vantage point....then, looking at the photos last night, ended up deciding the ones I liked best were those with the most interference...

...in the end, we’re always somewhere...always someone...always immersed in context...much as we might, sometimes, like it to be otherwise...


To say we are all God is well and good, but not at the cost of denying our humanity with all its seeming foibles.
Joel Kramer/Diana Alstad

...a week or two ago, got up Saturday morning, did some yoga and meditated, then went kayaking with a friend on a lake I’d forgotten was such a short drive away, then lay on a float in a pool reading a book on mindfulness...and, a bit later, started a completely pointless argument with people I care about...

There are no holy places and no holy people, only holy moments, only moments of wisdom.
Jack Kornfield


...in sixth grade, we read this story by Ray Bradbury...about a shoe store owner and a kid who wants a pair of sneakers but can’t afford to pay for them...the kid pleads, talks about what it would mean to him to have the sneakers, evoking antelopes and gazelles and, for a moment, kinda bringing back the shoe store guy’s own lost youth....in the end, they make a deal...the kid can have them but will have to work off the cost...the kid says thanks, and the shoe store guy says something like you’ve given me so much more...which, the teacher explained, referred to the kid giving his time to work in the store after school...which struck me, even then, as an incredibly shallow reading....up to that point, I’d had disagreements with teachers...but they generally involved matters of behavior....that, I think, was the first time I realized that teachers can’t always be trusted to understand what they’re teaching...

...though, of course, just how clueless a teacher can be didn’t quite hit me 'til I became one myself...

16 comments:

JR's Thumbprints said...

I meet resistence daily when it comes to educating. "You're the teacher dammit," my students will say, "so teach me."

My response, "You're the student dammit, so learn."

As for your pics, I like the first one; it reminds me of a river.

Linnea W said...

Your sky shots are lovely! Fantastic colors and the silhouettes only enhance the sky more! Have fun...

Erik Donald France said...

"Immersed in context" is an apt way of putting (some of) it.

Drowsey Monkey said...

So, after all that meditating you were still argumentative? Sigh ... there's no hope for me then. I just got in a useless online argument and I haven't done that in almost a year, or ...well, in months anyway. I thought i was doing so well. Damn it! And you've been doing this way longer than I have - as you know, I've only been to a meditation INTRODUCTORY class. I'm screwed.

Hey - uplifting post. LOL

RB said...

It almost seems like your initial concern that Philly doesn't have nice sunset spots is similar to the teacher's bland interpretation of the story...but I'm glad you came around to the idea of "holy moments" which incidentally is kind of related to the idea that time is precious. Maybe the teacher wasn't wrong, just inarticulate.

One of my favorite sunset pictures was taking over the roof tops of our cruddy row houses on Sansom st. in college...I've always thought city skylines made interesting sunsets. Great pictures either way.

the walking man said...

I find that them that teach me most never have the intent of being teachers at all.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Lovely sky...if you love sunsets, you gotta come to NM sometime...

Nothing Profound said...

When the world doesn't conform to our expectations, we get to see it from a new perspective. The trees, the buildings, the telephone wires forced you to take a different kind of picture, to deviate from your preconceptions. So you wound up with these amazing photos, unusual and beautiful in their own way.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Beautiful sunset!

PS: You were surprisingly accurate in your comment on my blog yesterday!

Tonya said...

Love the pics. Beautiful.

Brooks Hall said...

Dr. Jay, I enjoyed every part of this post, and you chose great quotes and references to some of my favorite writers and idea-people. And finding beauty in what is is usually a good key--and not always easy to see! On another topic: I have seen two three-legged dogs in the last week! It reminds me of the post you did a while back... Today I saw this adorable three-legged greyhound! I always am too shy to ask if I can take a picture, but I want to. I will next time.

Lana Gramlich said...

Pretty pictures!
There's a saying; You can't teach w/o learning, yourself. ;)

Deborah Godin said...

I agree - I quite like the jig-saw shape the 'interference' makes in the first shot. It took me in a completely different direction than your post, but hey...

Karin Bartimole said...

That is one gorgeous sky, and I love your shots of it -as well as your accompanying words. thanks for sharing your humanness with us, from meditation to arguing!

free yoga said...

Love your sky pictures! Great article thanks for sharing.

earthtoholly said...

Beautiful sky photos, drjay. I've always thought that the sky's not much without clouds and that a cloudy sky is always more interesting with accompanying stuff. Silhouettes are just the best. By the way, your first pic reminds me of a chubby mermaid...just me, I'm sure.

"...started a completely pointless argument with people I care about..." Hmmm, I did that same thing while I was out of town. Pointless on the surface...in my case, that is.

Just awhile ago, Lucy stretched and my nephew commented that she just did a Downward Facing Dog...thought of you!