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Monday 28 May 2012

Moment of Clarity


Rapeseed field near Bavenhausen, Germany
: photo by Daniel Schwen, 29 April 2007

The happiness promised in names like Lord's
Valley and Wind Gap recedes like the fading
Of a rainbow, yet hope walks in anyway,
Where there's life she's there -- nature's utopian
Possibility remains part of the scheme
As long as there's a breeze to blow the past away.

Solitary tree near Lausheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany: photo by Hansueli Krapf, 27 April 2007


ACravan said...

These two pictures are so beautiful. I'm all for the breeze and anxiously awaiting it and a moment of clarity. Curtis

TC said...

Well, Curtis, at least here there is a breeze. But a cold one. And it seems to be blowing the past back toward us. But I know that can't be true. Still dark, so what's coming (here's the mercy, I think) can't yet be identified.

ACravan said...

I do think that's the mercy and also that the cold breeze of the past has been blowing pretty continuously for quite a while now. Sometimes (all the time for me, actually), it's difficult to fix the direction of the breeze. One thing I've never forgotten from the past, which seems continually relevant, is the instruction I gained in 7th grade New York State history (all public schoolchildren in New York studied the state's history in that grade) about Boss Tweed and his enterprise. Apart from the darkly colorful stories, it gave an early lesson in political cartooning, with all those great Thomas Nast drawings. The other thing I remember, which isn't entirely unrelated, is the biography of Chief Red Jacket of the Seneca Iroquois. Talk about complicated politics. A nice annual whiff of the past around our parts is the Devon Horse Show, which is held quite close by every year over Memorial Day weekend. It's brilliant to be surrounded by so many beautiful horses in all sizes and colors. I wish we could get out, but it's exam crunch time in our house. Curtis

Nin Andrews said...

I love this--and the breeze to blow the past away. Here, it's humid and the deer flies have arrived with the rain. A breeze would be nice!

Hazen said...

Ouspensky believed a multitude of possibilities exist in every moment. These quickly get reduced to the actual, to what happens, by our attention—or more likely, by our in-attention. Possibility is kissing cousin to Chance, to divine Tyche, who owns half of the show. Structure, chance, attention (discernment without judgment.) . . . your three basic food groups.

That breeze ablowing, Tom, brings to mind Benjamin’s angel of history contemplating catastrophe and the storm "blowing in from Paradise. This storm is what we call progress."

Hazen said...

Forgot to add that the two photos here are absolutely stunning.



Yes, as Hazan says, these photos "absolutely stunning" (that field, that tree), and the breeze kicking up here will soon be another gale, ocean blue and white yesterday afternoon, what a view from the ridge.


light coming into sky above still black
ridge, crow flapping from left to right
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

things themselves, the view
“draws actions apart”

puts us closest, as viewers,
the distance in front

grey white of fog to the left of point,
circular green pine on tip of sandspit

Brad said...

Hazen got to the invocation of Benjamin's "angel of history" before I could.

Anonymous said...

I do like the tree seemingly in silent dialogue with the cloud passing through and the scene with the windmill in the distance is a vision of simplicity orderliness and poise that is seldom achieved in my own life these days

There is also some slight shadow cast in the memory of what such German orderliness can lead to . . . but forgiveness has to extend to future generations or we have the "vendetta mind" to contend with and that is a road leading only to more misery

There are days when I have to draw a blue line through everything that has gone before ... and try my best not to repeat the same stupid mistakes . . . or to imagine that only the worst will happen


The breeze also blows away our realization of why we are what we are, how we got here. We can look back on some places and times and say that those people eventually never recovered from event X or Y or Z, but they didn't know it at the time, because of the breeze. I often think of this... and today I can add, though the breeze is gale-forcing on the Vietnam War, I am not sure if we ever recovered. I am not sure if we will recover from the lynch-mob end of Saddam, even though the breeze has deposited tons of desert sand on that. Breezily more US vets of the Iraq War have killed themselves than died in combat, as was true for Vietnam, but let's breeze on past, to go forth to make more dead soldiers to memorialize, the breeze fills our sails

-K- said...

"...yet hope walks in anyway..."

Appropriate words for Memorial Day and I'm guessing it was no accident that your choose beautiful photos from Germany. I can't help but to wonder what these areas looked like 70 years ago.

-K- said...

And I hope your recuperation is complete, or nearly so.


TC said...

"Possibility is kissing cousin to Chance, to divine Tyche, who owns half of the show. Structure, chance, attention (discernment without judgment.) . . ."

Grateful to Hazen for reminding of the rules and discipline and attitude required in the later furlongs of the race to the finish line that isn't there, though its illusion seemed a bit too lifelike in these parts this morning. When I answered all these lovely comments in some detail (probably more detail than was required as usual), then lost the comment because (it seemed) the screen stubbornly refused to hold still.

In any case, yes, progress is indeed catastrophe, so it's always a relief to be slipping backwards. Concession and resignation in a gradual recession, fair enough -- it's just those lurches.

TC said...

And before I forget (again). The issue of the relation of the way we "read" images to the way we understand (or misunderstand) history arises here, and rightfully so. That issue has plainly been predominant in a great many of the posts on this blog over the past four years (perhaps too much so for the taste of some readers, but then there are always the other 1.7 billion blogs in the universe to offer relief and succour to those overly irritated by historical considerations). It still reveals great canyons of yawning open question to me at every turning (though of course it's not the only such issue, in fact it helps keep the mind off the other ones so remains in that sense useful, and harmless enough in the unknowing considering). It keeps me interested, is problematic and at times aggravating but still can't be ignored.

"Personally" I guess I tend to forgive those rapeseed fields for the historical crimes of Germany just as, in the preceding post, I forgave the Dedham buttercups for Bomber Harris and the Massacre at Drogheda and the Door County buttercups for Vietnam and waterboarding. At some point we have to forgive and forget and the remaining growing things on this endangered planet seem the least guilty of all things, notwithstanding the nightmares of history and "progress" -- that dark humanoid matrix in which all their living brightness is alas imbricated if only because a human had to be there taking the pictures.

And while on this subject honesty rears its chaste head and requires the admission that this poem had a previous incarnation in a previous millennium, and then too, in counting up my own share of the myriad failures of attention of which every writer on earth was or is always guilty (should they care to admit it), I will have to say that the names of the places mentioned in the poem absorbed me simply as names and that the attention to historicality was, perhaps, not dominant in the selection of those names.

But things change, and those days are gone. The Lord's Valley that was founded by Levi Lord in the first decade of the nineteeenth century is no longer there. The present unincorporated area of Lord's Valley in Blooming Grove Township is occupied almost exclusively (one learns) by the private gated community of Hemlock Farms, with its requisite single family dwellings and all the restrictive covenant details that are part and parcel of the history of every restrictive planned community of the America of the 1950s and 1960s. So in that respect it would be difficult to condescend too rudely to Bavenhausen or Baden-Württemberg. Though "Lord knows" none of those districts I have named probably bears close historical scrutiny without a groan or sigh or two of conscience somewhere in the karmic big picture. Barely audible, yet still there, like those sounds only dogs can hear.

As for Wind Gap, a leisurely stroll through the net will deliver not only images of the Septic Tank Permit Ordinance billboard on highway 739 in Blooming Grove Township, on the way to Lord's Valley, but the website for the gaming parlour action in Wind Gap Borough. And it's in French!

And by the way, Kevin, thanks for the all too appropriate reference -- do appreciate the kind thought, true that.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

I imagine a bear sleeping under this tree.

TC said...

Susan, lovely imagination, I am going to take that bear under that tree into my ancient flinty heart.

manik sharma said...

My moment of clarity would be confined to just lying there on that stretch of grass and being silent for some time to come for jack kerouac put it better for me ..

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”"

Another ,why has this idea or should i say the occurence of a lone tree in a large field as the image appears above has fascinated our imagination and been one of the more coveted delicacies our eyes have loved to feast upon..Wonder what it is about such an image...