Photo Essay: Crystallization

1 - wingtip lake michegan

There’s an old bit of business jargon about a forty (or perhaps thirty? twenty? ten?)* thousand foot view.  The idea of this term is that “at a high level” you stop focusing on minutia and can see the “big picture” and make out the “broad strokes” of the “larger landscape.”

2 - wingtip lake michegan crystals

But perhaps a better metaphor is this: When you’re up in the stratosphere, untethered from the mundane day-to-day realities and barrages of information, that’s when some of the smallest ideas can crystallize and express their beautiful intricacy.

4 - airplane window ice crystals

Rather than losing sight of the details here at cruising altitude you can finally see the small, hidden possibilities. You are able to read the glyphs of a wordless language that were there all along, scratched out and buried beneath the surface of your distracted consciousness.

3 - airplane window ice crystals

So take note of what you see and what you read up there, because when you come back down to earth, it will quickly melt away and run off with the daily currents.

5 - airplane window melted crystal droplets

Photo Essay: Lens Flare

Vertical Sunbeam -308x800When we look at the sun, we very rarely see the actual sun.

We see the light of the sun scattering inside our lens.

Our lens — the one in our camera, or eyeball, or mind’s eye — has all kinds of internal inconsistencies.

When the sun’s light scatters inside our lens, what we’re seeing is a reflection of the properties of our lens, rather than the sun itself.

So when we look at the sun, what we really see is a metaphor.

We see the changing of the seasons.

We see the rolling of the earth.

We see the spinning of the stars.

We see religion and science dancing together.

We see the opportunity to grow a garden.

We see the risk of being burned.

Today I closed my eyes and decided just to feel the sun directly.

What I felt was a blessing.

What I felt was love.

Creative Space

“So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”

Brenda Ueland

Timna Spiral Hill Approach

In most endeavors, the main differentiator is creativity. Creativity requires that we — at least once in a while — no really, please — can we just — yes, there you go — relax.

Timna Mushroom Sandstone

When to relax?

  • When we’re doing the same thing and getting tired of it.
  • When we get tired of doing that thing before even starting it.
  • When we notice that too many other people are doing that thing now and doing it in an almost formulaic manner.

We may notice that doing that thing — that thing which once seemed meaningful and special — suddenly seems rote and ordinary. The groove is so deeply ingrained, so predetermined and obvious, that we cannot tolerate moving along within it.

The only thing worse than being caught in your own rut is to be caught in someone else’s rut.

Timna Copper Mine Shaft

When we notice that rut, it’s a clue that it’s time for us to put down our pen/pencil/paintbrush/pixel-pushing device and go for a walk. Off course, of course.

Take a leisurely stroll through open space and unprogrammed time.

Wander in the wilderness and glance across at other seekers along the way.

Timna Voyeurs and Poseurs

Photo du Jour: Rays

Rays

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
John Ruskin

Photo essay: Sublime Sublimation

01 - twelve foot high snowbanks

 

Sublime (adj.) 1580s, “expressing lofty ideas in an elevated manner,” from Middle French sublime (15c.), or directly from Latin sublimis “uplifted, high, borne aloft, lofty, exalted, eminent, distinguished,” possibly originally “sloping up to the lintel,” from sub “up to” + limen “lintel, threshold, sill” (see limit (n.)).The sublime (n.) “the sublime part of anything, that which is stately or imposing” is from 1670s.

– from the Online Etymology Dictionary

01a - snow strata

 

Giant snowbanks pile up with geological strata of precipitation and street grime. Their surfaces evaporate directly into thin air, leaving behind fantastic fractal landscapes.

02 - buried fenceposts

05 - mount sublime

Freeze. Thaw. Plow. Evaporate. Melt. Shovel. Freeze. Snow. Evaporate again.

The sun carves sculptures out of ice and air.

03 - iceshroom

04 - sublime sculpture

06 - crystal layers

“Sublimation is part of the royal art where the true gold is made. (…) It is not a voluntary and forcible channeling of instinct into a spurious field of application, but an alchymical transformation for which fire and prima materia are needed.”

– Carl Jung

07 - crystal contrast

08 - snow yinyang

The snow and ice crystals capture dirt and then evaporate, forming a crusty layer of grit that compresses back down into the earth.  As we live and breathe, so do we compress our experiences and impulses into acts of creation.

09 - snow grit

10 - dirty snow lungs 1

11 - dirty air filter

Some of these snowbanks are like dirty air filters, overused through a long winter.

12 - dirty snow lungs 2

13 - groundmelt

It’s the pure stuff that sublimates. The rest of it lingers and melts into oil slick.

13a - dirtmelt

14 - parkinglot snow

Come on, it’s time to put this winter away, already.

15 - sublime sidewalk

Darkness begone. Spring forward into the light.

16 - sublimated shadow

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