A Place in the World
After sending-off a friend, I waited at a fast food place at the entrance to the airport. When daybreak came I walked to my car and saw this picture from a distance. As I drive into the increasing light of the day, I think about how difficult it has been for the people in this land to change the system of half a century old. I have been told that this is the first time they manage to change against all odds, like peeling off the decayed leaking wine skin and replacing it with a new one, so that they can pour strong new wine into it. I have grown to like this place and have decided to stay a while longer.
Unlikely charity encountering reality.
I have not seen such irony before. This poor woman in the outback of a third world developing country in her late twenties who was given unwanted teddy bears in lieu of food continues to maintain her smile and gratitude. She seems to have cognitive challenges and has not gone to school. She lives alone in an old run-down house inherited from her parents who have passed away.
How did the teddies get there? We asked. A volunteer teacher who could communicate with her explained that some charity bodies came to the village and donated used toys among other stuff. That was how the left-behind teddy bears found their way into her home.
During our visit she just had her dinner, plain boiled rice with a small bowl of salt water. She proudly showed us the remaining half of the rice and something on the rice. She said it was half of a fish which she had saved for her next day’s meal. She happily declared that the fish was a gift from a kind neighbor.
Her smile remained bright and sunny as she waved goodbye.
Is this not an unlikely positive sunny story?
Portrait of Lines, a fish’s statement… “I am somewhat shy but pretty in a gentle unassuming way. Do you know my name?” (The fish and I started a voiceless conversation thereafter…)
stirring my heart to adore
Awakening February in green.
The season is a rather neutral thing. Human can become emotionally ruffled (angry/depressed/sad /raged/elated/happy/joyous) at the somewhat unexpected/unprepared fluctuations of seasons/environments. But for plants, they are just faithful. No matter how the external environmental conditions may vary they draw from the inner perfectly programmed strength and orderliness imputed to them. Great role models for the human.
“…The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season*, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.” (Note 1)
“He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season*,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.” (Note 2)
time (of an event)
Notes: 1. Quoted from Book of Deuteronomy 28:12
2. Quoted from Book of Psalms 1:3
One morning I met Smiles when I took a walk to the back of a restaurant. I was told that the owner employed widows to give them a home and a better living.
The local women are gentle and shy. We could not communicate so they smiled and I smiled. Smile is a good universal language. I thoroughly enjoyed the encounter and the food.
A HAIKU ~ON SMILE
i know we are friends
because you smile i smile too
willing to walk extra mile
“This is my Story. A story about flowers. When you see me now I am not what I have been. I have become an art piece.” I took this picture from an oil paint picture. The original picture came from a wall of a clinic which had since been sold. The owner has retired early and is now in a far away country. The picture is one of the several in my store. This one attracts me in the brilliance of the colors. Sometimes I wonder what the fresh flowers had really looked before they were captured in oil. If only this picture could talk and tell me the story of each flower. What are their names? Where are they from? How did they get captivated by the artist? Did he/she travel far to find such beauty? Did the artist leave them in the field while giving them a more permanent home?
I have found the following poem titled “Flowers” which describes aptly the silent but comforting interaction between flowers and human. I can see the smiles on these flowers. Don’t you?
They have no mouth, but seem to speak
A thousand words so mild and meek.
They have no eyes , but seem to see
And bury thoughts into me.
They have no ears, but seem to hear
All my cries, my every tear.
They have no arms, but seem to pat
When with worries my heart is fat.
They have no feet, but seem to walk
Along with me in my dreams and talk.
They, I know, are the flowers so nice
That spread their fragrance a million miles.
Grow a few and then you’ll know
How your life is fresh and new.
With a smile so broad, I thank my God,
Whose work to imagine is really too hard.
(Poem taken from: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/flowers)
A Face in the Crowd. Sometimes a face just stands out for no particular reason. It was quite a crowd in the restaurant and a rather busy day in the see-through kitchen where they made pizzas. I cannot remember whether the food was better than elsewhere but when I look at this picture now I can see that it has made an impact because of the face that stands out tall and seemingly confident and proficient in the trade. The decoration was good too and did make a difference. Yes, the food was good. I have enjoyed the company of good hospitable hosts. Thank you all!
a Sweet humble life. I chanced upon this little mongrel named Mocha in a make-shift “home”. My stay is too brief but we are already friends through tongue sticking out, tail wagging and paw shaking.
I know I should not be writing about my Beloved because it is like baring my soul to the world, the old poet said. So I find this poem by random browsing from a gift collection given by my own beloved younger relatives who know that I love poetry.
coming thus far
lead back to you:
no matter the dead
roads dreams went
the cord you sent
to my pastimes
only to reach
you, and to find
you at the end
of it all.
(Poem taken from “Soul’s Festival -collected poems 1980-1997″ by Anne Lee Tzu Pheng)
Reading this poem pulls my heartstring too. I have my own beloved, at certain time in life. Sometimes I travel far for a prolonged period of time. But when my heart is still I can find an invisible cord inside pulling to the dear ones I have left behind. This week’s photo challenge word “beloved” makes me sit down and ponder, “Whom can I call my beloved?” My first thought today is my mother.
The sad thing is that during the last part of her life I was not able to stay geographically closer to her. In those days we did not have easy digital communication through internet or mobile phone. Line phone was expensively ticking by minutes and limited in audible performance as she just could not hear what I said. Separated by oceans and other matters too. I know I have no excuse whatever the road/sea/sky blockages might have been. Why did not I fly home more often? I ask today. My honest answer is that my heart was divided and distracted by too many unimportant matters which can sum up in just one phrase, “I was busily living my own life.” On the other hand she never forgot any of her beloved. After the funeral, we found our names and the daily prayers she prayed for each of her children faithfully written down in her handwritten journal. We also found some letters she had written to us but not posted because no one did it for her and she was not mobile by then…
Bible verses to meditate upon:
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
Proverbs 23:25 Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who bore you rejoice.
My heart’s Variations on a Theme, my ocean. Given an option I would choose the ocean if I were a gull with wings. There are two views of the same section of the Pacific ocean being superimposed in this picture. I took them at the end of 2015 on a clear sunny day in California. I have inverted the bottom half of the second picture. The inverted waves are symbols of what are moving inside a heart that cannot be stilled. The top half of the original first picture has the bird facing the opposite direction, flying away from the shore. But during my editing she has somehow turned around towards the shore and nearer to the audience. I have seen many gulls onshore in the city. I am told that they come in to scavange for food often near the dump-site or where passers-by have left unwanted stuff behind. Has the ocean become less habitable for gulls? Or perhaps the shore is a more convenient however brief respite? Sometimes I wonder whether we have unwittingly domesticated gulls because I just read a poem about tame gull.
What a sad thought it is. Given an option I would choose the ocean if I were a gull with wings.
A conversation (excerpted*) between the fishermen:
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
They answered Him, “No.”
And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish…Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.
I decide to use these three pictures to depict 2017 presentation of a phase in my traveling life. I would call it a year about friends. Old, kind and gentle friends. Old does not mean chronologically aged. It means something familiar and one has already accustomed to. I suppose I have been re-kindled in someway by an extended autumn-winter stay with a long separated family, being re-climatized and inspired to walk long walks and write lots of short haikus in their land. I have also visited my long abandoned birth place in another extreme land’s end and written a story about a love that could have been but had never really materialized. Then I was brought to a place high up a mountain range covered by snow and yet has this beautiful lake which has gently displayed its beauty and given many a perfect placement in friendship, for some it is a beginning, for some a progressing in the continuum, and for some a final maturing. I am thankful that we are friends, whatever stages we are at. These pictures are etched in only the momentary memory at the point of a contact. Will I ever forget when I grow chronologically old? Will anyone who really loves their friends?
Friends are to rejoice and celebrate together. Here are two stories about what friends are for. I recently had an interesting experience. During a house renovation I found that I had lost two items, an old laptop PC which I use to store old family photos and an old but hardly used vacuum cleaner’s accessories. They were not of any present day monetary value. However I was disturbed by the idea that an illegitimate loss might have happened in my territory, and I became restless and sleepless that night. After spending hours fine combing the house I sat down and prayed that the items reveal themselves and be returned if taken by persons without asking for my permission. I heard in my heart that I should bless and not feel upset. So I obeyed. After the renovation was finally completed I went to the same back store and saw the vacuum cleaner accessories nicely kept in one paper box on the shelf. When I went into a back room I saw the laptop miraculously appeared, clean and in tact complete with its docking system on a shelf. When I look back now I begin to understand how much it had meant to the shepherd and the woman in the following two stories to see their losses reversed. So, I too call my friends to rejoice with me!
The two parables below were told by Jesus about the true value of life. What it means to be lost and found, both to the owner and to the valued friend, both the lost and found one and also the one who rejoices together with the owner.
Luke 15: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
An Ascending to the throne. Sometimes we read or watch official news of a deeply venerated longstanding monarch depart from this world at old age, having reigned over his faithful subjects for many decades. The news is often of a standard pattern: solemn, reverent, tastefully laced with a tinge of sadness which comes with saying goodbye and yet realistically portraying the inevitable passing of a perhaps antiquated and soon to be forgotten historical era. The male commentator has a well-trained, constrained and unhurried voice with medium pitch, and tends to present the appearance of a stiff-upper-lip somewhat dispassionate English gentleman.
The narration, the tone and texture, the colors, the costumes, the deliberate movements, the choice of musical backing, the props, the participants: their ranks and titles, clothing and decoration, brand names of what they wear, spouses and children, vehicles, entourage, facial expressions, mannerisms and many more minute but supposedly pertinent significant and interesting details on such historical occasions.
More importantly is the brief but positive biographical narration about the monarch’s life and his achievements, which should include all the good he had done to others. Humans in general like to read good positive factual reports of what a person, monarch or beggar has done for others, which is the gist of a purposeful life; an ascending to another throne.
Verses for thoughts:Psalms Chapter 24:1-4
(A Psalm of David) The earth [is] the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
Today I sense a Transformation by the renewal of the mind.
On this morning when sleep is freshly cast aside with reluctance
because of the lingering sweetness of an undisturbed rest,
I hear a light whisper outside my window
and I rise and greet the call which is even sweeter, from love.
A light switch turns gently on by nature from beyond
with a rush of refreshing cool breeze that only a dawn can bring.
How do I define you, my dawn?
I just look at the demarcation line you make between the light and the darkness.
I always associate you with light and love.
Together you bring fresh hope for life.
For too long I have heard oppressed stories of gloom and depressed forecast of doom.
Today I decide to turn way from false prophets and soothsayers.
I am resolute to start my day with you of light and love.
My mind is transformed by your evidences that present themselves
in grandeur and majesty from on high,
yes, from great beyond.
autumn and cloud Experimentals
I took these pictures in November two years ago. It was a rather hot and dry autumn and the leaves and sky were quite stunning. I have experimented with them using a computer program. The results are unusual but I still prefer the original which I post below.
Perhaps I am a conservative where certain subjective things are concerned. I like the original “unplugged” untouched-up versions in photos, music, poems, paintings, stories, impressions, thought and feeling of love and being loved.
Photos are mostly subjective. I know someone will ask, “Really?” Well, just ask any photographer or traveler. No matter how hard I try to be objective when taking a snap at something, when I look at the photo outcome later I can still see a personal preference even for a moment. In this case it becomes rather obvious when I edit them.