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Monday, 9 December 2013

Bridge


.

the shimenawa (Meoto Iwa, Mie prefecture, Japan). Meoto Iwa or the wedded rocks will be a very familiar subject to many. This is my favourite PoV for this location aesthetically and symbolically. I titled this “the shimenawa” because I wanted to share a little excerpt from Joseph Campbell. “…the ‘shimenawa,’ the august rope of straw that was stretched behind the goddess (Amaterasu) when she reappeared, symbolizes the graciousness of the miracle of the light’s return. The shimenawa is one of the most conspicuous, important, and silently eloquent, of the traditional symbols of the folk religion of Japan. Hung above the entrances of the temples, festooned along the streets at the New Year festival, it denotes the renovation of the world at the threshold of the return. If the Christian cross is the most telling symbol of the mythological passage into the abyss of death, the shimenawa is the simplest sign of the resurrection. The two represent the mystery of the boundary between the worlds -- the existent nonexistent line.": photo by Stephen Cairns, 23 June 2013



The stones rising from
........... the gray
.......................water

The dark bay, illegible
................sentence
punctuated
by pier stumps -- stubbed
matchsticks

broken piers jutting toward
....................emptiness

fishing nets
fresh snow on dark piers
converging in distance
loneliness cold winter
......................night

streaming weeds
.....................a blur
just beneath the surface

light is life

color joy

but now -- all dark

and from those loved, drifting

poles
........apart
unready to cross
....................over

a bridge between worlds






Meoto Iwa (Meoto Iwa, Mie prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 23 June 2013
 


belief (Meoto Iwa, Mie prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 23 June 2013
 

fishing nets (Imazu, Lake Biwa, with Chibuku Island floating in the background, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 20 March 2013
 


ケンナさんありがとう
(Kohoku-cho, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 9 February 2013


broken pier, Lake Biwa (Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 9 December 2012
 

ways around (Adogawa-cho, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 17 November 2012
 

pier stumps (Adogawa-cho, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan) "...what was once, was and is lost,/ lost in the past, and now does not come back". -- Pablo Neruda, the closing lines of his poem Past. It's always about this time of year when my wife and I reflect on the year past. Of course, that spirals out into the quick passage of time and of how dear it is. It occurred to me that if a span of life is 80 years, then I've settled into my autumnal years: photo by Stephen Cairns, 17 November 2012
 

iteration (Adogawa-cho, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 17 November 2012
 

posts and weeds (Chibuku Island, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 31 March 2013
 


fourteen posts (dusk on Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 31 March 2013


two posts (Adogawa-cho, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 9 March 2013


KI (Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan). How about a little visual word play? "KI", the seventh sound of the Japanese syllabary. Most commonly meaning "tree", "wood, or "timber," it can have many meanings. When written with this Kanji "気" also pronounced "ki," it can mean "spirit", "nature", "mood", and "atmosphere." It can be used in combination with other words to make a phrase like "kimochi" (気持ち) which means "feeling" or "sensation". Of course, "o ki ni iri" or "お気に入り" which means a personal favourite works as well: photo by Stephen Cairns, 9 March 2013
 

 snow sounds (Lake Biwa near Nagahama, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 9 February 2013


fresh snow (Nagahama, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 9 February 2013


snow covered piers (Nagahama, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 9 February 2013


Chibuku Island (Imazu, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan): photo by Stephen Cairns, 20 March 2013


 winter storm, Kohoku (Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan). Tremendous winter wind this day. I remember thinking more arms would be helpful as I had one hand steadying the tripod, an umbrella under my arm and my free hand wiping down the filter. Oddly, days like that make me feel alive: photo by Stephen Cairns, 9 December 2012


early morning in Burlington (Spencer Smith Park, Burlington, Ontario): photo by Stephen Cairns, 23 July 2012


 
here and after. torii, Shirahigejinjya (白鬚神社) (Takashimashi, Lake Biwa, Shiga prefecture, Japan)
: photo by Stephen Cairns, 17 November 2012

14 comments:

Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

What chilly thoughts from pier stumps... desertion... odd couples (false-wives... false-husbands of wood). "About your beverage," says one stump to another. And if we listen carefully enough to the photographs, we hear breathing... yes, we hear breathing... as if we are at a Beckett play?

Red Shuttleworth

Ed Baker said...

OH MY WOWOW Tom...
Lake Biwa a sacred place....


first image (lava rocks ? or as I call them Feather Rock
and the two rocks tied together... we'll

I did a piece a few years ago I did a piece that I call Izanaga & Izanami ...

Izanami being the sister-wife of Izanagi who together birthed the Japanese Islands....

sorry no picture of my piece but here are some other thumbnails of Feather Rock pieces...

http://edbaker.maikosoft.com/batch_4/batch_4.html


poem woks well with the images and thanks for the recent images of Lake Biwa... my images of it in only my mind ... now ? these images add tone and temper to "things"



just reading The old Tea Seller and he ( in the 1700's frequents Lke Biwa...

neat all of those Shinto goods and goddess ( still The Kojiki bids me a read.... the Chamberlain translation


et ceteras.... thanks.

Hazen said...

life greyed out
is still beautiful
still there

across rope of straw
ritual of connecting

everything flows
recedes
remains
just here.

Nin Andrews said...

Beautiful. Reminds me of Maine. I love the lines about drifting from those loved,
the jutting towards emptiness.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

The dark bay, illegible
................sentence

. . .


.....................a blur
just beneath the surface



departuredelayed said...

I want to be surrounded by these images, and have spoken, or maybe more appropriately whispered, the words. Reminds me, in spirit, if not in style, of László Krasznahorkai's latest novel, Seiobo There Below: beauty, in transcending our attempts to harness it, is both the root of sorrow and heart of joy.

Hazen said...

Clearly, black and white photography is alive and flourishing in Stephen Cairns’ capable hands.

ACravan said...

I have been absorbing this slowly all day and will be doing so for a while. I don't know -- it's about the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Curtis

Nora said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Wooden Boy said...

The pier as the beginning of a bridge - beautiful being incomplete.

unready to cross
over

A real Stygian moment.

Jonathan Chant said...

'stubbed matchsticks' - great image in a great poem. real clarity in those photos. yes, you can hear them breathing...

ACravan said...

As I said, this really stayed with me . . . all day and all of the night. School is canceled here today and it looks like we’ll have a significant amount of snow. The light is quite a bit like the light in the photographs, that is to say, all dark. The bridge, poles and stumps resonate. The internet has made it easier for long-lost acquaintances to try to reconnect and that seems to happen at the holiday season. An old acquaintance contacted me last week for the first time in about 40 years. It was nice that she remembered me (I tend to think that I’m the only one who remembers people), but doing my own non-stalker rudimentary online research, I wonder whether the connection is a bridge, a drifting pole or a stump. Curtis

Be the BQE said...

Lovely, lovely punctuation of time and space.
-David

TC said...

Thawed on a chilly morn by extremely generous comments from kind (and of course brilliant) friends.

Blessings to everyone, and frosted breath held here today... touch wood and cross the bridge between worlds slowly and safely, loved ones.

We hear breathing, always a good sign.

Or is that just the wind off the Styx whistling through the hollow tree-stumps?

"And about your beverage..."

Fissure