Posted in photography, words of thoughts and spirit

experimental agenda in pictures

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.

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

a peek at the octopus’s garden

Peek at an underwater space.
peek octopuspeek octopus ringo
I took these pictures quite sometime ago when I visited Monterey Bay Aquarium. I have forgotten all about the bright red octopus which disappointed many by persisting to hide in its underwater garden/cave. There is nothing much to see except a tentacle with suckers. The aquarium describes it to be “an amazing creature—brainy and beautiful…In our exhibit, you may have to look closely to find the octopus, as these animals can change their skin color to blend in with the rocks around them, and even this species, the largest octopus in the world, can squeeze itself into tiny, out-of-the-way spaces.” So here is just a peek of the amazing creature.

In a way this octopus is like human. Don’t we all choose to allow a mere peek in many aspects of our life? I am not talking about the virtual world. Even in real life we keep to our personal space. Why is it that the more civilized we are the more exclusive and distant we strive to become? I read that the Giant Pacific octopus spends most of its life alone. While it chooses to be a hermit, it can learn to open jars, play with toys, and interact with its handlers. It can mimic other octopuses. It is a master of disguise. Near the end of her three years’ life the female will find a once in her lifetime mate and reproduces. Here is a touching description of the heroic sacrificial mother.

“The mother octopus lives in the cave for up to seven months as the curtain of eggs develops, fanning the eggs with her arms or contracting her body to shoot streams of oxygen- and nutrient-rich water over them. She doesn’t eat during this time and usually dies shortly after the young hatch.” (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Given a last line I would add that she is probably more capable of true love than many.

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

their ember glows on…

a glow that glimmersA Glow that still glimmers.

I am fascinated with letter writing. I mean the kind of letters that really matters, both to the writer and the recipient. Not so long ago we all wrote letters. We wrote letters of real words, often with genuine feelings and thoughts. Crossing a rather long causeway one evening I took this picture. Although it was a bit shaky I appreciate the capture for a moment in time which passed and never returned. Letters often depict a moment in time like a picture. Looking through my former drafts for this blog I found the following lyrics written by a legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen who passed away in 2016 November.  For those who do not know him and are interested in knowing what he was known for during the nearly 50 years of his musical career, “Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed,” said his manager.

Here is how Leonard Cohen writes (and sings) about letter writing and reading. Don’t we all feel the same as the letters writer feels? There is always a silent secret glow in our heart when we write with a passion. I know of someone who used to write one letter a day to his beloved for three and half years in addition to making rather expensive transatlantic phone calls (in those days) until she was accustomed to hearing from him like from a voice inside her and finally told him to marry her. Does the glowing ember of letters die off eventually? I have no answer. Perhaps if the two should meet when they have become really very old they will tell each other. Leonard once had a love in 1960s and when she approached death in July 2016 at 81 he wrote a touching letter to her. He too died shortly after. He was 82.

The Letters by Leonard Cohen

He: You never liked to get
The letters that I sent.
But now you’ve got the gist
Of what my letters meant.
You’re reading them again,
The ones you didn’t burn.
You press them to your lips,
My pages of concern.

I said there’d been a flood.
I said there’s nothing left.
I hoped that you would come.
I gave you my address.

She: Your story was so long,
The plot was so intense,
It took you years to cross
The lines of self-defense.
The wounded forms appear:
The loss, the full extent;
And simple kindness here,
The solitude of strength.

He and she: You walk into my room.
You stand there at my desk,
Begin your letter to
The one who’s coming next.

From wikipedia about ember:
An ember is a glowing, hot coal made of greatly heated wood, coal, or other carbon-based material that remain after, or sometimes precede, a fire. Embers…radiate a substantial amount of heat long after the fire has been extinguished…

Posted in photography, thoughts, words of thoughts and spirit

Become rounded in jazz reminiscence

Become Rounded at a jazz restaurant. rounded at club3333 blue room Some years ago I casually became accustomed to jazz recordings performed by several female artists whose albums happened to be available in a tiny sleepy town. It started one day when someone real close got hold of one lone jazz album, Cool Edinburgh jazz vocalist Niki King’s Azure. After listening to her lithe and soulful voice, I decided to ransack a rather rare music store hidden in a cool back lane that sold only high fidelity expensive recordings to audiophiles. I managed to get a few jazz albums which I treated like rare gems in those days. I got to listen to Norah Jones’ Feels like Home. My friend and I then listened to Diana Krall’s The Look of Love…No, we did not have high-end audio playback system. But we really enjoyed listening despite our humbler audio player.

I never thought much of the meanings of the lyrics and did not bother to look them up. Neither did my friend bother. To round up today’s reminiscence of those jazzy and somewhat crazy days, I dig these out from the internet source. Well, here are some lyrics that seem well rounded and well presented of the lazy, lean, cool and casual mood and tone of those days.

Drifting, dreaming
In an azure mood
Stardust gleaming
Through my solitude

Here in my seclusion
You’re a blue illusion
While I’m in this azure interlude
I’m not wanted
I’m so all alone

(Ella Fitzgerald – Azure Lyrics)

Sunrise
Looks like morning in your eyes
But the clocks held 9: 15 for hours
Sunrise Sunrise
Couldn’t tempt us if it tried

Cuz the afternoon’s already come and gone
And I said

oooo, oooo, oooo
To you
Surprise
Surprise
Couldn’t find it in your eyes
But I’m sure it’s written all over my face

(Norah Jones – Sunrise Lyrics)

What am I to you
Tell me darling true,
To me you are the sea
Vast as you can be
and deep the shade of blue

When you’re feeling low
Oh to whom else do you do
see I cry if you hurt
I’d give you my last shirt
because I love you so

(Norah Jones – What Am I To You? Lyrics)

The look of love
Is in your eyes.
A look your smile
Can’t disguise.
The look of love,
It’s saying so much more than
just words could ever say.
And what my heart has heard,
Well, it takes my breath away.

(Diana Krall – The Look Of Love Lyrics)

The sky may be starless,
The night may be moonless,
But deep in my heart,
there’s a glow,
for deep in my heart,
I know that you love me.
You love me, because you told me so.

Love letters straight from your heart,
Keep us so near while we’re apart.
I’m not alone in the night,
When I can have all the love you write.

(Diana Krall – Love Letters Lyrics)

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

a ranting: Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t

Pedestrians
pedesterian crabpedesterian fishpedesterian sandpedesterian sea
I decide to dig out these least noticeable creatures who walk close to the bottom of their water domain and give them prominence on this post. They are the typical pedestrians whom nobody bother to look at twice. Seemingly seen by many as they go about their normal daily living and yet they are on most occasions unseen, the ordinary life of the small people, that is their lot in life. Do their lives matter? If not, why bother? Someone overtly concerned with utilitarian meaning may ask. But I, I prefer to look at each life as uniquely designed and planned for a purpose and value to which we may never know. I was startled by the darting away of a very tiny lizard last night as I went into the kitchen to clear away some dry plates and pots. The poor little creature was startled too by this looming ‘giant creature’. Then I thought to myself, why do lizards persist to visit my kitchen regardless how impeccably clean and insect-less it is? I have no answer. The writer’s mind of mine likes to imagine that they have come to leave a mark (like their way of saying, ‘hello’). Perhaps they too must go through their pedestrian path which happens to include my kitchen sink. The result is that I have something additional to do (cleaning up their occasional trail) while walking through my own pedestrian way too. We cross paths. Sometimes we leave marks. Sometimes we don’t.

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

windows of hope yet

Windows of hope yet.window of hope
This was taken awhile ago. My young wards like visiting artificial abodes for wild creatures. I go along. But I can feel a sense of sadness for no particular reason. On the other hand, I find solace in the following verses (promises) for living creatures. The windows into another world out there beyond the horizon promise a safe place and an assured full life for even the little birds.

The desert creatures will meet hyenas,
and one wild goat will call to another.
Indeed, the night birds will stay there
and will find a resting place.

Sand partridges will make their nests there;
they will lay and hatch their eggs
and will gather their broods under their shadows.
Indeed, the birds of prey will gather there,
each with its mate.

Search and read the scroll of the Lord:
Not one of them will be missing,
none will be lacking its mate,
because he has ordered it by my mouth,
and he will gather them by his Spirit.

He has cast the lot for them;
his hand allotted their portion with a measuring line.
They will possess it forever;
they will dwell in it from generation to generation.

(Verses taken from prophet Isaiah’s book 34:14-17)

Posted in photography, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

A window ranting at daybreak

Windows

window and chair

For no particular reason I was placed at this unusual room looking out of this window. I was supposed to be elsewhere in a grand five-star, but I actually paid more as a walk in to this humble place in a mall because it was too late to return to my five-star abode. Why? Well, it was just a simple outing with a close relative whom I had not seen for quite some time. We had a hurried dinner and then I decided to go back alone by Uber or a cab. But then I received a call that the people I was with decided to sleep and had to lock the room door. So I walked into this place at a mall that had closed and checked in. Since I had nothing to change into I slept in my dinner-wear except for the shoes. By dawn I was already wide awake. So I looked out at this window and waited until 11am for breakfast when the mall opened. There was nothing out there except busy morning traffic which the picture could not show. How strange it is to just wait at the window watching nothing and waiting for time to go by. I have nothing to write on except my mobile phone which battery is running flat. So I just sit at this chair and wait by the window. No food as the hotel does not cater food. No internet as I have to save my phone for emergency use. No sights to see as the room is on a floor that has a roof outside my window covering s large space presumably the shopping mall. No programs on the TV that I like to watch. I watch a bit of the discovery channel about a civilized man’s adventure learning to live the life of a soon extinct lost tribe in a primitive jungle in Africa. The tribe accepted him and built a hut made of straws and mud for him. There is no window but there is an open door. He has a nice scenery outside his door. People living their daily lives and welcoming him as a novelty visitor as well as a willing pupil. They show him and let him tell the world about them.

A window is meant to show something to people. It opens to another space, another realm. The space outside my temporary window is bleak with concrete jungle. Yes, I am in a capital city somewhere. Void of stories of people there is really nothing much to report from this window. I find that I have nothing to show or tell.

(By 10:30am I checked out and went to queue up for almost an hour at the first oriental noodle store for my breakfast which turned out to be really good!)

Posted in blogging, literary magazines and publishing, photography, words of thoughts and spirit

ranting and waiting for a writer

Waiting for a writer. waiting
I have been lying here for quite awhile. But the writer of bullet journal has yet to turn up. I have flown all the way from Europe, to be precise, Hamburg, Germany. Here I am, bound and unopened. Sometimes it gets lonely with the empty pages inside. I have dreams of them filled with love, joy and peace. Even fun perhaps if the household child ventures near and draws some doodles. Or perhaps a meditative pale young man pauses while seeping his usual cup of morning coffee to insert a verse. I wouldn’t even mind if the unkempt boy from next door climbs over the fence and tries out his new coloring pencils… O anything but being neglected and left on this busy table on which I am just a bystander watching all the other gadgets fully engaged. Don’t get me wrong. I am not giving up. I am still waiting for my writer to turn up. That hassled housewife in the kitchen? Or the retiree ageless woman who seems so set to watch the stock market online? The white-haired man who potters in the herbal garden? Any of those students who whirl in and out of the study each occupied with his or her mobile phone? I know the digital competition is tough. But I stay cool. I just dream and wait for that appointed moment with my writer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For the uninitiated, here is a guide on what you may do with me: “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.”

Posted in photography, words of thoughts and spirit

Textures: a sky, an earth, a tree and a light.

texture sky earth treeTextures  of a sky, an earth and a tree as displayed by a light. Sometimes a picture just happens.  This was taken in autumn 2015. I went to see some colors of autumn. Somehow this picture came out rather off color. Looking at it now I realize it had demonstrated something I did not notice then. The light is a key part to the display of textures. The tree appeared to be the centre of the focus and yet it was off the mark. It had blurred into the distant trees. When viewed from this dark side, that autumn seemed bleak and forlorn. However, standing from the side of the light a different world was revealed. In those pictures taken with the light shining on the trees, they were in fact richly dressed up in brilliant red and orange and gold garments, in ripeness and blessed abundance of a good season. I have reserved those pictures for another good story, a story with another weekly photo challenge name.

Posted in life of riches and honor, literary magazines and publishing, photography, power of words, words of thoughts and spirit

beautiful friends

friends copy
Friends together

I decide to give the topic Friend another go. It is too good a theme to miss. Here is a picture I took of human and their dogs. It is reassuring to watch how friendly interactions can take place between: human and human, dog and dog, human and dog, nature and creatures. All basking in the backdrop of a beautiful day, a beautiful lake and its beautiful mountain, beautiful sunset, sky and cool breeze that touches the beautiful water before it touches those who stand at the shore. Such a lot of beauty manifests when we are in unthreatening friendship with each other.

Friendship draws thankfulness. Thankful for life. Thankful that we are alive.

A beautiful verse for us to ponder today:

John 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. (A love note from Jesus to His friends)

Posted in photography, words of thoughts and spirit

promise you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.

friendI wanna grow old with you. When I am a hundred and you are ninety-nine, my Friend.  
I use a tree and a rock to depict the kind of friendship we need. both can live to over a century.
Here is a touching passage from a classic children’s book about friendship. It can better describe what being good friends are than I can.
“Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hand, called out “Pooh!” “Yes?” said Pooh. “When I’m–when–Pooh!” “Yes, Christopher Robin?” “I’m not going to do Nothing any more.” “Never again?” “Well, not so much. They don’t let you.” Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again. “Yes, Christopher Robin?” said Pooh helpfully. “Pooh, when I’m–you know–when I’m not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?” “Just me?” “Yes, Pooh.” “Will you be here too?” “Yes Pooh, I will be really. I promise I will be Pooh.” “That’s good,” said Pooh. “Pooh, promise you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.” Pooh thought for a little. “How old shall I be then?” “Ninety-nine.” Pooh nodded. “I promise,” he said. Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt Pooh’s paw. “Pooh,” said Christopher Robin earnestly, “if I–if I’m not quite–” he stopped and tried again– “Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won’t you?” “Understand what?” “Oh, nothing.” He laughed and jumped to his feet. “Come on!” “Where?” said Pooh. “Anywhere.” said Christopher Robin.

So, they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.”
― A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

Posted in blogging, life of riches and honor, literary magazines and publishing, photography, words of thoughts and spirit

Return to the house of dreaming swiftlets: an announcement


I regret to announce that the above fictional series will be discontinued. The protagonists have expressed the wish for a non-fiction book to be written instead for different purposes. Thank you for viewing and clicking “like”. I really appreciate.
From this blogger.

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 girl with whom any young men would want/dare to approach to build an intimate 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 with 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 waving 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. She probably never even thought about it. (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