Monday, May 20, 2013


We, anthropomorphizing madly, would have our various cats claim aloud that they are nocturnal animals. We had to break it to the beasts recently that they are not nocturnal -- rather, they are crepuscular. Or so said something we'd read, and crepuscular is such a nifty word that it stuck. 

The various degrees of darkness, inner and outer, are, of course, a long-standing interest of mine. Take tonight, for example. Sunset 8:04 PM. Why do I know this ? Because of last year's arrival of a nasty letter from the Waltham DPW warning me that if I were to put out my trash too early one more time, I would be fined fifty bucks. Trash may go out an hour before sunset, not a minute earlier: who knew ? I didn't.

And -- who ratted me out ?

I confess: this crepuscule, in the rain, I hauled my trash out out eight minutes early. Mea maxima culpa, DPW.

Maybe it wasn't a snitch; maybe there is a branch of the DPW whose employees are tasked with scouring the various neighborhoods of our town for garbage scofflaws -- trash stream, meet revenue stream. The inner workings of our municipality are crepuscular.

So, I must ask, is this the outer darkness or the outer crepuscule ?

Spring, of course, seems neither. This is not Eliot's midwinter spring, this is springspring, and as much as I hold on to winter, the dead branches are draped with catkins on their way to fruition

and creatures are madly mating mid air and in shadowy bowers.

But, photographing, I seek out shadows, even cast my own over sun-drenched subjects to darken and deepen their colors and avoid shiny, blown highlights. Doing so I am not unmindful of my act of blotting out the sun -- 

which seems, somehow, sinful -- appalling, really -- willful opacity, turning back what is so graciously poured forth.

Why, even a leaf transmits light !

And the eye and the lens drink it up thirstily, never getting their fill --

wishing, even,  for a geodesic, multi-facted eye --

all the better to spot the red creatures in the shadows --

the thronged landscapes underfoot

and the wonderful contraptions that have evolved for making more, more, more !

It is an art, I suppose, to avoid feeling strangled by the exigencies of one's particular life and maladies of the larger world, especially when they come neatly bundled, gift wrapped and tied with bow of helplessness -- these exigencies and maladies are a totally different type of grace, I suppose, one that calls for some response other than gratitude -- endurance, doing-what-one-can and so forth --

-- and one can sing, after all, about the green blade rising without pledging one's troth to any particular system --

-- and search out the light-bearing air beyond the wires --

-- which are, when viewed through a quantum lens, also transparent, as I am too, for that matter, sunblocking sinfulness notwithstanding --

From outer darkness, to outer crepuscule, to venturing out, alone,  on a limb that extends into blinding sunlight and dazzling green --

-- stranger, sojourner -- leaving behind the great, unsolved koan of hope.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


No lots are truly vacant. Complicated, interlocking ecologies of weeds and human detritus hasten to fill in the blanks, be they erasures or natural absences.  

The eye (my eye?) is promiscuous in its affections. Anything looks good up close. Numbers resonate with unplumbable significance,  and shapes, even rusted, reveal inarguable intelligent design even if the evoked pleasure is a mystery of deep, biologic concotion and extravagance.

I am wandering in a landscape of waste and want. The old asylum's boarded up administration building becomes a blank canvas,

a place of innumerable perils,

a classical pediment crying out for its own glowing nautilus that will whisper come in and see to any willing and susceptible ear.

Cataracts overflowing --

Parasols succumbing to wind --

Nursery colors --

A strange bird on her egg --

and the falls at evening, bronzed by the setting sun --

it's time -- it's always time --  to sit back and watch the game.



signage --

under the brise-soleil --

goal disoriented --

delicate --

imprisoned --

punished --

incinerated --

umbilicated --

Oh, what is the opposite of anthropomorphize ?