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, 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 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, 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 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 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 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.

Posted in photography, thoughts, travel, writing

There is a mysterious cycle in human events

tree-eveningvia Daily Prompt: Realize I now realize that this is a mysterious shot taken at Sep 12, 2015, 11:35 PM according to the description. But I cannot remember how I could have gone outside to take this photo at such a late hour! When I check other photos taken on the same day I find that they depict daytime and not night. How could I have taken some photos in the morning, paused for a whole day, and went out again just to take this one picture? It does not make sense. Anyway I give up guessing. It does not matter. The story in the picture is nice to ponder: it seems to tell of a mysterious setting for a rendezvous for at least two. The dark trees, the traffic junction, the lamp post, the distant low mounds, and the sun captured in its yellow water-color painted sky backdrop. The setting stirs up a writer’s imagination without boundary.
By the way, because the lamps seem not lit I conclude that this picture was taken in the day and not at night. It did not really matter whether it was day or night. I was alone that day and not meeting anyone.
“There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

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

the tree and a house

a story of a Tree and a house.
tree-and-houseThis is a strange picture. At a glance it may look an ordinary snap shot on a fine day, but when I look closer I see a blending of the trees in the foreground and the house at the back. It looks as if the tree has grown onto the wall of the house and some parts have climbed and covered the roof. The trees were actually planted on the upper slope and the house was at a lower ground. When I look this photo I was attracted by the lovely blue sky and did not notice the effect of the trees on the house. It was late September last year. I had newly arrived in this new place and was fascinated with the sky. It is too late to ask why the tree that looked like it plastered itself onto the wall was in such a state? It looked as if it did not belong. Perhaps it would be restored in spring. I never managed to find out as I left and moved on eventually. I do wonder whether the road side trees were planted by someone else. They were not meant to be part of anything except to adorn the roadside and give shade to joggers like me. The house too was not meant to be part of the scene. It just happened to be there and caught at random together with the tree on camera. Strange how life too could turn out this way for two totally unrelated beings. In this case, a tree and a house.

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

edge of light and season

Edge
edge-of-colorsThe edge that demarcates light from darkness fascinates me. The contrast is so clear in this picture taken in last September. The dark side is a wall of hedges. I was new to this place and was walking along the side of the road. The trees on the other side were turning into autumn’s yellow but the willow tree was quite adamant to stand out in its lush greenery.  I cannot figure out now what the white spots on the ground are. But they too contribute to the contrast in colors between the black and the white. The path too, clearly marked by a white side and a dark part shadowed by the tree. There seems a marking of a boundary between two sets of realms, one in the bright sunshine and the other one in the dark. Again it makes me think of our lives. Some are in the bright sunny realm where the light is and some in the dark and shady realm. One thing is certain, all living things need sunshine to grow and thrive, even the trees and the grass. With the seasonal changes one may enter a bleak and bare grey and colorless period. But the good news is the sun and the light with all the glorious and rich colors always come back with another season. Being an optimist I believe that this too applies to life.

Genesis 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;

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

mirrored conversation

Mirrormirrored-counterHere is another picture I took inside the cafe of many lamps and reflections. It was quite early in the day or evening (?) and there were only several guests two of whom engaged in deep conversation near the counter were captured in this photo at random. The place actually looked quite nice and cheerful. Pity we did not stay for a meal or even a drink. I was attracted by the many reflections when I took several photos despite the brief stay.

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

And when I turned I saw…(mirrored lamps)

Mirror
mirrored-ceilingSometimes it is hard to decide what to share in terms of photos. I tend to take too many at one go and then have a hard time deciding which to keep and which to discard. Part of the problem with a mobile smart phone. It is very convenient to use and easy to carry around. Like this photo which was taken in a place some of us ventured inside just to use its rest room. But I couldn’t resist the ceiling and the lightings. Here it is, a place of many lights. (Reduced from the original size.)

Somehow today I read this,
“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lamp stands,’ (Revelation 1:12)

Posted in thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

a night at the concert

Melody
after the concertAfter a spirited concert performed by a high school with junior and senior girls under a locally acclaimed award winning talented but somewhat temperamental conductor who was known to have threatened to cancel the top three best pieces just before the concert, we strolled outside with lingering excitement and contentment. Parents and visitors like us packed the hall and crowded the waiting lounges. We were all waiting for ours or someone else’s little ones. They sang songs from various nations and did a good job considered the hours, days, weeks, months and years they had put into it! I was told that on one occasion all 85 girls cried their hearts out when the conductor canceled their best “a cappella” (singing without accompanying music) pieces. He felt that they were not good enough and were unworthy to sing those pieces. Regardless how they sang that night we all stood up at the end and gave the girls a standing ovation anyway! Reason? They are our children or our friends’ children. In fact we thoroughly enjoyed the whole concert due to the choice of songs and the lively performances. No, we did not worry about whether they were worthy to sing them or not. Every singing girl had someone close who thought the best of her. It was a night of melody performed by angels as far as we were concerned.

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

her framed life

Frame
frame 1“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. ”(Michael Crichton) I agree when I now look at this picture taken at a museum. The painting depicts a vintage car with possibly a miner’s family. I was attracted by the splashes of blue color which permeates the whole scene. Somehow the blue blends well with the yellow and brown. I collected a few pictures within pictures by using a simple Samsung Galaxy. The museum is about mining. And an artist has displayed a series of painting of individuals (possibly based on related period records) on the wall. The individuals are framed in time. Each must represent an episode in life in which he or she has existed. Each carries a portion of history within the tiny frame of his or her life. We were mere travelers when we visited this museum. We were there to look at other things. But the paintings become a focus today. Paintings are framed lives. The artist looks at a life or a part thereof and tries to put it into an expression. But it can only remain a mere capture of a moment in life as observed and interpreted by the artist. Did the individual thus captured move on from that position and pose? Or was he or she frozen in that frame? No matter how well an artist tries to portray the reality, it is not reality. It is an image formed in time. Thinking deeper aloud, I suddenly realize I too am living from frame to frame. Don’t we all? Sad, but true.

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

rarely together

Rare
rarely togetherOften we see a place where we love and hope for the company of a loved one to enjoy it together. I chanced upon this little lovely place one day when traveling in a hurry to see many places within the daylight hours. I fell for the mediterrenean setting. But I did not go in because I did not have the right company. When I look at this picture today I can only sigh and wish I had my loved one with me that day and had a lovely meal together. But the fact is we are rarely together…

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

“Leaving behind” is like a taboo statement.

dog left alone“Leaving behind” is like a taboo statement. We don’t want to talk about it much or not at all if possible. As a child I often dreamed of being left behind by people or events: my mom, teachers, classmates, going somewhere by bus or train and being left behind after I went down at one of the momentary stops, sitting for an exam and finding I had gone to a wrong exam hall which was empty, arriving too late for the school bus and everyone had left for a picnic, participating a school concert and found that there was no participants and no audience…Later as a young adult I had recurring dream of being left alone and stranded in a formal wedding hall without the other party turning up for the formal ceremony. I also dreamed of traveling on a train and having to keep walking from coach to coach to find the one who had promised to meet with me and traveled together for life! It was a forlorn feeling.

I recall reading a book by D.H.Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, Chapter 15 which is titled “Derelict”. It gives the feeling of being left behind. The mother died. The son decided not to marry a girl who loved him. She went to college. There are two portions to the “left behind”. A portion that goes away. And a portion that stays. Here are definitions that describe the two portions. The two portions are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other. When we talk about being left behind, there must be something or someone who has left. The two parts are actually together. What irony!

Anther ironical puzzle for those interested in mental health and psychology is that I actually grew up well balanced and heathy. I excelled in academic studies and profession. So the dreams were not really premonitions. Did they reflect my deepest fear? Looking back I see that they did in some cases. I did not fear exams or interviews. While I enjoy being alone most times, once in a while I like to have company too. Knowing I am loved despite being alone is essential for my well being. The physical solitude does not reflect the state to the soul and the spirit.

Derelict: Abandoned, forsake; given up or forsaken by the natural owner or guardian; (of a ship) abandoned at sea, dilapidated, neglected; (of a spacecraft) abandoned in outer space.
Relic: That which remains; that which is left after loss or decay; a remaining portion. Something old kept for sentimental reasons.

Here is a passage quoted from SparkNotes on the “Derelict” chapter in Sons and Lovers:
Paul is lost without his mother. He can no longer paint, and he puts all of his energy into his work at the factory. He has debates within himself, telling himself that he must stay alive for his mother’s sake. However, he wants to give up.
One Sunday evening, however, he sees Miriam at the Unitarian Church. He asks her to have supper with him quickly and she agrees. She tells him that she has been going to a farming college and will probably be kept on as a teacher there. She says that she thinks they should be married, and he says he’s not sure that would be much good. He says he does not want it very much, and so she gives up. That is the end between them. She leaves him, realizing that “his soul could not leave her, wherever she was.”
Paul, alone, yearns for his mother and considers following her into death. However, he decides to leave off thinking about suicide, and instead walks toward the town.

The Things We Leave Behind

Posted in Bible verses, blogging, celestial journal, God's blessing, life of riches and honor, photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit

a tale of two gardens

a morning at SetiaThis picture was taken in a tropical garden where there is ample sunshine and rainfall. It is a private park open to the public in a residential estate. The developers have maintained the park well and given the residents and nearby visitors a place where they daily recreate, exercise, and meet for community and social connection. It is quite a refreshing change from the Western scenario. The people are less mobile-phone-bound. A morning means bright sunshine and green trees. There are joggers and even families with small pre-school children. The seniors practice their daily folk dances or other forms of cultural exercises. There are cafes all around the park. There are private schools nearby too. The park is right in the centre of activities and living. I was told by someone that this little park has won an official landscaping prize and the property value rises consistently.  The efforts of consistent up-keeping maintenance by the developers are being recognized and rewarded. A large park nearby has gone to ruins and become a den of thieves and drug addicts because of the negligence of maintenance by the developers after some years. The value of their properties drop drastically. The contrast between the two parks is so obvious. So are the fortunes of the two developers.

Morning

I am reminded this morning of this little verse which describes a prosperous and successful king* in the ancient times:

“And every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.” 2 Chronicles 31:21

Have a good day!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*For those who are interested to know a bit about history, here are some notes from Wikipedia on King Hezekiah:
Hezekiah purified and repaired the Temple, purged its idols, and reformed the priesthood.[7] In an effort to abolish what he considered idolatry from his kingdom, he destroyed the high places (or bamot) and “bronze serpent” (or “Nehushtan”), recorded as being made by Moses, which became objects of idolatrous worship. In place of this, he centralized the worship of God at the Jerusalem Temple. Hezekiah also resumed the Passover pilgrimage and the tradition of inviting the scattered tribes of Israel to take part in a Passover festival. He sent messengers to Ephraim and Manasseh inviting them to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover. The messengers, however, were not only not listened to, but were even laughed at; only a few men of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun came to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the Passover was celebrated with great solemnity and such rejoicing as had not been in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon.[5] Hezekiah is portrayed by the Hebrew Bible as a great and good king. Knowing that Jerusalem would eventually be subject to siege, Hezekiah had been preparing for war for some time by fortifying the walls of Jerusalem, building towers, and constructing a tunnel to bring fresh water to the city from a spring outside its walls.[7] He made at least two major preparations that would help Jerusalem to resist conquest: the construction of the Siloam Tunnel, and construction of the Broad Wall.
It is interesting that King Hezekiah built two great constructions: the famous Jerusalem underground water tunnel and the famous Jerusalem Broad Wall. Points for pondering today. Key words: Wall and Tunnel.

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

we cannot wait for the rain to stop

morning in rainThe morning started with last night’s rain but we could not wait till the rain stopped. We were told it could go on raining and we might not have time to see all those places if we skipped even one day. We decided to go anyway, despite the rain and gloomy sky. There was nothing much to capture as pictures. But I clicked anyway at random. When I look at the photo stock now I find that many are really quite nice. I like all the rain scenes after all! I am keeping the better ones for my book illustrations. So the rainy morning was not wasted. What happened that day? We had sunshine in the afternoon. It turned out to be a glorious day and we all enjoyed ourselves visiting all the places we would have missed if we had decided to wait till the rain stopped. Travelers are resilient people.

Morning

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

one day I met this side lane

Narrow
narrow cafeThis side lane is narrow and does not seem to bring out the actual attraction of the place. The frontage is nice. But if you merely look at this lane you would not know whether you should walk in or not. (I have covered the name in the picture.) The restaurant offers savory Turkish, Greek and Mediterranean Fusion Cuisine*. Actually it is worth trying out. Sometimes it takes a bit more effort to walk round to actually see the whole picture. When digging deeper, I discover that the buildings and narrow side lanes are special. Because of the preservation of the town’s historic downtown area, many examples of architectural styles dating back to the mid-19th century exist. Buildings in Gothic Revival, Pioneer, Italianate, Commercial Italianate, Colonial Revival, and Queen Anne styles can be found within walking distance of each other. I have learned the lesson not to be presumptious  when taking a photo of a place. The history of buildings and lanes is often rich and tells a thousand stories. My superficial photo may not do the place justice. The narrowness is often my own casual handling of a subject and not the subject content itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Note:Fusion cuisine is cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions. Cuisines of this type are not categorized according to any one particular cuisine style and have played a part in innovations of many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s.

Posted in blogging, celestial journal, photography, thoughts, travel, words of thoughts and spirit, writing

traveler’s time and perspective

Narrow
narrow stairsI was taken to this tiny museum in a little town a few days before I left. Two old ladies took care of the place. Old memories like family photos, wedding and children’s clothes, a master bedroom, dolls, cooking utensils, a music room and other person stuff were well preserved among other more important historical records about the founder of the town. This photograph was a bit blurred as I was in a hurry to leave. When I look at it now I realize a museum like this preserves more than just the memories of a man and his lives and perhaps his official impact on others during his time. It is more than just a book of memoir or biography pieced together by others (including perhaps his loved ones) on a man. It is a place where strangers like me from another continent  may stumble in once in a blue moon like entering a time portal to another world. The periodic presentation of a time in history is valuable as it makes a statement with things rather than with words. The things may not look pretty or impressive in our modern world but the communication of a statement is timeless, like an ever speaking witness of a time which existed on earth in a little town, a tiny narrow space. I perceive the familiarity of the space. I have been here before, with the same message communicated to me through the many tiny narrow spaces I have stepped on during my travel round the world. The contents of the message are often unchanged. The variation of things and names do not make any difference. The message is a message of time itself. Time speaks, regardless of spaces. Yes, narrowness is a matter of perspective.