Posted in photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

Return to the house of dreaming swiftlets: i could have loved you better

an autumn in life
an evanescent autumn day

My Evanescent Love. Kate writes in her Note III as she remembers the river. After the bridge, she continues to drive toward the alumni reunion dinner at a city seven miles (11.2654 kilometers) away. She and her sister Pam used to pedal their bicycles to that town to study before it became a city. She was 13 and Pam was 10.  Pam’s legs were short and had a hard time cycling that seemingly unending distance. But now it is too short a journey for Kate as she enjoys driving long distance alone, meditating on the plots of her stories. She has other matters on mind.

“What am I going to say to all these strangers?” She thinks of the old men and women whom she has not met, not in their adulthood anyway. She tries to think of Joe, the only boy in school who owned a motor cycle and tried to court her by daily standing outside Kate’s classroom looking at her. After they graduated from high school he wrote letters. He brought gifts to her house. He flew to visit her when she moved on to another city to continue college. She is not prepared to meet any of them, especially Joe. Of course there is no hard feeling after all these years.

It was a sunny morning. Joe flew in the previous evening and stayed with another friend. They arranged to meet in the capital park. Kate went to the rendezvous with her two best friends at that time. The two girls hid in some nearby bushes while Kate talked to Joe. Kate told him she could not develop their friendship further as she intended to pursue a higher study and a profession that might take her overseas.

“You cannot wait for me,” She said, “you are the eldest son and heir to your family plantation. You will do well by marrying another girl and fulfill your duty to your parents.” Joe did not stand a chance to proclaim his willingness and ability to persuade his parents. He was hurt deeply. Kate finished her monologue and left him standing in the park alone. She left him. Later the two friends came out from their hiding and were both flabbergasted. They told her she was crazy to dump this young man with such good prospect. He was well-mannered and good looking too. From then on they called her “Mad Kate”. Soon after that she introduced him to a distant cousin and persuaded him to marry her.

It was just her way of distancing herself. She is never the person they think she is. She was popular in high school and college because she was considered an enigmatic figure. In those days people were curious about the wide range and depth of stuff she seemed to know. She read widely and wrote profusely. The youth in those days liked to read and were drawn to her because she exuded positivity and enthusiam. She was a self-made counselor and problem-solver. She formed a “laughing club” which sole agenda was telling original jokes. She was selected for the school debating team because of her encyclopedic mind and her ability to organize and apply thoughts as quick as lightening. No, she did not have any other suitor since Joe. She was not the kind of person with whom anyone would want to approach to build a relationship.

As Kate recalls this side of her past life she feels as if she is observing some random scenes in a memoir or movie of someone else. It is another person, another life. She is just a bystander, like Peter Drucker’s book in that title, her favorite. It is the personal relationship part that she has left out from her interaction with others. She has found an old autograph about her from her high school friends in Liz’s old stuff. Her late brother-in-law had wrapped it up with a piece of protective white paper and stored it in one of the display cabinets. Here is the comment (written by someone she can no longer recall) that touches her because it was an accurate observation:

“Dear Kaz (how she was known to some): Looking for a space in your auto. is just like looking for a parking lot on a busy street… It just shows how busy…oops…eh popular you are. It’s a great achievement (to be proud of) to gain so many friends in the barely 2 years here in K____(the capital).
Indeed thru’ our ‘Psycho…Club’ (?) I have come to know (to learn) so much of you that I think I’ve been doing nothing worthwhile at all. You’re so different from all the people I know of…You know, you’re quiet, yet terribly naughty; uninterested, yet so concerned; …oh…unromantic, yet ever so genuine at writing romantic stories. I like that piece of story with…”

Kate has forgotten this autograph book and all the people who had written in it for her. She looks at the name who penned the above note and tries her best to imagine who she/he is and what the writer perhaps had looked like. But she just cannot recall. Kate wanted to become a psychologist then and formed the club for those in similar interest. The person was not one of her best friends and was possibly a mere fellow club member. Looking at this note now, Kate regrets she had not made any effort to know the writer more.

There are many things in her life she wishes she has done or not done. They were mainly decisions. Some decisions are irrevocable. A counselor cum editor once warned her, “You will one day regret this decision. Please don’t make it.” But Kate was too engrossed in her own dream to listen to the wise woman.

As she parks her car near the entrance of the restaurant, she can see a few persons standing there and Beautiful Flower waves at her. She can see Joe clearly. He has not changed much, the same built, the same shy boyish look and smile in his eyes. Has she ever wanted to learn to love him, a man? She cannot recall. (To be continued)

Posted in photography, poetry, power of words, words of thoughts and spirit

two songs on evanescent visions

t
1 vision3am visionAs I am writing my story on Kate (Blue Flower)’s return to the house of Dreaming Swiftlets in her own evanescent encounter, I am led to these two songs. They are old time classic, still the best old loves in the memories of many from the Evanescent era. The photos are screen shots using a Samsung Galaxy J 7 Prime. The songs bring back memories to many. I pray you have good memories.

Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks) – “DREAMS”
https://youtu.be/_Dsh9M6qnhE

Now here you go again, you say
You want your freedom
Well who am I to keep you down
It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost, and what you had, and what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say women they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know, you’ll know

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself, it’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and,
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness,
Like a heartbeat, drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering, what you had,
And what you lost and what you had and what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know

Songwriters
STEVIE NICKS

The Sound of Silence (Original Version from 1964)
https://youtu.be/4zLfCnGVeL4

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence

Songwriters
PAUL SIMON

Posted in photography, words of thoughts and spirit, Bible verses

return to the house of dreaming swiftlets: evanescent encounter

When Kate/Blue Flower goes back to her birth place she does not realize it is to be an Evanescent encounter with her past. It is just a normal assignment she decides to undertake last minute out of love when her sister Liz calls. It is not difficult to buy the air ticket and fly to this town. But Kate has not anticipated the sequence of events that follows. Yes, fifty years of staying away is a long time. Why did she stay away for so long?

No, she did not suffer from any sad memory of that place. She just left for higher education and youthful pursuit for a better future in terms of career and dreams. Yet, her sudden returning to the town sets off a chain of events which she has never thought would happen.

One morning she receives a phone call from Beautiful Flower, “Blue Flower, guess what, I have a pleasant surprise for you!” Beautiful Flower has told other classmates who still remain and they want to meet Kate too. So they have agreed to have an alumni gathering with Kate as their honorary homecoming guest. Kate is not prepared but she has to agree. How can she say no to these folks who have never left their past? Beautiful Flower continues to say, “‘You-know-who’ will be there. He is longing to see you again!”

She means a boy named Joe who used to fancy Blue Flower. Kate does not really look forward to see any one of them. She was never close to them and stayed at a distance not because she disliked them. Rather it was disinterest. Perhaps it was because she was always a dreamer, or a writer-to-be of another story, another world. While looking through old photos Liz finds a family photo. Their eldest brother Bill was 15, Liz 11, Kate 5, a younger sister Pam 3 with their mother carrying their year old baby brother Ron. Their parents were young and good looking. It was a happy family picture. Liz wants to get it printed and let each remaining sibling have a copy. But Kate does not want hers.

“Why?” Liz looks flabbergasted. “But we all look so nice in this photo!”
“I was not happy. Don’t you notice?”
“But why? Was it after mom started caning you to make you study?” Liz asks. (She always lives in forgetful oblivion and has no idea of how others live.)
“No, I was never caned. I was always the best student in class. I was just living in my own world and longing to become someone I wasn’t.” Kate tries to explain in vain because deep down she knows Liz would not understand her.

The vision first came when she was around four. She either dreamed or saw in her vision she was a prince from Manchuria. She was too young to have heard or understood anyone mention that country or dynasty. They had no television or movie then in their little town. They could not afford books. She bought her first story book at 13 when she won monetary rewards for winning top prizes in academic performance. But in her detailed vivid vision she was dressed with Manchurian royal garment as a prince and wore a sword. She led her army to fight many battles and set free those held captive by the enemies. One day she saved a princess. If it was mere story and imagination who put them in her mind and heart? She wonders now. There were many such dreams and/or visions through out the first two decades of her young life. If she was a prince she would marry a princess and not another prince. She made up her mind since then and lived that dream for six decades.

“O, please come to the alumni gathering,” Beautiful Flower continues to urge her. “They all miss you and want to see you! You know how popular you were in school! Everyone loved to read the stories you wrote! You know, they just asked me whether you have come to write a book about this town!”

What can Kate do? She is not going to disguise herself to resemble the teen they remember or expect to see. Even Beautiful Flower had a shock when Kate turned up suddenly and declared her former name (Blue Flower). She has changed into someone else. She has reached a point in her life that she no longer cares how she looks to others. At 69 it is too late to try a second makeover. She does not expect any old crushes (one-sided on their part) to fall head over heels for her again. “How to relearn a lifestyle you have never really learned, or lived, or believed? You will only end up a hypocrite.” Her conscience reminds her.

So on this evanescent evening Kate turns up at the alumni gathering as she thinks she really is now.

As she drives across that same old river she pauses on the bridge. It used to be a narrow wooden one. The government has rebuilt a new concrete bridge alongside the old one which they have kept for unknown reason. Why do people keep old things like this rickety old bridge? She wonders. The river is calm and quiet. She can see water creatures moving down there. Her sister’s Japanese car is perhaps seventeen year old, the same age of her house. It still runs strong and well. Kate finds the small car amazingly powerful. It is a rare old thing that still works so faithfully. Helping her sister means clearing off unwanted old stuff. Kate finds it easy to throw them away. But Liz hoards them. For hours she would hold a piece of old paper or a faded photo and tries to decide to keep or not to keep. She lives in terms of memories. She surrounds herself with them.

“Do I really need memories?” Kate wonders. She has discarded many long ago and told herself she did not care. Her younger sister, Pam, another fonder of old memories, last year sent her an alumni photo in which Pam was surrounded by old men who used to be boys, and Joe was in that photo. He still looks good. She was told he has always been a good man. Pam used to consider him a likely perfect potential brother-in-law. But it did not materialize. It never could have been. Pam once asked her hopefully, “What if…?” But Kate smothered that wishful thinking, “There is no ‘what if’ in my life dictionary.”

Kate looks now at the same shadowy watery path beneath the bridge. Has the water changed? Do natural elements change? She recalls reading somewhere that no water is ever the same at the same spot of a river. Why? Because water moves. So does her evanescent life. She was once so sure that her life would not change. But it has changed. She had happiness so firmly grasped in her hands but how soon it had proven her wrong. (To be continued)

Eccelesiastes 3
Ecclesiastes 3:6

by a wise king

For everything there is a season — a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

(Quoted from: Ecclesiastes)

Posted in copywriter, literary magazines and publishing, photography, power of words, words of thoughts and spirit, writer's blog

a letter writer’s heritage

Heritage

I just received this WhatsApp message, “Would you please write another generic and/or personified donation letter for us on this new school project?” I cannot remember when I have stopped writing my own formal/informal letters. The last time I wrote was for someone else for charitable donation. As usual, when I receive a letter writing request I need all information of the project and meditate for a number of days, sometimes weeks. I could look at the numerous letters and newsletters I have received to find tips if any. But since they have not persuaded me to donate there is really no point looking at them.

In my recent month-long trip to clear a house of old stuff so that it can be put up for sale, I found and carried back some old books. They are mostly books printed in the 1950s. I asked for permission to keep some for myself. Here is one which I quite like: Ladies’ & Gentlemen’s Letter-Writer, printed in Great Britain, 1953. 

I cannot resist taking the liberty to quote the following sample letters. Enjoy.
All the names are fictitious of course.

November 20th
Dear Sylvia,
Here is a cheque for £5. I know just how difficult things are these days. In fact my own account is nearly overdrawn, so try and let me have the £5 promptly at the end of the month.
Love,
Pamela.

December 12th
Dear Sylvia,
What about my £5? Be a dear, and let me have it as soon as you can, since I’m getting rather short myself now.
Love,
Pamela.

December 20th
Dear Sylvia,
I wrote on the 12th, asking for repayment of my loan (which you promised to repay at the end of November), but I have heard nothing from you. I hope you haven’t spent all your last salary on Christmas presents, because I really need that £5 very badly. Could you send it by return?
Love,
Pamela.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hard times then and now. History does not change over mankind and circumstances. We now use digital ways to communicate instead of physical paper and ink. We gain speed. We can even delete our side of the record. But the mark is there on the other side unless he/she deletes too. In the house where I just cleaned up I found tons of paper records, old letters, magazines, books, exam papers, certificates, pictures, children’s school books, drawings, manuscripts, boxes and boxes of them. Some magazines are still in their original wrappers as though they have not yet been read. When I return to my own abode after a long absence, I too find many magazines (from some faithful mutual funds) in wrappers. I just do not have time to read them. The worst is that they come in two languages so I get two per month!

Many years ago I made a decision to get rid of my papers. So I gave away books. I burned my papers, pictures, certificates, thesis, whatever. Yet, many years later when I see some old pictures in my siblings’ collection I take a photo of those which depict me as a very young person. I find one such group photo lately. In those days people were expected to be respectfully serious and close their mouths when not talking. When all mouths were dutifully closed, me at five was captured in history with my mouth gapping, staring at the camera. Was it a premonition that one day I would do such verbose talking on screen?

“Every body allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Every body at all addicted to letter writing, without having much to say, which will include a large proportion of the female world at least…”
― Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

“Andy: But they gave us an out in the Land of Oz. They made us write. They didn’t make us write particularly well. And they didn’t always give us important things to write about. But they did make us sit down, and organize our thoughts, and convey those thoughts on paper as clearly as we could to another person. Thank God for that. That saved us. Or at least it saved me. So I have to keep writing letters. If I can’t write them to you, I have to write them to someone else. I don’t think I could ever stop writing completely.”
― A.R. Gurney, Love Letters*

*Love Letters is a lovely play. Quoting from online sources:

A new Letter begins
In the age of instant communication, iPhones and Twitter, Love Letters is bringing memories of a simpler time to Broadway in 2014, helmed by Tony-winning director Gregory Mosher. The limited engagement includes appearances by Carol Burnett, Alan Alda, Candice Bergen, Stacy Keach, Diana Rigg, Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen. The first celebrity pair in the new revival is Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy, who will reprise the role of Andrew. “[Love Letters] is an extraordinary piece,” Dennehy told Today. “You cannot stage a play more simply than this, and yet it’s about everything in life. First love, loss of opportunities, loss of life, loss of love…It’s a beautiful play, and all you do is speak it.” But there’s two things the play won’t include: “Tweets and twerks,” Dennehy joked. “There are no twerks in this play.”

Posted in God's blessing, photography, words of thoughts and spirit

a child’s reflective conversation

Reflecting

reflection1 Here is a conversation overheard.

Child: Mom, I can touch the clouds.
Mother: No you can’t.
Child: Yes I can.
Mother: No, they are too high up.
Child reaches her hands into the water, and says, “See, here they are, not high at all.”
Mother: No, you are not touching the real ones. These are mere reflections.
Child laughs and ignores the mother. She continues to play with the clouds’ reflection in the water dancing at the touch of her hands. She is happy.

If the reflections do not have a meaningful purpose why does God create reflections? A point to ponder on.

Posted in photography, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

from a train window: a beautiful journey

Earth
Sierra Nevada mountain 4I decide to share this picture of a beautiful snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, taken in January 2016 from the window of an Amtrak train. Here is how the journey is described in their web site, which I find quite appropriate from my personal experience. This was the first time I traveled by this train. The experience is different and rewarding.

“Experienced travelers say the California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America. As you climb through the heart of the Rockies, and further west through the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, you may find it hard to disagree.
The Zephyr runs daily between Chicago and San Francisco, coursing through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and then through Reno and Sacramento into Emeryville/San Francisco.”

Psalm 18:33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
Psalm 50:11 I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.
Psalm 72:3 May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful.
Psalm 76:4 You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains.

Posted in photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit, writer's blog

A Surprise return to the house of dreaming swiftlets: a short story attempt

Lutong River
Surprise
Surprise. Surprise. She never expects to go back after an interval of nearly fifty years. She never expects to see and walk on the same street and lane that leads to her old house. Today is her birthday.
The phone call from her eldest sister Liz sounded desperate. She was in fear. So being sisterly Kate decided to buy the ticket and fly with Liz-six years her senior. Liz has lived alone since her husband passed away a year and half ago. Kate has been away from her family since thirteen. The place they have landed which lies between an ocean and a river is her birth place. Her parents and siblings have all moved away but Liz and her late husband had decided to settle in this quiet and sleepy town with a handful of old families whose shops line the main street faithfully. Kate left at thirteen. She returned once in a while to see her parents before they moved. After they moved to another adjoining town in her university days she has stayed away completely.
But today Kate walks on this street and this lane again. And today is her 69th birthday.
She has forgotten the river but the river has not forgotten her, as it shows itself as she strolls to the back of the row of shops. The scene is spectacular. She has remembered a river of black water in which lurked crocodiles, as some folks warned her. She was a little girl then and was forbidden to go near it. But this beauty that reveals herself today is different. She is a class of her own: calm, serene, and breathtaking like a painting created by an unknown sublime painter of an imaginary place.
She does not mean to walk far but the same country lane entices and beckons her to walk on. So she walks and tries to remember the little house she used to live. There are big modern houses interspersed with smaller older wooden houses. She stops at a wooden house which is far inside with a driveway leading to its front. The green lawns on both sides are well trimmed. Someone has planted lovely red and yellow flowers in front of the stairs. The little house is on low stilts. She has dreamed of this place many times and remembers its details. The verandah, the stairs, shape of the house and the large garden. It is all there in this real life picture! She remembers her dad built it and they moved in when she was eight. How can this house still stand at the spot with the same look after sixty-one years? The ocean, the wind and rain storm, the river flood…the ages, do they not corrode and wear out even human looks? Has time bypassed this place? She asks.
The only change is the coat of white wash that someone has clothed the naked wood. She takes some photos with the permission of the owner. The perspective from the side makes it look bigger. Indeed, she remembers its rooms, three bedrooms and a sitting room. The dining area, kitchen and bathroom are on the ground floor in an annexed building. They moved in before it was painted. And her dad said they would paint it before the next new year. Yearly he told them, yes, it will be painted this year-end, before the next new year. It was never painted. Once she even wrote a short story about a house that was never painted. It was published by a local press. And it is now painted white.
Who are the new residents? Edible-nest swiftlet. Someone is using it as a house for the birds to build their nest, nurse their young and rest when the sun sets. The swiftlets are the new tenants. It is daytime and she cannot see them. The swiftlet nest farmers have boarded up the windows. There used to be one through which she looked at a blue, green and red bird who perched daily on a branch which stretched its arm toward her as she sat for hours after school daydreaming of the plot of her new story. She has always wanted to become a story writer. There was no TV, no radio, no mobile phone, no PC in those days. Story books were rare and costly. All she could do was dream and daydream her own stories. Verse by verse, chapter by chapter, plot by plot she dreamed them and seized the ears of any willing heart to listen to the stories that seemed episodes of an unfinished saga. The house was surrounded by lots of green trees then, tall and handsome. Her bird friend sometimes danced from branch to branch, tree to tree.
And now she is standing here looking at a forlorn habitat without the trees. Where are they? Not one tree is left behind. They too have migrated. She wonders where the bird has flown. Has he found his new home and settled down? Do birds settle down? Are they too, like humans, creatures of habits? Looking at this sun washed white house no one can imagine what habitat the birds have behind these walls, simulation of dark caves…? She likes to imagine the swiftlet parents soaring high and far to hunt food and bring home to feed their young. A man once told her the swiftlets have flight path. He even brought her to a place where the swiftlets gather because of the richness of insect supplies. He said that they would always fly through a pathway to the food source and later return the same way to their habitat. They never missed the flight path home.
Here she is, today, looking at the place she once called home. It dawns on her that she too, has a flight path home. How else can she explain this homecoming after nearly five decades? Has the flight path followed her all these years of traveling further and further from home? Like a string tied to her heart without a visible sign and yet in the unseen realm it pulls the other way, so she suddenly finds herself there without any warning? During the years when she was away she remembered the place as dusty and rather primitive, to which she was ashamed to bring her teachers or classmates. She remembers being taken by surprise when her high school Australian geography teacher suddenly turned up during school term holiday in the little town looking for her! Apparently he flew in to visit the adjoining town and asked someone to take him to her house. Her house did not have a formal address. But the folks knew each other and she was the only kid who took a plane to the capital city to study. So it was effortless to find her.
Looking at the beautiful lawn, flowers and solid white wash wooden house she realizes it looks rather nice. Why was she so ashamed of it when she was a teen? The land owner’s house has been demolished and rebuilt. Yet he has kept this house designed and built by her brilliant dad sixty-one years ago. The present owner is the eldest son of the former land owner. He is pleasantly surprise when she introduces herself even though he cannot remember her. He remembers Liz and all her other siblings except Kate.
I was the little girl who left at thirteen. She explains. He smiles and nods his head. What is your name? He asks kindly. Kate. He seems confused. There is no Kate in his recall. She asks him how old he is. 77, he says. You? He asks. 69. She replies. I have never seen you, he says. She too has never seen him. I know your younger brothers. She mentions some names. Then he tells her one of them had died. What do you do? He asks. She tells him she is a writer. From his silent response she knows the answer is beyond him. However, he is too polite to ask her how she really makes her living. You have a family? She shakes her head. Then he says that it’s better as she can be free to travel where she likes. Have you traveled away from here? He shakes his head. No, I am always here.
She waves goodbye and walks back toward the row of shops that line the main street. She notices that they bear the same old names just as they have been known for decades. There are few new names. The old signboards. The same layout of their wares. The old wooden shelves. The glass display cupboards. The goods. The trade. The faces of the shopkeepers, the children of those who passed away. Nothing much has changed. When she reaches a cafe named “United Profit” she decides to have a cup of coffee. As expected, her old primary school classmate “Beautiful Flower” greets her. She cannot recognize Kate. Kate remembers her. She asks, are you Beautiful Flower or Gentle Flower? They are two sisters. The lady answers, Beautiful Flower. Who are you? I am Blue Flower. Kate answers, removing her sunglasses.
Kate’s real name is Blue Flower, a name she hated and changed the minute she left home. The lady’s wrinkled face cracks as she smiles. I cannot believe it. I just cannot. Blue Flower. O Blue Flower. Is it really you? You look so different now! Kate has dyed her hair medium brown but it turned light gold in the process. She doesn’t know why. Perhaps her real hair color has turned white. What a nice surprise! Beautiful Flower exclaimed. Kate doesn’t remember much about her. But Beautiful Flower says, I was your classmate until form five (equivalent to Grade 12). Kate pretends she remembers as the lady enthusiastically talks about the past. At thirteen the children left this little town and went to a bigger town to continue their secondary school education (Grade 7-12). So Beautiful Flower was one of them. But she returned after Grade 12 and took over her dad’s business since then. Have you ever left this place? No. Travel? No. Joined any clubs? No, unless you count joining our clan association too. Clan association membership is hereditary. Being the eldest child, Beautiful Flower was automatically awarded membership at the demise of her dad. Beautiful Flower seems genuinely elated to see her. Why? Kate wonders.
She decides to ask whether Beautiful Flower ever thinks about the meaning and purpose of her life? She has never married. No suitors? No interest or hobby. Daily she sits in the coffee shop and manages the business. Her younger siblings work for her. They seem contented and easy with lives. No stress. They live above the shop. The married ones move out. Four sisters remain unmarried and one had died young. Kate shares her own testimony of how she encountered God at the peak of her professional career with ample material comfort. She felt empty and meaningless to continue with life as she watched some of her close friends suffered incurable pains, illness and death. One day she went with a couple to a worship meeting and God poured his love on her. That was the beginning of her journey with God. she challenges Beautiful Flower to ponder over this life and death matter. They briefly talk about three women, all their former classmates, one died of childbirth, two of cancer.
Beautiful Flower, we just cannot live life without a purpose. What is yours? Find yours. Kate challenges her.
Yes, Blue Flower, I will ponder over this. I am so so happy to see you. She says. Kate wonders why.
They have black coffee and take a picture together. they exchange phone numbers.
Please come back to see us again. As Kate leaves Beautiful Flower urges her.
Why such an encounter? Kate asks. Then she remembers Beautiful Flower. A student who failed her primary six exams and had to repeat one year and thus became Kate’s classmate. In the secondary school she had the same struggles to pass exams and Kate offered to help her, took pain to explain the lessons and helped her with homework. Was Kate exceptionally good to her alone? No. Kate has lived her 69 years (minus the toddler’s time) trying to help others, the weak and the sick. She just felt it was her duty. She did not particularly love them but she looked out for those in needs and tried to meet their needs.
A boy failed his exam and had to repeat and became Kate’s classmate too, like Beautiful Flower. His name was something like Glory. But he was just the opposite. In those days, teachers beat up kids who could not perform in class. Beating became this boy’s daily routine by default. Kate felt it her duty to help him out of his dire straits. She really tried. She made him learn lessons during recess time. She taught him shortcuts to memorize important facts. But he soon fell asleep and snored loudly. It was impossible. He received his daily beating for six years. And he quit school after that.
Beautiful Flower managed to pass exams. It was like a little miracle.
Yes, we all have miracles, big and small. Kate smiles to herself. Today is her birthday and she has two presents. Miraculous presents. Who would have thought she could find her way, her flight path, home after all these years? Or rather, who could have imagined that the flight path has found her after nearly six decades? Blue Flower has returned home after all.

Posted in photography, poetry, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

a traveling bird’s pausing and three poems

Pause

 

colorful island birdBe like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings. Victor Hugo

The Oven Bird
By Robert Frost

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

Birds of Passage
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Black shadows fall
From the lindens tall,
That lift aloft their massive wall
Against the southern sky;

And from the realms
Of the shadowy elms
A tide-like darkness overwhelms
The fields that round us lie.

But the night is fair,
And everywhere
A warm, soft vapor fills the air,
And distant sounds seem near,

And above, in the light
Of the star-lit night,
Swift birds of passage wing their flight
Through the dewy atmosphere.

I hear the beat
Of their pinions fleet,
As from the land of snow and sleet
They seek a southern lea.

I hear the cry
Of their voices high
Falling dreamily through the sky,
But their forms I cannot see.

O, say not so!
Those sounds that flow
In murmurs of delight and woe
Come not from wings of birds.

They are the throngs
Of the poet’s songs,
Murmurs of pleasures, and pains, and wrongs,
The sound of winged words.

This is the cry
Of souls, that high
On toiling, beating pinions, fly,
Seeking a warmer clime,

From their distant flight
Through realms of light
It falls into our world of night,
With the murmuring sound of rhyme.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I decided to post three poems from three poets/writers. The picture is taken from my random coloring on a cluster of stuff, mainly one-dimensioned buildings. Why the poems on birds? Well, if you look closely you can find him perching alone somewhere in the picture. The rests are unseen perhaps, flying overhead at night just as the poet said, with their wings singing the murmuring sound of rhyme.

Posted in books, creative writing, photography, words of thoughts and spirit, writer's blog

a dense but colorful concrete jungle

Today I walked through a Dense but not boring Concrete Jungle.

dense concrete world I bought the book for a young person. But it was left in my house for a long time. So one recent day I decided to buy some coloring pencils and tried out this pass time activity. The first picture was a rather futuristic one and my audience did not comment so I knew it was really not presentable. I did a second one without recognizing the objects until I finished and took a picture and read the small heading which labeled “Bon Voyage”. I realized then I was coloring a whole lot of sails on waves! Someone sent a few claps. So I was encouraged to do a third one. This is the result and I finished it on time for this week’s picture, “dense”.

When I first looked at the densely packed buildings in this concrete jungle I really had no clue what colors I should use to make it a bit more cheerful looking. So I just picked whatever color pencils I pulled out from the pack at odd time when I was taking a break from my usual writing or translating work. Often it was after a meal. It became quite fun as I was amused by the colors that come out at random after a while.

I like to imagine what kind of people would reside in such colors. Would they like the colors? I imagine myself as a friendly giant who tries to be helpful by breaking the monotony of the colorless world through splashing bright colors at random on people’s houses. Perhaps he is trying to cheer up some home alone children who look out of their tiny windows. I hope they like the colors. Being fictional characters they can swap house if they prefer the colors of their neighbor’s house and vice versa of course.

Posted in creative writing, God's blessing, photography, power of words, words of thoughts and spirit

we can hear the colors before we see them

It IS Easy Being Green!
green 4I took this picture by the roadside. When you look at the picture closer you will find that it is not perfect. It has a lot of lush green leaves but it also has leaves with holes. It is by the side of a little park which is regularly maintained by odd job workers who merely cut the grass or trim overgrown branches which intrude onto the road. Otherwise the plants just grow as they like. Rainfall is ample and there is no lack of tropical sunshine. The color of green is common and people do not particularly notice it. The park benches were painted green once and soon faded. Why are there holes in the leaves? Well, the insects and birds and other creatures live here and thrive too. Some mornings we can hear beautiful melodies sung by birds of unknown names. In the evening we hear all sorts of other little creatures each performing its utmost best to outdo each other perhaps. We cannot see them. The bushes are thick and the trees are tall and form a green canopy surrounding the park. The footsteps of the wind often sound like those of the rain. But when we hear the sound of creatures we know it has to be the wind and not otherwise. Green is an easy color. So are others. The Lord has made them all, beautiful and awesome! The wonder of all is that we can hear the colors before we see them.

Posted in photography, power of words, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

atop a roof in the rain half musing…

Atop
atop the roofThis picture was taken one day when the river of rain swept down without notice. I just happened to be there looking out of this window, not exactly high up but high enough to take this picture of the rain. Unable to go out, I decided to browse online to find something about the word atop. Here are the results of random searches. It is amazing that there are many words which could rhyme with atop. Pity the poet is not around today. Looking at the picture I realize that the rain has written its own poem. So here it is-a poem in motion.

Rhymes with atop

Aesopairdropa popbackdropbackstopbakeshopbarhopbebopbed-hopbellhopbenchtopbig topblacktopbookshopcarhopcartopcash cropchop-chopchop shopclip-clopclick stopclop-clopclosed shopcoin-opcookshopcooktopco-opcough dropdesktopdoorstopdoo-wopdramshopdrop-topdry mopdust mopeardropeavesdropESOPestopfield cropflag stopflue stopf-stopfire-stopflattopflip-flopforetopgrogshopgumdrophardtophead shophedgehophigh-tophilltophip-hophockshophousetopjoypoplaptopmail dropmaintopmilksopname-dropnonstopone-stopoutcroppalmtoppawnshoppipe stoppit stoppop-toppost-oppre-oppro shopragtopraindropredtopridgetopripstoprooftoproot cropsharecropshortstopskin-popslipslopsnowdropsoursopspeed shopstonecropstrip-cropsweatshopsweetshopsweetsoptank topteardropthrift shoptip-toptreetoptrip-hoptruck stopunstopwineshopworkshop

Posted in photography, words of thoughts and spirit

an interpretation on “the road taken”

pacific-17-mile-driveThe Road Taken The reason I choose this picture taken at the end of 2015 November is that it tells a story. Some will recognize that this is a popular place at the Pacific coast. The road is actually a walk way to get to the spot where tourists can view the spectacular Pacific Ocean. I was with others who were all in a hurry to get to the next spot. We were traveling with tight schedule, racing against time and perhaps weather. But the sky was clear and beautiful. The ocean was calm that day.

A road ideally connects two ends. Perhaps two persons who long to meet. But often in real life we build roads for a different purpose. I now remember a little poem written by a king who lost his kingdom  and his loved ones in another language. I shall translate one verse with my own interpretation about “a road taken” as follows:
雁来音信无凭,路遥归梦难成。
My hopes in gulls with your fresh news futile. Road is too far old dreams too shattered to tie.

Posted in photography, poetry, words of thoughts and spirit

fireworks and a little poem

A Good Match

firework1firework2Two versions of the same without editing. The photos were taken one midnight when the locals celebrated the Lunar New Year Eve and I took these two within seconds. It is a surprise that they turn out one in red and one in white!

I searched online at random and found this touching little poem titled Red and White

RED AND WHITE

Crimson, Sinless blood,
Red enough to cleanse the world,
Has washed me snow white.

Date: 3rd March, 2016
by Jo Daniel

Posted in photography, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

conversation between an ox and a wheel on repurpose

repurposed-spokeRepurpose wheel.
This was taken two years ago when I stationed in a third world country (which has a thriving re-purposing industry) for about a year plus working on a writing assignment. The resort is hidden in between two famous busy and crowded tourist cities, a sort of a half way rest-house. It is unique in its own decoration and Ambience. This gate is one of the charming attractions. The centre-piece is taken from a bullock cart wheel. The owner collected lots of discarded wheels and carts and made good use of them by dismantling, repainting and reusing the parts. Imagine an old ox passes by and recognizes this wheel as part of his old cart! If they could talk perhaps the conversation goes like this:

Ox: “I see old friend you have been promoted!”
Wheel: “Yes, I thought I was written off…”
Ox: “Thank God.”
Wheel: “Yes, thank God. I would say they are entrepreneurs with an eye for good value.”
Ox: “Yes, I wonder if I too could be repurposed the way you are.”
Wheel: “Perhaps in another way, but to you it would be bad news.”
Ox: “On the other hand, your days of roaming freedom are over.”
Wheel: “Well, I guess I am grounded.”
(Both turn silent, then sigh and bid each other farewell. The old ox continues on his old solitary casual roaming way, chewing on the wayside grass as he wanders off. The repurposed wheel stays faithfully in his new role, watching every passerby and visitor with new interest, starting afresh with each greeting.)

Posted in photography, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

two ambience poems

ambienceAmbience of sea and sky. I decided to include two poems I found at random online. They blend well with the picture I took last November. I selected this picture for the vast span of the sky over the sea. The sky is infinitely vast and beyond our imagination. The sea is finite.
My sea of dreams, a vast expanse of glittering dreams and wishes rocking back and forth to form the waves
This sea the only sea I know that changes its color even from a deep majestic purple to a light azure
It changes from the most profound yellow to a bright grassy green
Atop the horizon of this picture perfect sight, the great sky towers above everything
My sky of miracles
The sky that is as enchanted as my wonderful sea
It too along with the sea changes shade
As from white to black to blue
From a sunset red to a dark violet
From a mellow scarlet to a fiery orange
This seascape portrays beauty and imagination
(My Sea And Sky – Poem by Bianca P.B)
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/my-sea-and-sky/

I’m soaring across the horizon
The deep dark colors of twilight painted on the clouds surrounding me
The gentle wind by my side keeping me company as I fly over the green valleys
I watch as the river between the valley flows unceasingly
The clear water imitates the figures forming reflections
Tiny cataracts below me create rainbows with the remaining light seeping from the clouds
As night falls the great skies open up and give way to a starry expanse of purple and blue
The playful stars dance around me in serene unison
Here I am flying, reaching the stars, at a place I thought I’d never be in………..
(Soaring – Poem by Bianca P.B)
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/soaring-4/

Posted in God's blessing, photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

a resilient solo color show


resilient-red

I am often attracted to flowers by the roadside because they are Resilient. It is not easy to find a picture for this week’s photo challenge. Although I have stocks of other plants which are typically drought resistant in more arid zone, I decided to choose this one. I took this picture during a walk to the local town centre last October. It was hard to find flowers along the road and this tiny red one stood out because of its color. As I paused and looked at it I noticed how little soil it needed to thrive. It required little space and the leaves and stalks were small. I ask myself whether it served much purpose because it was alone and tiny. I would not have noticed it if I had not deliberately looking at the ground to spot a flower. Looking at it now, I suddenly realize that my question of its significance is irrelevant because it was the only flower around that morning! it was the star of the show at that time and space.

~~~~~~~~~~~
‘Flower Carpet Red Velvet’ is a vigorous, low growing, spreading shrub with green leaves and good disease resistance. It has deep-red flowers that bloom from late spring until the first frost. It prefers hot warm conditions and just blooms and blooms and blooms. This is a genuinely easy-care groundcover rose – consistently one of the most disease-resistant roses ever bred – ideal for both home gardeners and professional landscapers. Simple to grow and easy to maintain, without any spraying or even fancy pruning. And during the long flowering season, this rose will self-clean so that there’s no need for fancy pruning or deadheading. Can thrive in a variety of soil conditions. A perfect commercial landscaping plant for low-maintenance color. (Information from various online sources)

Posted in God's blessing, photography, words of thoughts and spirit

the path of water

path-of-water

The Path of water is there. I read this with surprise one day. There is a path everywhere seen and unseen. One day a little boy told me he wanted to become a pilot when he grew up. Then he explained to me seriously, “Of course I need to learn the path of the sky first.” he knows there is a path in the sky.

I took this picture one morning as I looked out of the hotel window. I went there to attend a wedding, thousands of miles away from where I stay. The dawn was not yet ready for my simple cell phone camera. I took the picture anyway. And the photo turns up as I look closely seeing if I can find a path in the water. The water is still and calm and the houses near and far are sleeping. It is a beautiful day and the sky is clothed in the colors of love and romance.

Bible verses on “path”:
Psalm 77:19
Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, And Your footsteps were not known.
Psalm 65:11
You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.
Psalm 8:8
The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas.
Psalm 16:11
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Posted in Bible verses, blogging, God's blessing, photography, travel, words of thoughts and spirit, writer's blog

May my readers find hope and strength in the small things in lives, just as these little endangered birds do.

It is hard to put into words a person’s life. But I try to do so. I perceive myself as a fluid, unhurried, unclassified blogger. Why blog? I like to test the water of the thinking river. Thoughts. Words. Pictures. Just as they appear. Like this brightly painted building next to the Amtrak rail on one fine mountain climbing day. I just happened to look out of the window of the train and saw it. Yellow is not my usual color. But it was a striking moment that appealed to me at an appointed time in space. I captured it. When I look through my pictures at random to find something for this blog, it comes out and so I use it to represent a view.

Roseville copy

I would describe myself as a mere keeper of some words which do matter to me a lot. I do not want to forget. I preserve good words. Preserving words is like preserving life. (I wrote this introduction two years ago)

Added on December 17, 2016.
In some ways, I am waiting with Anticipation.
Yes, an anticipation for a future. Come to think of it, our future can be a past soon, just as many futures of yesteryear. Here is an updated photo for this week’s challenge. May my readers find hope and strength in the small things in lives, just as these little endangered birds do.

micah-77

Posted in poetry, thoughts, words of thoughts and spirit

“forever young”: “I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now” ― Bob Dylan

bob-dylan“The future for me is already a thing of the past-
You were my first love and you will be my last”
― Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan – Love and Theft: Piano/Vocal/Guitar
“DESTINY is a feeling you have that you know something about yourself nobody else does. The picture you have in your own mind of what you’re about WILL COME TRUE. It’s a kind of a thing you kind of have to keep to your own self, because it’s a fragile feeling, and you put it out there, then someone will kill it. It’s best to keep that all inside.”
― Bob Dylan, The Bob Dylan Scrapbook: 1956-1966
“You need something to open up a new door, to show you something you seen before but overlooked a hundred times or more”
― Bob Dylan, Writings and Drawings
“Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul”
― Bob Dylan, The Bob Dylan Scrapbook: 1956-1966
“I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.
From the back pages”
― Bob Dylan
“You don’t have to be afraid of looking into my face. We’ve done nothing to each other that time will not erase.”
― Bob Dylan

There is really no adequate words to explain Bob Dylan. For those who have been his life-long friends and also those who like his music even when they are too young to understand. Can anyone truly know what he means in the poetic lyrics he wrote? Or perhaps we each interpret and read our own messages in them. I really like him a lot. Why? I cannot explain. I imagine many are like me who are happy that he has been awarded and recognized as the latest Nobel Laureate for Literature. Did he write literature? I would think he did. In my last visit to a library I borrowed his audio autobiography titled Chronicles, and here is a brief write up I copied/excerpted from his website as follows:

volume one SEP 21, 2014
“I’d come from a long ways off and had started a long ways down. But now destiny was about to manifest itself. I felt like it was looking right at me and nobody else.” So writes Bob Dylan in Chronicles: Volume One, his remarkable book exploring critical junctures in his life and career. Through Dylan’s eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village…Dylan’s New York…side trips to New Orleans, Woodstock, Minnesota and points west, Chronicles: Volume One is an intimate and intensely personal recollection of extraordinary times.
By turns revealing, poetical, passionate and witty…is a mesmerizing window on Bob Dylan’s thoughts and influences. Dylan’s voice is distinctively American: generous of spirit, engaged, fanciful and rhythmic. Utilizing his unparalleled gifts of storytelling and the exquisite expressiveness that are the hallmarks of his music, Bob Dylan turns Chronicles: Volume One into a poignant reflection on life, and the people and places that helped shape the man and the art.”

Time has changed much in the world around Bob. But has he changed much? Is he crossing to another New Horizon right now? Will the newly awarded recognition of poetry and literature in his song lyrics change him? I doubt that it would. He is Bob Dylan, always.

Lyrics from a song called “Forever Young” (1974), written by Bob Dylan.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you

May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

Visit Bob Dylan’s website by clicking here:
(http://bobdylan.com/news/bob-dylans-nobel-banquet-speech/)
Here is a link to the song:(https://youtu.be/jtFEzhaNrT4)
Photo credit goes to: http://bobdylan.com/news/lyrics-1961-2012/

Posted in Bible verses, photography, thoughts, words of thoughts and spirit

a new nostalgic meaning

new-horizon-in-green-purple
a New Horizon is a triple vision this year. I parked my car outside the gate one day to get down to lock the dog before I drove into my garage. Then I saw this plant across with new bloom of purple flowers. After the previous night rain the leaves looked clean and lush. I took three pictures and could not decide which to discard. So I decided to put all three in one here.

The earliest purple dyes date back to about 1900 B.C. It took some 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye – barely enough for dying a single garment the size of the Roman toga. It was associated with royalty for a long time. The color purple is a rare occurring color in nature and as a result is often seen as having sacred meaning. Lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are considered delicate and precious. Additional words that represent different shades, tints, and values of the color purple: violet, plum, lavender, lilac, puce, thistle, orchid, mauve, magenta, royal, amethyst, wine, pomegranate, eggplant, mulberry, plum, lilac, thistle, orchid, mauve, purple.

My late mother loved purple. She dressed elegantly and held herself well. None of us inherited her grace. Looking to a new horizon, I suddenly feel nostalgic instead. O how we miss our mom.

Bible verses from Proverbs 31 about a virtuous woman:
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

Posted in God's blessing, photography, words of thoughts and spirit

a fun though somewhat costly family reunion time

It’s Not This Time of Year Without…
japanese-foodToday I decided to post a different (off season) food picture. I made my yearly visit to a sibling’s home over the sea recently. On the day before I left after the morning church service, I decided to treat the younger generation to a restaurant of their choice. And here (plus other stuff) is what they chose that day.
We also shopped for clothes as I wanted some cotton ones. Before paying I suddenly realized I wanted to give gifts for this season. So the young ones happily selected their own favorites as well.
It was truly a fun (though somewhat costly for my pocket) time for the family.

Unlike many Christians who celebrate this season with yearly gifts to each other in the family, I have stopped this ritual for many years to the point that I treated my habit as a norm. But this year was different. Perhaps I was in a good mood. Perhaps I decided to be generous. But the truth is I always give during hard times, when they encounter hardship. Why did I give gifts when they are not in hard times? Was it because of the sermon of the preacher? He was talking about “Don’t give up, keep praying!” Perhaps the Lord has granted my nieces’ prayers because they didn’t give up praying for those nice Sushi and dresses! Truly our God answers prayers. Don’t give up, keep praying.

Posted in thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

We all have a ‘magic’ tank, onto the next exhibit

aquarium-singpaoreMagic is not on my mind when I take out this picture from some old albums and decide to post it. I took this during a visit to Sentosa Underwater World in Singapore in 2014. It had since been closed down in June 2016. I read that the animals are being transferred to another aquarium in China.

I found a poem online at random and post below to reflect both sides of life one may stand at the same time.Inside and outside.Which side are you now?

Rebecca Leven-Hill
Feb 4, 2015
Aquarium
The world is an aquarium
We all have a tank
With a paragraph of information about us next to our tank
When people see you they notice your looks and move on

If you are a tall skinny blond boy with blue eyes the girls will stop and get to know you
If you are a shorter boy with brown hair who has acne and is wider people might just move onto the next exhibit
The people in the tanks can’t tell what they people on the outside are saying
But they don’t care
They are all unique and they know that
People will always judge but they are not the ones you should try and impress
You are the only one who can truly judge you

Posted in Bible verses, God's blessing, photography, poetry, words of thoughts and spirit

a closer look at you: my tiny white flowers

Tiny flowers in yonder garden
beauty veiled at distance but not nigh
lo, transcendental strength to halt the turning time of tide
strive you would to thrive like your ancestors from eden

Notes: When I took these photos I did not really look much at the flowers. I just wanted to click away at whatever that broke the monotony of the impending bareness of the new season. The leaves were turning yellow and unsightly. The flowers tried to do a good job by blooming and cheering up those who walked pass and happened to pause and cast a casual look. When I look at them now I realize how wonderful they actually look in their whiteness even though they were really tiny and could easily be unnoticed by a traveler like me. I now wonder the number of lost opportunities I encountered with beauty and missed seeing them because they seemed too small and unimportant then.

White, an inherently positive color, is associated with purity, virginity, innocence, light, goodness, heaven, safety, brilliance, illumination, understanding, cleanliness, faith, beginnings, sterility, spirituality, possibility, humility, sincerity, protection, softness, and perfection.

Posted in photography, poetry, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

Tiny flowers and a poem

tiny-flowers
Tiny Tiny Flowers – Poem by Eloida Capuno: i always look
out for
those sweet
tiny
flowers
more than
the others
in the garden
with their
vibrant
colors
huge
and exotic
maybe
because
the little
ones
like some
innocent
children
are left
to fend for
themselves

I thought I would just post another poet’s poem on tiny flowers today. I took this picture because they are so tiny and their colors so quiet. When I look closely I realize that each flower is a cluster of many tinier flowers! Each tiny flower forming the overall formation is so orderly and cohesive with others in shape and size. I like the poem because I can also identify the little flowers with young poor children being forced into the street and left on their own to make a living. They are not completely helpless. They soon learn to form their own tiny regimental group just to stand together and survive together. Where do they learn to do so? Is there a program in their genes? I believe so. Even tiny flowers.

Posted in Bible verses, photography, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

a happy song for the tiny

edge-flowers
Tiny flowers by the wayside. We often walk pass them. Sometimes we step on them. Not because we are callous and uncaring. We are conditioned to see big things. Big and loud colorful stuff. In my recent travel I visited two entirely different countries and in both places I found some tiny flowers which looked so insignificant that they could have been easily excluded from my camera. When I returned and looked at the photos I found the exceptionalism in me stopping and looking at something small and quiet.

I ask myself why I have taken photos of some tiny flowers by the wayside. When I walk in the park across my patio why I do bother to look at the grass and the tiny leaves that are sprouting out from the crevices between the rocks and record their existence for a moment?

I did not come with perfect eyesight since young. The class teacher discovered this when I went to school. Artificial lenses helped me to function to some extent but it finally reached a point when I had to do a RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange). Taking photos of tiny things was not an easy task previously. After the RLE the tiny world becomes bright and clear and attractive. I see butterflies and bees and other tinier creatures too. Such a tiny world may be considered by others as tiny and ordinary and part of mundane living, they are fascinating to me. I can spend a whole morning walking and watching little things and feel my spirit rejoicing inside. A happy song will birth and lift me to another level into another realm of reality.

Bible verses from Psalm 104 (excerpts from NKJV):

He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
11
They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12
The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
13
He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14
He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
15
wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
16
The trees of the Lord are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17
There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the junipers.
18
The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.

24
How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25
There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.

30
When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.

31
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32
he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33
I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the Lord.

Posted in photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

Daisies and stars: I see thee glittering from afar

yellow-daisies-white-butterflyTiny but not to be ignored. Often we are conditioned to think little of small ordinary things, such as the daisies of the field. Yet, more often than not, the small things are what that make up this world of vastness, like each droplet that makes up the seemingly borderless oceans that cover the whole earth. Likewise, whilst some more popularly favored flowers, such as, roses, are reserved as a majestic symbol, field flowers which are hardly mentioned in memorable imagined or factual narratives continue to bloom in their quiet unassuming yet resilient manner. A daisy symbolizes innocence and purity. It can also symbolize new beginnings. Other meanings associated with the daisy are faith, cheer, simplicity, loyal love, beauty, gentleness, youth, modesty, and romance.

I ask, what did some great painters paint? Claude Monet painted water lilies and poppy. He spoke this, “I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” But he did paint daisies too. What did great poets write about? Surprisingly I found some poetic writings on daisies. Like Wordsworth did, the poets noted how this tiny flower glows and shines like a pretty star. I took the picture while visiting and staying in a remote tropical outback. The tiny flowers cheerfully greeted me with their radiant color every morning without fail. The country suffers draught yearly for a long period which can come to half a year. The daisies without artificial irrigation vanish and hide themselves in seeds perhaps as I cannot figure out how the root survives in the surface powdery dust. When the rain comes they burst forth from the crust and rise with the crescendo of the torrential rain, with yellow blooms that outshine others. They are truly amazing shining knights in the wild.

“Daisies infinite
Uplift in praise their little glowing hands,
O’er every hill that under heaven expands.”
-Ebenezer Elliott, Miscellaneous Poems, Spring, line 13.

“And daisy-stars, whose firmament is green.”
-Thomas Hood, Plea of the Midsummer Fairies, 36.

“I see thee glittering from afar–
And then thou art a pretty star;
Not quite so fair as many are
In heaven above thee!
Yet like a star, with glittering crest,
Self-poised in air thou seem’st to rest;–
May peace come never to his nest,
Who shall reprove thee!”
-William Wordsworth

Shine on, little stars.

Further notes on the meaning of yellow daisies: (Quoted)
The color yellow is symbolic of friendship and joy. Yellow is the color of sunshine and is associated with joy, happiness, wisdom, and energy. People of high intellect favor yellow.

Paintings by famous painters on daisies:
Famous Oil Painting Bouquet of Gladiolas, Lilies and Daisies by Claude Monet
Daisies by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1894)
The daisy chain by Maude Goodman (1936)

Posted in photography, poetry, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

I saw a crowd, A host, of golden shinning daffodils

Shine little flowers, just like little stars.
shine-yellow-flowersOne day a woman decided to plant a single bulb. This single bulb turned into many more and soon she had a field filled with daffodils. The daffodil field has refreshed many tired and wearied hearts and her story of a mere small and humble start with just one single bulb which grew into a vast sea of beautiful yellow flowers has motivated others and changed the belief that a small thing is too small to matter. Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus. Their flowers have a trumpet-shaped structure set against a star-shaped background. In temperate climates they flower among the earliest blooms in spring. I took this picture in early spring. Daffodils often grow in large clusters, covering lawns and even entire hillsides with yellow. The flowers symbolize friendship, and are some of the most popular flowers due to their unmatched beauty. Here is a poem all about daffodils and stars, beautifully presenting a lively picture of daffodils that dance like the stars, shining and twinkling. Even a lonely traveler stops feeling lonely in their company!

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Posted in photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

just feeling local: first aid in entertaining

local-ge-refrigeratorTh

e past in another town another world. The museum is quite good and has the local artist done some really good historical pictures. But the articles I display here are the ones that tell a thousand stories, each in its own time. The first aid in entertaining is not a refrigerator. The company had manufactured a radio for the hassled housewife to entertain herself while coping perhaps with a failure of other appliances in the kitchen (according to my imagination)!
Local

Posted in photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

She did not meet the local

a January morning.jpegIt was a beautiful clear morning in January. She had newly arrived in the new place for a fortnight stay and was waiting for someone to take leave to show her around the scenic places. On this day the host of her lodging place and his whole family accompanied her to a local mall where they could shop for some branded stuff. It was a sunny day and the sky looked dripping with a lovely blue, indeed her favorite color. It explains why the sky occupies a big portion of the photo. No, she did not take any snapshot of the local shopping mall and the local, mainly young people busy with buying or looking at stuff.

Did she miss anything in terms of local life? Her collection of the photos are mostly skies and cloud and trees and water and mountains and roads and a few ordinary house dogs. What kind of travel memento are these? Someone asks. She agrees that they are not much of a memento as there are hardly any people or cultural or historical stuff or building or monuments. When she asks herself why she did not seem to show interest in taking their photos, she realizes that she just doesn’t want to be attached. She can remain detached as long as she records the general picture of nature. When she returns home or travels to another zone she still has the sky, the trees, the water, the mountains, the cloud, the roads, the green plants, and perhaps the occasional encounter with someone’s ordinary house dogs. In a way, you can say she prefers the non-branded generic stuff to which one needs not be particularly attached. General and not specifically Local .

Posted in God's blessing, photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

The rain came on the night I departed

A precious H2O account.
january-rain-dropsThe rain came on the last day of January. I was getting ready to pack and leave. It was just an ordinary rain and it was not exceptionally heavy or spectacular. The drops were large. And I was looking out of a glass window at a parched dry garden being newly nourished and replenished of its green. On good days the owner came home and plodded through the garden plowing, digging and planting. A guest who came for a month joined her. The two happily gardened and imagined the beauty when the garden would be in its full bloom in a new season. The arrival of rain was a good news to them. The two ladies saved time and efforts as the garden sprinkler system had broken down and water had to be carried manually.

I recalled one unpleasant experience of an arid land in a distant country. I arrived in March and was confronted with draught. The rain did not come for months. I was indeed in shock as I had then come from a land of plentiful rainfall. I was told that the drinking water came from the drain/well. I dared not think of the sources of the drain/well water. I asked my hostess when the rain would come. She said normally it would come in late May, or June, or July. I left finally in July/August. She rang me and told me the morning after I left that the rain had come in the night like a troop of army. I could imagine the dusty brown earth and the dry bare trees hungrily gulping down the heavenly water.

Water shortage remains a major issue in many parts of the world. I just watched an interview of a missionary and she said that a significant percentage of the world’s poor population are in danger of dying of thirst. The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), as announced by the World Economic Forum in January 2015. 663 million people – 1 in 10 – lack access to safe water. In low and middle-income countries, 1/3 of all healthcare facilities lack a safe water source. Globally, 1/3 of all schools lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

After returning to a station of life where there is plenty of safe water both in terms of rivers and rainfall, I feel I could breath easier as I walk through lush green trees and surround myself with green plants, acknowledging and giving thanks to the Creator for the rich blessings I have enjoyed often without even noticing how precious they are.

Indeed, water is precious to this earth. So are many things which we have taken for granted.

Some facts (Quoted from: 1990-2016 Water.org): The world doesn’t stand a chance without water. It spreads disease. Compromises safety. Makes education elusive and economic opportunity farther out of reach. The lack of access to safe water is deadly, dangerous, and a major obstacle to the people of developing nations becoming economically empowered. It is what is standing between billions of people and their health, safety, and the opportunity to unlock their true potential.