Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
my lovely daughter, in an impulsive attempt to help me over one of the halfway hurdles, promised: if i made it through my planned month of thirty-one postings, she would update her own website every single day in january.
it will be better than a daily bunch of blossoms, a whole month long.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
he tossed his moth-eaten black cloak, and then himself, onto the seat across the aisle
from me, adjusted his enormous earphones, and turned up the heavy-metal-volume as high as it could go.
i sighed audibly - someone else's bass is my bane - and, gathering up my things, i
headed for the coupé door.
"ma'am?" he ventured. "may i ask why you're leaving?"
"you may", i answered, less curtly than i intended, partly bacause he had used the
polite form of "you". "it's sunday morning. i'd like a little quiet."
"then why didn't you just ask me to turn it down?" he asked.
i explained, wearily, that requests of that nature generally elicit aggressive responses, which are no fun on a sunday morning, either.
"oh!" he cried. "but i'm not an aggressive person at ALL!"
i sat back down.
he lowered the volume.
a few awkward minutes passed.
"i actually ha-have quite eclectic tastes in music", he volunteered.
a few more minutes passed.
"so do i." i smiled.
by the time the conductors came controlling tickets, he had relocated to my side of the carriage, and was confiding his talents, his passions, and his plans for the day, and he stammered enthusiastically, to everyone within earshot, "oh, we are ha-having such an enthra-thralling conversation!"
they laughed, and so did i, but sheepishly:
i had jumped to conclusions, and allowed first impressions to mislead me.
i should have known better.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
"friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity."
- kahlil gibran (lebanese-born philosophical essayist, novelist and poet, 1883-1931)
i gambled on the gift; it was small, and sentimental, and very personal.
giving is much better than receiving.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
my futile forage through the attic in search of errant christmas crackers uncovered
this: a photograph taken in 1974, at upper canada village, during an outing with my college photography class. it was shot with my first camera, a praktica LTL, and, although i probably cajoled a course-mate into developing the negatives (self-
confidence was not my strong point; the mere thought of doing something wrong and ruining my pictures terrified me), i remember printing it all-by-myself.
i might compose - or crop - it slightly differently these days, but contrast like this still fills me with delight, and makes me wish i could remember which film i used.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
believe it or not, it was august when i took this photograph: a sidestreet surprise on a sultry summer day. my bare arms - for i am very vaguely visible - betray the season.
i remember thinking, then, of christmas, and how far away it seemed.
and now it's here.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
and lo, behold: december has skimmed by, swiftly, smoothly; a new year is just
beyond the rise.
it was, perhaps, a silly, spur-of-the-moment little resolution - this posting daily - but it has done me good; and here i am in the home stretch, with a festive finish in sight.
it should be an easy glide from here.
Friday, December 22, 2006
"let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
- marcel proust (french novelist and author, 1871-1922)
those mornings - every morning - we stood companionably in the chairless kitchen, sipping makeshift lattes and waiting for the toast to brown; we watched the man-next-door tend his greens beyond the steamy window; we decided where - more or less - to go, which cameras to take there, and which film to feed them with.
those mornings - every morning - we crossed our fingers for sun, checked the door three times, and smiled wryly at how everyday routine - transformed by simple friendship - becomes a dearly cherished ritual.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
a few months back, i sat beside a man, a colleague, for an hour or two.
he was tough, and gruff, and very nice; he had a dozen tattoos.
he coughed a lot.
today, he died, 50 years old.
for many, this christmas will be rough, and raw with loss.
my heart goes out.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
most of the old family snapshots tucked into my mother's letters are warmly familiar, but this one - which arrived not long ago - was a revelation to me.
i (perhaps because i had never seen it before) find it intensely intricate, and moving: beyond the homely length of checked tablecloth, the spacious sweep of lakeshore, and the tidy piles of melamine dishes, i see the concentration on my mother's face, and the total trust and adoration in mine. i am stirred by the delicate curve of her slender arms, and her tousled hair, by her innocent determination to do things the right way, and by her sheer and utter youth.
i have no memory of this her - i was just three - but this insight into this her delights, and touches me.
Monday, December 18, 2006
"much water goeth by the mill that the miller knoweth not of."
i'm taking the easy way out tonight: i spent all day following a computer training (my eyes are now square, as we say here) and my lovely daughter in canada could do with a long-overdue pre-christmas email.
this, in case you wonder, is my screen saver, and has been for over a year. the calm pleasure it instills in me has me suspecting that i am even fonder of this flat little country, this home-away-from-home, than i ever thought i could, and would be.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
i mentioned this film - grungy old svemapan, expired almost 40 years ago - once before, and i may mention it again: i am so taken with its endurance of the decades.
in whimsical moments, i perceive these coils of celluloid as wise, wizened gentlemen, deemed done-for, disproving preconceptions and sell-by dates: they climb mountains, they swim seas and cycle into suburban sunsets.
in realistic moments, i know that i was just lucky - and am lucky, for there are two
more rolls waiting to surprise me.
Friday, December 15, 2006
it was mid-afternoon when we arrived in cambridge, and we had just managed a short stroll and several frames of film before i - tsk! - got waylaid: by the sensuality of lush, by the nostalgia of marks and spencer, by the allure of next and monsoon.
we got back on track, eventually, but by then the day had dimmed, and the shutter speeds - as you can see - got slower and slower.
taking a shopper like me into a city for a photo shoot is a risky undertaking indeed.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
this house of ours needs a name, rather like snuggly toys need names, although my daughter has always called her beloved little bear "bear", and i'm not sure that "house" would be the most inspiring choice for a one-hundred-year-old-former-post-office in broek op langedijk.
"you could always call it 'dunroamin'", chortled my english companion as we strolled the southwold seafront, where the beach huts glow with a unique individuality. his irony escaped me, for what do i know of british banality and cliché?
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
they came cream-filled, double-chocolate-dipped, sprinkled with sweetness; they came delicately puffed and powdered. sometimes they came simply - and beautifully - plain, and pure.
they were set before me. i tasted; i feasted. i swept morsels - discreetly - to the side of my plate, and later - replete - i wondered which had pleased me most, and knew how little it really mattered.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
we selected our tree today, and, as i sorted bluespruce finery and untangled knots of fairy lights, i realised that the picture i featured here last christmas is the one-and-only digital image that i have posted in the past year.
a festive house fills me with joy.
and - oh, my, yes - so does film.
Saturday, December 9, 2006
sometimes, camera poised, composing, coaxing an image into clarity, i am conscious of a melody, a lyric: what i hear by what i see, and feel - the soundtrack of my own perception.
this past september, on the blustery blackpool pier, i saw the sign, the building, and the sky. i loved the colours; i lined up the verticals, and, metering, hummed, "just before our love got lost, you said: i am as constant as a northern star, and i said: 'constantly in the darkness, where's that at? if you want me, i'll be in the bar'.."
the lovely joni.
somehow one never forgets the soundtrack of one's younger years.
Friday, December 8, 2006
"do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. let the days own trouble be sufficient for the day."
- samuel butler
i was going to write:
"i have grave misgivings about the feasibility of daily posting"...
but that would be a poor pun indeed.
so i won't.
Thursday, December 7, 2006
he was a traveller, back then, he tells her.
he was a traveller, back then, he says, and his tone is wistful, as he recalls a life astride the wind and the wide world, and watches the waves from the seawall's lee.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
the nice people at thesaurus.com understand exactly how i feel today:
"bad-tempered, bearish, bitchy, captious, choleric, contrary, cranky, critical, cross, crotchety, crusty, difficult, disagreeable, dour, grouchy, grumpy, huffy, ill-humored, ill-natured, irascible, irritable, morose, obstinate, ornery, peevish, perverse, petulant, prickly, quarrelsome, snappish, sour, stuffy, testy, vinegarish, vinegary, wrinkly"
they are very perceptive.
a circuitous route might be advisable.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
"any way you want it to be, that's just right."
- bob ross (american painter and television presenter, 1942-1995)
this scene would seem to have been watercoloured - or photoshopped - into
nostalgic surreality, but neither is true: even i was surprised at the way the negative scanned.
as my friend j. astutely remarked, it rather resembles a hand-painted edwardian
picture postcard - apt, southwold being the charming old-fashioned suffolk seaside town that it is - and, as he even more astutely reassured me (aware of my conviction that nothing can outglow the simple truth), it totally conveys the feel, the colours, the magic palette of that fine october day.
and he should know.
he was there.
Monday, December 4, 2006
in the early hours of today, feeling low, just home from a late shift, i perceived this as a patently pertinent picture: it had poured non-stop since this month began.
i just awoke, however, to a crisp bright blueness that rather contradicts an image of café tables in the rain; but this is december, and this is the netherlands, so by the time i'm dressed for work it may be totally appropriate once more.
Sunday, December 3, 2006
"she gave me eyes, she gave me ears;
and humble cares, and delicate fears;
a heart, the fountain of sweet tears;
and love, and thought, and joy."
- william wordsworth (english romantic poet, 1770-1850)
could it be said any more sublimely?
Saturday, December 2, 2006
the abandoned amusement park appeared before us, suddenly, in the sunshine, as we strolled the hunstanton seafront; and, although the norfolk coast is anything but a visual desert, we exulted, like thirsty travelers stumbling upon a shimmering photographic oasis, and took our fill.
Friday, December 1, 2006
i totally missed nablopomo, (unlike the likes of jen and marilyn) and i don't consider myself a true blogger anyhow, but i need a challenge, even if it is december, and i have hundreds of photographs that may never see the light of day otherwise.
do i have the words, though? will i have the words? thirty-one days worth?
we'll see, my lovelies.