A sanctuary for creative writing and imagery

Posts tagged “country

Silent Reflections

Essay from a photo writing prompt by Harpa and the Icelandic Writers Retreat. View the photo and read other essays here.

Stepping softly
from the sidewalk across the breadth to the back,
the wood floor holds the reticent reverberations of yesterdays music while outside
ancient,
gray
ripples
meet basalt blocks unheard.
Arctic sunlight collects on the comb of windows encasing the space
until dissected by one large looking glass
set forth between beams
outstretched,
framing the North Atlantic like victorious arms.
Symmetry.
Safflower skies reflecting on silica and seawater.
A mirrored plane plunges toward water, reflecting the harbor in its face.

Reflection-
a bending back-
Middle English.
Harpa holds the heritage of the people and houses the spirit of a culture,
the compilation of all time, hundreds of years, magmatic, covering and building on each other to create each present. Yet each concert is but a
breaker
in the waters of time, while in
every
singular
moment
its structure stands it publishes Iceland’s biography;
its framework arranged to feature and flaunt the landscape of the sea.
The islands human history was born here,
is here,
as ancestral waves go out
and come again,
retreating
only to bend back
carrying the voices of vikings,
the trill of fishing vessels,
the whisper of sagas,
the echoes of centuries,
like a low, soothing sound barely beneath our perception.

We stand in a building just to the left of a dreamboat silhouette-
but is it left?
The hand we choose depends on whence we came.
We enter from the city
but from where did we enter the city?
We stand in a building just to the right of a dreamboat silhouette,
between the Sun Voyager and its golden destination, the journey shining through panels of glittering glass.
Having stepped softly from the sidewalk we crossed the breadth to reach the front.
The front-
sitting on the threshold of an ocean gazing through the glass for its children,
taciturn,
listening,
reflecting.
I gaze back in silent reverie,
listening,
reflecting,
overlooking half the fatherland.


My favorite photos from the capital city of Reykjavik, Iceland featuring Harpa Concert Hall, the Sun Voyager, and the North Atlantic Ocean.

IMG_8466 IMG_8456 IMG_8450 IMG_8443 copy IMG_8460


The Wonders that Exist Inside

One who not merely beholds the outward shows of things, but catches a glimpse of the soul that looks out of them, whose garment and revelation they are- if he be such, I say, he will stand, for more than a moment, speechless with something akin to that which made the morning stars sing together. – George MacDonald

We’ve heard the saying “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” and decided that it means that ugly people can be nice and just because someone is pretty doesn’t mean they’re a decent person. I don’t like that. Sometimes ugly people are just ugly people through and through and sometime pretty people are lovely on the inside too. But that’s not why I don’t like it, I don’t like it because it’s so shallow. The idea that people are either ugly or beautiful, good or bad, nice or mean, smart or dumb, and that is what we should look for in a person. Instead of judging whether a person is nice or mean, good or bad, why can’t we simply look to observe what is there? Can’t something be beautiful on the outside and complex on the inside? Why don’t we look for the glory, the mystery, the wonderful, the unseen? Why do we take what makes up a man, a man created by God out of the building blocks of the universe, and dumb it down into simply good or simply bad?

George Eliot said, “Adventure is not outside a man, it is within.” Where is our sense of adventure? Don’t we all want to experience awe, to be struck by something too wonderful for us? In the quote above MacDonald is referencing Job 38:7 where the morning stars (or the angels) cry out joyfully together and shout in applause upon seeing the Earth which Jehovah has just finished making. Imagine seeing our planet for the first time when nothing like it has ever existed before. It is glorious enough to us in our narrow view of it and yet it is suggested that we may have the same sense of joy and applause, excitement and wonder that the angels felt when we search deep inside another and examine what they are made of. Many of us wish to explore the world, but we are surrounded by hundreds of worlds living and breathing and swirling around us everyday, we should explore those.

The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.  Eden Phillpotts

All of nature, including us, exists below the surface; the surface of the ground, the surface of our skin, the surface of our perception. These photos are a small sampling of the “savage and beautiful country” that lies in between the mysterious (Diane Ackerman).

A big blue box on the outside, when you open the little window door just a crack bright yellow light comes streaming out. It's full of high intensity sodium light that you're not allow to look at lest it burn your retinas out. I assume.

A big, blue box on the outside, when you open the little viewing door just a crack bright, yellow light comes streaming out. It’s full of high intensity sodium light that you’re not allow to look at lest it burn your retinas out. I assume.

IMG_6290

Pink

The brilliant pink flower that erupts from the center of the previously pictured cactus. It feels fake like plastic and the spikes don’t poke you.

Eye

Purple petals on an aphid infected flower look out like an eye deciding whether it is safe to bloom.

 

These plants produce a fruit that it only ripe for eating for small window of time before it become s full of acid and toxic to humans.

These plants produce a fruit that it only ripe for eating for small window of time before it become s full of acid and toxic to humans.

An ornamental fig. Not much smaller larger than a pea these small fruits have a teeny whole in the top through which a female wasp enters and lays her eggs. Next a male wasp enters and fertilizes the eggs. When the baby wasps are born they trample around in the pollen before leaving to lay their eggs inside of another tiny fruit, carrying the pollen with them. There was already a wasp in this particular fruit, can you see it?

An ornamental fig. Not much smaller larger than a pea these small fruits have a teeny whole in the top through which a female wasp enters and lays her eggs. Next a male wasp enters and fertilizes the eggs. When the baby wasps are born they trample around in the pollen before leaving to lay their eggs inside of another tiny fruit, carrying the pollen with them. There was already a wasp in this particular fruit, can you see it?

These little flowers are special because they contain a lost memory from my childhood. Years ago my grandparent owned the Monte Claire Motel and there was one of these plants in the lobby. The flowers are smooth and plasticy and they leak a sweet, sugary liquid like little tears.

These little flowers are special because they contain a lost memory from my childhood. Years ago my grandparent owned the Monte Claire Motel and there was one of these plants in the lobby. The flowers are smooth and plasticy and they leak a sweet, sugary liquid like little tears.


On the Way to Steamboat

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.

Matsuo Basho

My mother’s family homesteaded Steamboat Springs, CO back in 1902 with two covered wagons and a team of oxen. To make it over the pass they had to hitch up all of the oxen to one wagon, pull it over, and return for the other wagon. They waited in Denver until the snow broke and took most of the summer to get there. When I was a kid I thought that driving for four hours to get there was a long time, now I think it is too fast. Routt and Grand counties are beautiful country and I am convinced that nothing faster than a horse can do it justice, it is so annoying to pull off the road every 5 minutes to see something. I wonder how our modern ease of travel has affected both our sense of adventure and our appreciation for the journey.

Pictures from the areas around Kremmling, Steamboat Springs, and Walden.

Inlet IMG_5129 - Copy IMG_5078 IMG_5082 - Copy

Catamount