I Still Have Legs

I wish I was more thankful for things before I lost my vision.

Driving, reading, colors, remembering faces, seeing the stars, being independent, my job, looking at photographs, watching my nephews grow up, seeing what I will look like older, nature, television, writing something down on a piece of paper, an art gallery, seeing the wonders of the world.

Perhaps I am more thankful now. Perhaps my lack of vision gave me more to be thankful for.

Yes my feet burn on the hot pavement. I still have legs.

The annoying sounds during the meditation. I still have hearing.

I have a migraine today. I am still alive!

Using my white cane down the busy street, I am present and aware.

A Mini-Gallery of Photographs from Wendy Rose Alger, Fine Art Photographer

IMG_0088

IMG_0147

WRA_2012_02_20_2193-edit

© 2014, words and photographs, Wendy Rose Alger, All Rights Reserved

wra201110071514-1bw-mWENDY ROSE ALGER ~ is a fine art photographer born in 1972 in Chicago, Illinois. Wendy now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. She studied photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where she learned manual SLR and how to use a darkroom. These days Wendy uses a digital camera. With a digital camera she can forego a dark room and check her photographs in the camera. Thanks to her digital camera, adaptive technologies, and a variety of computer applications for photography, she is able to pursue her passion despite the vision limitations that result from retinitis pigmentosa. Her website is Wendy Rose Alger, where you can view a more complete gallery of her photographs.

Mad Cow Disease

Last July I visited the Hampshire College campus in Massachusetts. I was there to spend a few days with my daughter Bea…

…who was studying at the amazing Yiddish Book Center at the college.


Hampshire has a lovely campus in the middle of rural farm country.  And it was 97 degrees.

I’m from The Emerald City and I know green when I see it.  Believe me, that countryside was green.

It was midday, and the campus was deserted, except for mad dogs and Englishmen.  Oh, yeah, and Bea and me.  We were walking to the dorm to sit in front of the AC and have lunch (did I mention it was 97 degrees?).  Then out of nowhere came a couple of dairy cows, fresh off the farm, looking like two giant Oreo cookies on the hoof.  Completely out of context, they looked larger than life.

One doesn’t often see cows going faster than a mosey, but these two came galloping toward us–no, frolicking is the only word for it.  They came frolicking across the manicured lawn.

They seemed giddy with the sense of freedom.   No cattle lows here.  In fact, I could almost hear one calling to her girlfriend, “Woo hoo!  C’mon,c’mon,c’mon, come ON!!

Oh, they were fresh, and they were frisky!  Across the campus they bounced, udders swaying, heads bobbing.  Like young girls taking the bus downtown for the first time.  Or mothers in a frenzy of activity when Baby goes down for a nap.  Grownup sisters on their first overnight after the kids are weaned.  Old ladies and their girl herd down at the senior center on Bingo Night.

A student heading out to the parking lot saw them.  Before ducking into the safety of her car, she shouted, “Get inside!  Mad cows on the loose!”  But Bea and I weren’t afraid.  If this was Mad Cow Disease, we wanted to catch it.  I swear, those cows were laughing and shoulder bumping!

They were on their first jump over the moon.  New sights, new smells, new tastes.  Maybe the grass really was greener on the other side of the fence.  How would they ever know if they didn’t give it a try?

You’re going to stick your head into a garbage can?  Then I’m going to stick my head into a garbage can too!”  Thelma and Louise on the hoof!

Out from under Farmer Brown’s thumb!  You go, girls!

I knew then and there, I would never wait for someone to open the gate of the corral.  If it’s locked, I’ll jimmy it.

Whether your middle name is Hamburger Helper or you’re just tethered to a milking machine, life is short.  You can put in your time on the farm, but if you wait patiently for someone to put you out to pasture, chances are it ain’t gonna happen.

It’s up to you to kick up your heels while you still can.

You hear what I’m saying?   Get Moooving!

All words and images copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

The Inside Story

When my daughter Bea was studying at the Yiddish Book Center in Massachusetts, I went to visit her.  We zipped down the turnpike to Old Sturbridge Village.

The village is a living museum including 59 restored buildings, a working farm and water-powered mills.  There were craftsmen…

…artisans…

…tradesmen…

 …and re-enactors.

We were invited to look through a window in time…

We saw village life as it was lived between the 1790s and the 1830s.

I enjoyed the opportunity to see the old buildings from the inside out.

 Everywhere we went there were whispers, hinting at the inside story.

Upon reflection, one thing was clear…


Just as we do today,  those people worked hard…

…fell in love…or not…

…cherished their children…

…and valued their friends.

Some things never change.

All images and words copyright Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

Sacred Space in the Window

One of the most difficult things that humans do is make meaning from their current situation. In seminary, we were asked to do an assignment called, “This I Believe.” I still treasure the product of that assignment and will share it below. A few questions I pondered and hoped to be thoughtful about included:

  • What is belief?
  • How is belief lived out?
  • Does belief evolve over time?
  • If belief evolves over time, what does that mean?
  • Could belief be the only particular window into the world?
  • Or is belief a particular window into the world?

windows

as i look behind
i see a path of aged stone
worn away at the edges
cementing to its neighbor
existing since the
apple flew from the tree

as i look ahead
i see tangles and brambles
and flowers and warmth
and my foot reaches out
as the stone peeks
through the grasses
for a moment
while i hesitantly
test the ground
of all being

as i place my foot
down on the rock
the path is solid and
the tangles and brambles
dissolve into nothing
as the daisies lean towards
the sun gesturing
for me to proceed

as i look up
i see a mansion
welcoming me with
the scent of lavender
and love
calling out like
mama greeting me
after a long summer
away at camp

as i reach the door
i turn the handle
shaking and trembling
with fear and awe
standing at the portal
that leads to
a new place of belonging

as i step forward
realizing this is home
my ragged teddy bear
is waiting for me
on the worn chair
joy glinting off his
button eye

Papa! Mama!
i am home!

“In the garden, child.”

as i look out
i suddenly notice
the windows
each stained to create
a beautiful invitation
of loving encouragement
and lively warmth
leading to the garden

as i run from window
to window i am stunned
by the rainbow of promise
that dances before
my eyes
until i see him
and i am caught
by his image
as love overwhelms me
and my heart dances
and the garden glistens
through the
tears in my eyes

as i peek into the garden
i see Papa waiting for me
and my hand reaches out
to touch the beauty of
him and passes
through the glass
holding me in surprise
while i walk through the
window into the light
enraptured with him

i run to Papa
and leap into His arms
knocking Him back and
He receives me with
a chuckle and twirls
me headily through the
clouds with laughter
born of love and
grace.

by Terri Stewart
by Terri Stewart

Shalom and Amen!

Poem, Terri Stewart, May, 2009
Photo, Terri Stewart, 2013
Post, Terri Stewart, updated from 2013 at http://www.BeguineAgain.com

terrisignoffblog

redirection…

redirection

the recipe
for change
is to release
the past
and follow
the line
of dreams
to the
future

© 2014, illustration and photo, Charles W. Martin, All rights reserved

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. Charlie’s lastest book, When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, a collaboration with River Urke, is available through Amazon now.

product_thumbnail.phpCharlie’s long awaited Aunt Bea Collection is out. He says, “Bea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is a collection of germinal poems featuring Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea’s voice is one I’ve heard almost every day of my life. Family observations, lessons, and advice given to me and every other family member who had the good sense to listen. Her homespun philosophy most likely will not be found in any collegiate textbooks or for that matter in any local town crier newspaper catering to city dwellers. Indeed, she has a different way of viewing the world; a bit old fashion, sassy, and steely at times but a viewpoint which has engaged my imagination and heart. I sincerely hope you too will find some morsel of wisdom in her personal observations and interpretations of life’s events, but do watch out for her stingers.”

WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY: Ekphrasis

Have you ever visited a museum or found yourself and your camera lost in the beauty of nature and sought to describe your feelings and the experience in words?

Perhaps the art was one of the great classical works of a Rembrandt or the impressionism of Van Gogh. Maybe it was a piece of abstract impressionism or a Warhol print. Or a photo by a famous photographer such as Ansel Adams or Annie Liebowitz. Or the work of a fellow blogger, a friend, or even your own picture that you managed to capture there in the backyard, the forest, the desert, or city. Portrait, still life or landscape…all have the possibility of tickling the muse.

Ekphrasis is a term for writing that is inspired by a work of art, whatever media or subject that may be. A familiar example is Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn.

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
(Excerpt: Public Domain)

A much lengthier poem, Keats goes on to describe this unknown work to us, but even more so, to share its effect on him, the poet.

Since we are in the midst of celebrating International Photography Month, I thought for today it would be appropriate to use some of the photographs offered up by our fellow Bardo authors and readers as an inspiration for today’s prompt. Consider, as well, using one of your own to get that pen or pencil to paper engaged, or your fingers dancing on the keyboard.

Should you choose to share your work here, here’s how to do it:

• Write your poem, flash fiction or essay and post it to your blog or website.
• Copy the direct URL of your post and paste it into the Mr. Linky at the bottom of this page. If you prefer, simply add the link to comments.
• Include the photo that gave you inspiration or the link in your post. Also credit the photographer.

Here are a few photos to choose from, if you like:

Photo: Naomi Batluck Used with Permission

Photo: Naomi Batluck
Used with Permission

 

Copyright: Naomi Batluck Used with permission
Copyright: Naomi Baltuck
Used with permission

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with permission
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with permission

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with Permission
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with Permission

 

Photo: Naomi Batluck Used with Permission
Photo: Naomi Batluck
Used with Permission

 

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with permission.
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with permission.

 

 

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with Permission
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with Permission

 

terri2
Photo: Terri Stewart

 

Photo: Terri Stewart Used with Permission
Photo: Terri Stewart
Used with Permission

 

 

Photo: David Slotto
Photo: David Slotto
129
Photo: David Slotto

 

 Many thanks, Terri and Naomi, for sharing your talent.

– Victoria C. Slotto

2014, essay, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved; photographs as indicated 

To join in today just click on the MisterLinky button below to add a link to your work or you may just leave the link in the comment secion below. You have seventy-two hours to link something in. Victoria and Jamie will visit and comment and we hope that you will visit others and provide support and comment as well.

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editorial note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by Victoria from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on June 25. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog.If you find Mister Linky too cumbersome to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage. 

May 21, 2014

To help us continue our close of interNational Photography Month, what could be better than this lovely iris and poetic musing from Marilynn Mair, mandlinist, bandolimist, writer, photographer and wannabe Brasileira? Marilynn is Professor of Music at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. In some circles she is known as the First Lady of Mandolin.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

 

Sixty, maybe seventy years ago my father gave a turquoise blown-glass dinnerware set to his mother, my Grandma Rose.  She called it her “mowt-blown china.”   At antique stores I’ve seen similar glassware, said to be from Mexico.

Grandma gave it to my brother Lew, who gave it to me. Every time I used those dishes, I felt a connection to Daddy and Grandma too.

More fragile than china, they came out mostly for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, or sci-fi dinner parties.


Thom and I were newlyweds when I gave him a mug bearing an excerpt from Rilke that we’d borrowed for our marriage vows.
“For one human being to love another is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.


Thom had already learned that lesson the hard way. Before we met I’d had a fear of commitment. I was so afraid of getting stuck or worse, abandoned, that I rarely went on more than a couple dates with anyone. I carried my own walking papers in my back pocket and I wasn’t afraid to use them.

Then came Thom. Poor Thom. Dear Thom. Courageous Thom.

He could take it on the chin, and grin.

He was wise enough to perceive the pattern and understand what I was doing even before I did. He was gentle and patient. He taught me how to fight fairly and work things out instead of just dumping guys in general, and him in particular. He taught me that it was okay to ask for what I want, how to negotiate, and not to expect others to be able to read my mind. He taught me that I could be myself and still be loved. He taught me that there were men out there who can be counted on, and that I could count on him. Thom deserves combat pay for sticking it out long enough for me to realize I didn’t want to make him go away after all. And so I stopped trying. Best decision I ever made.

So what do these vessels have to do with Thom and me, or anything at all?

Almost thirty years ago a dear friend, who may or may not have been related, was visiting and washed the dishes.

Putting them away, she stacked the elegant glass cup inside the Love Mug. Try as we might, we could not pry them apart. We tugged and twisted, but were so afraid of breaking either piece that we gave up. I couldn’t bear to throw them out, so they lived here for the next twenty-five plus years.

It is both appropriate and a little poetic that the same person, without whom there would be no story, was also present for its unexpected conclusion.

A year or two ago, I rediscovered the inextricable pair in the back of the cupboard. I decided, once and for all, to mend it or end it. It was like asking a husband to choose between the life of the mother or the child, which is why I’d put it off for so long. I finally opted to save the heirloom glass, if possible, which was stuck inside the mug. I told that dear person, who shall remain unnamed, that I’d take a hammer to the mug, if necessary; if the glass were to break as well, so be it.

But I’ve learned a little grease applied judiciously can go a long way. We drizzled oil in between and pulled, hoping the glass would slide out. It did not.

We went back to simple lessons learned in high school science. Heat expands and cold contracts. While soaking the outside of the mug in boiling water, we filled the glass with ice water. Still the glass stuck tight. So it came down to the last resort. Holding the mug by the handle, I whacked it on the countertop, hoping it would shatter. Pop! Out came the glass, in perfect shape, and I had my morning coffee in the Love Mug.

There are several morals to this story.

First of all, no one can tease me any more for hanging on to the glass and the mug all those years. Pay attention to your instincts!

Secondly, you might actually learn something in science class that you can apply to real life (and don’t forget that bit about the grease.)

Thirdly, breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes you just reach a breaking point, where you need to mend it or end it.

Fourthly, once you try everything you can think of, try everything you can’t think of. Sometimes you have to try everything all at once. But if it’s something worth saving, it’s worth the effort.

Love is like that. Thank goodness.

All images and words c2014 Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

more than international…

more than international

pull apart
the fibers
of the soul
weave the strains
into strings
pull them
tight
against
a curved body
of wood
stroke them
with passion
now
that’s
jazz
or
you might
prefer
to create
a single sheet
of soul
the drum heads
that pound
like hearts
inside the breast
of mankind
now
that’s
jazz
but
maybe
you’d like to
compress them
into a reed
then
wet the reed
with life
making
the soul’s song
with fluttering fingers
now
that’s
jazz
oh
but some
of you
will want
to forge them
into metal
so you
can hear
gabriel’s horn
at your door
now
that’s
jazz
jazz
announcing
the presence
of god
playing bass
holding
the whole thing
together

Editorial Note: With this poem, The Bardo Group honores its own International Jazz Day. Jazz music began its evolution in the late nineteenth century the Southern United States with a combination of European harmony and African musical elements: improvisation, blue notes, syncopation, swing notes and polyrhythms. It has since developed in diverse directions and has been joyfully adopted by cultures the world over.

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1product_thumbnail.php41V9d9sj5nL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. Charlie’s lastest book, When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, a collaboration with River Urke, is available through Amazon now.

BARDO NEWS: SecondLight Network of Women Poets celebrates its 20th Anniversary; a Poetry Competition; A Bea in Your Bonnet; interNational Photography Month (wrap-up); 100,000 Poets for Change

Second Light Network Founder, Dilys Wood
Second Light Network Founder, Dilys Wood

SECOND LIGHT 20th ANNIVERSARY! The Bardo Group community extends to Second Light Network (women poets forty-years old or better) our best wishes, appreciation, and congratulations for its on-target focus, fine work and unrelenting commitment to poets, poetry, and to giving women in their third act a second chance. Special kudos to poet and founder, Dilys Wood, and all those who provide regular support to us here at The Bardo Group especially poets Myra Schneider who keeps us informed, provides us with wonderful poetry and instructive feature articles and Ann Stewart who so ably assists us with the details of coordination.

Jackie Kay (b. 1961), Scottish poet and novelist is the 2014 Second Light Network Long and Short poetry competion, photo by Slowking4 under CC A - Noncommercial Unported License
Jackie Kay (b. 1961), Scottish poet and novelist is judge for the 2014 Second Light Network Long and Short poetry competition, photo by Slowking4 under CC A – Noncommercial Unported License

SECOND LIGHT POETRY COMPETITION DEADLINE: TUESDAY 17th JUNE. Judge: Multi-award-winning JACKIE KAY. Long and Short Poems by Women. (‘Long’ = 50+ lines). 1st Prize £300 (in each category). More cash & book prizes + publication in ARTEMISpoetry + London reading. Enter by post or online.

Amongst Jackie Kay’s many poetry awards and prizes are the Forward, Saltire, Scottish Arts Council (for The Adoption Papers) and a shortlisting for Costa. She also writes award-winning fiction both for adults and children, and for stage and TV. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She was awarded an MBE in 2006, and made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002.

£300 First Prize for each of Long (no upper limit) and Short (max 50 lines) poems

£100 Second Prize (1 poem from either category)

£50 Third Prize (1 poem from either category)

Commended poets: book prizes

Winning & Commended Poets published (in full or extract) in ARTEMISpoetry

A reading will be organised for winners in London in Autumn 2014.

Entry: £6 each per long poem. Short poems: £4 each or £9 for 3, £14 for 8. Enter by post (2 copies) or online.

Complete details HERE. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALTHOUGH SECOND LIGHT NETWORK OF WOMEN POETS IS BASED IN ENGLAND, MEMBERSHIP IS OPEN WORLDWIDE AND SUBMISSIONS TO ARTEMISpoetry and to various anthologies and competitions are considered from women anywhere in the world. You do not need to be a member to submit your work to be considered for publication.

product_thumbnail-1.phpA BEA IN YOUR BONNET, FIRST STING: If Charlie Martin has felt his ears ringing this month, it’s probably because we’ve been reading – and talking about – his newest collection and are delighted with it. It was worth the wait. It’s filled with humor, irony and folksy wisdom.

Charlie says, “Bea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is a collection of germinal poems featuring Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea’s voice is one I’ve heard almost every day of my life. Family observations, lessons, and advice given to me and every other family member who had the good sense to listen. Her homespun philosophy most likely will not be found in any collegiate textbooks or for that matter in any local town crier newspaper catering to city dwellers. Indeed, she has a different way of viewing the world; a bit old fashion, sassy, and steely at times but a viewpoint which has engaged my imagination and heart. I sincerely hope you too will find some morsel of wisdom in her personal observations and interpretations of life’s events, but do watch out for her stingers.”

 

******

unnamed-17YOU BRING TO THE ACT OF PHOTOGRAPHY all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” Ansel Adams (1902-1984), American photographer and environmentalist

interNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY MONTH: We’ve spent a good portion of our May posts on photography in honor of this celebration. We’ve explored photography as art, journalism, documentary, story, creative outlet, means to enter sacred space and as spiritual practice. In case you’ve missed any of these delicious and sometime provocative posts, here are the links/subjects covered:

interNational Photography Month, join us in celebrating this art form, May 1

The Very Picture, a photo-essay/story by Naomi Baltuck, May 2

Sacred Space in the Frame, a Sunday meditation by Terri Stewart, May 4

St. Louis Arch, a meditation by Liz Rice-Sosne (a.k.a. Raven Spirit), May 5

Life is Like a Camera, May 9

Sacred Space in Photograph: Perspective, a Sunday meditation by Terri Stewart, May 11

Photographs “are made with the eye, heart and head.” French Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment, May 11

interNational Photography Month: Wordless Wednesday essay and event host, Prisciall Galasso, May 14

About My Friend, Wendy Alger, Fine Arts Photographer by Jamie Dedes, May 16

Sacred Space and Light, a Sunday meditation by Terri Stewart, May 18

Through a Lens Darkly: How African-Americans Use Photography to Shape Their Cultural Representation, May 18

Tempest in a Teapot, a photo essay/story by Naomi Baltuck, May 20

Travel Themes: Blossoms by Imelda de Castro-Santore, May 20

Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words by Steve McCurry, May 21

Expanding the Circle: The Engaged Photographer, May 22

Photoshopping My Life by Charles W. Martin

stalking the wild tombstone by Jamie Dedes, May 24

Sacred Space and Photography: Light v 2, a Sunday meditation by Terri Stewart

TIDBITS: Niamh Clune reports that she is  busy busy expanding  Plum Tree Books children’s division. Liz Rice-Sosne (noh where) and Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day) have both moved to new digs and are recuperating from exhausing work and the many complications (anticipated and unanticipated) that are always involved in such endeavors. Both will be back online more frequently soon, as will Liliana Negoi (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) who has been up to some truly interesting things, which we hope she’ll share with us.

and Golden Lens Awards to:

WRITER’S FOURTH WEDNESDAY/Coming up 28 May: Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by poet, novelist and writing coach, Victoria C. Slotto, from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on May 28. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog.If you find Mister Linky too combersom to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage.

cropped-100TPfCNEW3

Julio-Pavanetti-del-Liceo-Poético-de-Benidorm1-300x189THE BEST FOR LAST:

POETS AND ARTISTS OF EVERY ILK GATHER FOR POSITIVE CHANGE AROUND THE WORLD: As part of the planning process for 100,000 Poets for Change in Septermber, we are interviewing one of the founders of the event, Michael Rothenberg, poet, songwriter, editor and environmentalist. (Terri Carrion, poet, writer and photographer is the other founder.) We will complete the interview and deliver it here sometime in June. It’s a work in progress right now. The Bardo Group is officially partnered with 100,000 Poets for Change. We will sponsor a virtual event. Liz Rice-Sosne (noh where) hosts.

Thank you to all who share their extraordinary and diverse works here, to those who read and comment, and to those who spread the word and reblog posts. Thanks to the Core Team for their consistency, commitment, and professionalism. You rock!

In the spirit of peace, love and community,

THE BARDO GROUP

The Bardo Group, Facebook Page

bardogroup@gmail.com

Photo credits ~ all portraits belong to those whom they picture unless otherwise indicated; roses by Jamie Dedes, © 2014, All rights reserved; 100,000 Poets for Change banner belongs to that organization.

Sacred Space and Photography: Light v. 2

Sacred Space and Photography: Light v. 2

This month is interNational Photography month! Here, at The Bardo Group, we will be playing with this theme all month-long. On Sundays, we will be focusing on where the practice of photography intersects with our own experience and expression of spirituality.

Last week, I wrote about the symbolism in our religious traditions of light and used photography and light to show how we can point to something that transcends our understanding. Plato would say that the photo of sunset points towards the form of sunset—that perfected form of sunset-ness.

Plato’s Theory of Forms “described the common nature of all things in the world, not just of a table, for instance but of all the tables that ever were and ever will be. This Platonic form of the ideal table is eternal and changeless. It has an essential tableness, as it were, that exists whether the table is where you ate lunch in the school cafeteria or the one at a Paris café where you fell in love. In Plato’s famous allegory of the cave in “The Republic,” the things that we see on a daily basis, like the table in front of you, are merely shadows of the ideal form.” (https://www.archetypes.com/article/plato)

Any object can point towards the perfected idea of that object. And what we see in front of us is essentially a shadow of its ideal self (as no perfected form can be reached—saving this philosophical and theological discussion for another time!).

In photography, shadows are only achievable when there is light. Without light, no shadows. And sometimes, shadows can lead to beautiful pictures. When we handle shadows correctly.

Pointing Towards the Form of Tree by Terri Stewart
Pointing Towards the Form of Tree-ness
by Terri Stewart

And isn’t that true of life? We need to handle our own shadows correctly in order to have a more perfected life? Our shadows, like Plato’s cave, leave us living lives that are not quite ideal. Often, our shadow grows out of shame. Shame comes from unresolved trauma—something that we have not dealt with entirely. For me, shame is often connected to my body image. I remember, 30 years ago, sitting at the dinner table all of 5’3” and 120 pounds and being told, “No wonder I was fat.” And then crying into my plate. Logically, I know that 5’3” and 120 pounds was just fine. But that shame experienced at that moment is seared into my brain and I can recall the rush of tears that made me ashamed of my body. That feeds into self-sabotage of my embodied self in some ways and can lessen my general enjoyment of life unless I deal with it and learn to look at my shadow and bring it into the light!

I can use photography to examine both myself and my shadow. Selfies aren’t all selfish. You can use them to take photos of your shadow self, bringing yourself more and more into the light and into a fuller realization of our perfected selves.

Pointing Towards the Form of Terri-ness by Terri Stewart
Pointing Towards the Form of Terri-ness
by Terri Stewart

Someone said that photography is painting with light. It is also learning how to cope with shadows and darkness.  Do you have a shadow—in your photos? Can you peek into it and see how it points towards the fullness of life?

Shalom and Amen!

Post by Terri Stewart, 2014
Photography, CC License (CC BY-NC)

terriTerri Stewart ~ a member of our Core Team,  comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.

Her online presence is “CloakedMonk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts (photography, mandala, poetry) and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com,www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to terris@beguineagain.com

 

photoshopping my life…

honey
i wish i could convert
my life’s composite image
into one of those digital negatives
cause then
i could upload the whole thing into photoshop
and get busy fixing it
first thing i would do
is put you on the background layer of my life
so every layer of my life
would include you
that would clear up a hell of a lot
next i’d take that healing tool
and run it over my heart a couple times
maybe more
depending on which layer of my life i’m looking at
next i’d use that sharpening tool
on my head
just to clear up
some of life’s little mysteries
like how can kindness be used
as a weapon against you
and why do lies sound
better than the truth
and how can god not act
when soulless men kill his children
before they have even begun
to breathe in the beauty of  life
then i’d bring into focus
all the lies that have been told
so folks would see them
for what they are
i’d add a little color to some folks
just to have them feel
what i have felt
oh and of course
i would definitely
use the eraser
well honey
you know how
i
would
use
that

– Charles W. Martin

© 2014, illustration and photo, Charles W. Martin, All rights reserved

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. Charlie’s lastest book, When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, a collaboration with River Urke, is available through Amazon now.

product_thumbnail.phpCharlie’s long awaited Aunt Bea Collection is out. He says, “Bea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is a collection of germinal poems featuring Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea’s voice is one I’ve heard almost every day of my life. Family observations, lessons, and advice given to me and every other family member who had the good sense to listen. Her homespun philosophy most likely will not be found in any collegiate textbooks or for that matter in any local town crier newspaper catering to city dwellers. Indeed, she has a different way of viewing the world; a bit old fashion, sassy, and steely at times but a viewpoint which has engaged my imagination and heart. I sincerely hope you too will find some morsel of wisdom in her personal observations and interpretations of life’s events, but do watch out for her stingers.”

Expanding the Circle: The Engaged Photographer

In this video, photographer and Moving Walls exhibition co-curator Susan Meiselas, an American documentary photographer, discusses documentary photography’s potential to connect and move audiences by “expanding the circle of knowledge” about human rights and social justice issues.

The video also features a variety of work by photographers supported by the Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Project. The project funds photographers who go beyond documentation, using images to foster civic engagement, organizing, advocacy, outreach, public awareness education, and media attention.

Opening photograph: © Eric Gottesman

Words and video courtesy of Open Society

Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words

“The Synergy of Images and Words” from Steve McCurry, (b. 1950) American photojournalist. McCurry says, “If you wait people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view.”

McCurry’s work has been published widely with frequent credits in Vanity Fair and National Geographic. His most recent books are “The Iconic Photographs:” and “The Unguarded Moment.” In 1985 Houghton-Mifflin Company published his “The Imperial Way” with text by Paul Theroux.

Steve McCurry is a WordPress blogger as well as a world-class photographer.

Tempest in a Teapot

When my daughter Bea and I were in England, I took her to the picturesque little town of Rye.

 

Rye was a Cinque Port, charged in 1155 by Royal Charter to provide ships for the royal navy, and rewarded with tax-exempt status and other privileges.

Rye was situated on the coast until The Great Storm of 1287 silted the harbor, and transformed the coastal port into a river port, two miles inland.

The town’s history is colorful, with smuggling, and raids by and against the French, just across the Channel. It’s also said to be the most haunted town in England. There’s the ghost of the girl who fell in love with a smuggler and was murdered by him for her indiscretion.  Turkey Cock Lane is haunted by the ghost of the monk bricked up alive behind a wall for trying to elope with a local lass. The mysterious boy wrapped in a shroud, and a pair of duelers reenacting their last fatal sword fight are just a few of the ghosts who frequent The Mermaid Inn.   So many stories!

Every house has a story.   In Rye, as with everywhere else in England, they like to give their houses a name.  White Vine House was very pretty.

On a narrow cobbled lane called Mermaid Street stands The Mermaid Inn, which dates back to 1156.

 It was remodeled in anticipation of a visit from Queen Elizabeth I.  On a previous trip, I stayed at The Mermaid in a room with a plaque on the door boasting that the Queen Mum had once spent the night in that very room.  I think I can truthfully say I have slept in the same bed, looked out the same window and, at least for a little while, sat on the same throne as Queen Elizabeth II’s mum!

The Mermaid Inn was so famous that the house across the street was known simply as “The House Opposite.”

 

We discovered an unusual house, with two front doors.  The owners called it, “The House With Two Front Doors.”  (Well, of course, they did!)  They even had the name painted on it in shiny gold paint.

The neighbors who lived next to The House With Two Front Doors also had a house with one distinguishing feature, a bench built into one side of the porch.  Maybe they thought the neighbors were getting too high and mighty, with their spiffy gold-painted signs and their highfalutin name.  In what seems a clear case of one downmanship, they too gave their house a name, and put up their own sign to let passersby know they were looking at “The House With the Seat.”

I want to know all the stories–big ones like The Great Storm that changed the whole coast of England overnight, compelling but heartbreaking ones like the Mary Stanford Lifeboat Disaster, in which the entire heroic rescue crew was drowned in a storm, trying to save survivors of a shipwreck who had already been saved.  Some of my favorite tales are the Tempests in the Teapots.  Those you won’t find in tour guides or history books, but you might be fortunate enough to stumble upon one.  A local told us stories about watching the filming of Cold Comfort Farm in Rye.  Afterwards we took afternoon tea in the teahouse where one scene was filmed.

Stories live all around us. Some fall into our lap like ripened fruit from a tree.  Others are hiding in nooks and crannies, waiting to be ferreted out.  Often we are left to speculate over the missing details–not unlike trying to read tea leaves in the bottom of the tea cup.  Who hid in the priest hole over the fireplace at The Mermaid Inn?  Who was left to mourn the seventeen lads lost in the Mary Stanford disaster?  Do the occupants of The House With Two Front Doors and those of The House With the Seat ever sit down together for a cup of tea?

All images and words c2013 by Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

Through a Lens Darkly: How African-Americans Use Photography to Shape Their Cultural Representation

Another post in our celebrations of interNational Photography Month.

Sacred Space and Photography: Light

This month is interNational Photography month! Here at The Bardo Group, we will be playing with this theme all month-long. On Sundays, we will be focusing on where the practice of photography intersects with our own experience and expression of spirituality.

In my journey with photography, I have become more aware of light. The presence of light, the absence of light, how it causes reflection, my friend, Paul Jeffrey, told us once that he always turns the flash off, taking advantage of natural light. (I’m sure the rule is “almost always.”) I find that in photographing nature, that I try to stick to that rule and rely on photo-editing software to help me out if I need it. He also taught us how to make a faux tripod to steady ourselves when our shutter speed is taking just a little bit too long.

Light is a dominant theme in religious traditions also.

  • Christianity: “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5),
  • Islam: “Knowledge makes you free from the chains of ignorance, and revives your heart, knowledge takes you out from the darkness of suspicions and superstitions, and gives a new light to your eyes. (Hazrat Abu Ali Saqfi)
  • Judaism: “I will say to the prisoners, ‘Go free!’ and to those who are in darkness, ‘Come out to the light!’ (Isaiah 49:9)
  • Buddhism: “Doubt everything. Find your own light.” (Gautama Buddha)
  • Hinduism: “One who kindles the light of awareness within gets true light.” (Unattributed)
  • Baha’i: “Grant that the light of unity may envelop the whole earth.” (Bahá’u’lláh)

The general thrust is that light is a metaphor for that which brings us to a higher consciousness or awareness, provides hope, guidance, and love. It is a beautiful thing when, through appropriate use of light, we can communicate a deeper exploration of these qualities—awareness of what is unseen, hope, love, beauty—a very real reflection of life. And sometimes, light lets you see something in a different way.

My favorite picture that I’ve ever taken of one of my children captures light and it seems, to me, to convey innocence and an essential quality of “child” that is so easy to forget. This is an old photo, by the way! And the picture isn’t perfect, but it still conveys a lightness of being that transcends the particular quality of the photo.

by Terri Stewart CC License (BY-NC)
by Terri Stewart
CC License (BY-NC)

How do the following pictures and their use of light point to something beyond the images captured in the photo?

Light Collage by Terri Stewart
Light Collage
by Terri Stewart

What do thoughts of light lead you to? Do you have a favorite photo that features light or the absence of light?

 

Shalom and Amen!

Post by Terri Stewart, 2014
Photography, CC License (CC BY-NC)

terriTerri Stewart ~ a member of our Core Team,  comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.

Her online presence is “CloakedMonk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts (photography, mandala, poetry) and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com,www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com.

 

 

About my friend, Wendy Alger, Fine Art Photographer

WENDY ALGER (b. 1972), Chicago, IL, U.S.A.

Fine Art Photography

“Photography. It’s like music … It’s like your favorite song, something you can listen to over and over and over again. You try to explain it to some and you can’t. That’s the feeling it gives me. It’s like traveling and you want to tell everyone how great it was … and I have that experience every time I pick up a camera.” Wendy Alger

My friend, Wendy Alger, is a talented photographer, now still active though legally blind. Wendy pursued the craft of photography as a hobby until another friend of hers suggested that she become a photographer. Wendy thought that sounded just right and a natural thing to do since both her parents were photography enthusiasts. Wendy’s dad supported her new goal and gave her one of his cameras and some lenses. And so the story begins …

At the time when this adventure started, Wendy owned an old ’68 Mustang. She’d drive around, listening to music. When something called out to her, she’d stop and take photographs. Thus Wendy began to learn what subjects appealed. “I photographed everything that felt right and compelled me to keep taking photographs.” Slowly, she discovered the artful photographer within and her own distinctive style. “I enrolled at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and trained there, where I learned manual SLR. I also learned how to use a dark room.”

I am always surprised and delighted with the remarkable results Wendy manages despite the limitations of her sight due to retinitis pigmentosa. Quite a bit older than Wendy, I cut my own photo visionings using a Brownie and have not graduated much beyond that. My camera is digital, but it’s just a simple budget-wise P.H.D. (Push Here Dummy) camera.  Wendy, however, uses newer, better quality and more complex equipment than mine and tells me that these newer technologies facilitate the practice of her craft.  “I use a digital camera and I can check my pictures on the camera instead of in a dark room. Nowadays, my darkroom is a laptop, Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom. This allows me to transform and print my images at home. I also use visual memory … I remember feeling to get through a photo session.”

Wendy’s long-term goal:

“To have my artwork displayed in the same building as Walker Evans in my lifetime – not after – during! My vision problems are not stopping me. I never even think about that. After I was diagnosed and as soon as I got the money I bought my digital camera.”

Here is a small gallery of Wendy’s recent work with a digital camera. The photo at the head of the post and the first one below are self-portraits. Wendy’s photographs are copyright protected. You can see more of her work HERE. She’s now in the process of updating her site.

– Jamie Dedes

© photographs, 2011 Wendy Rose Alger, All rights reserved

Photo on 2014-03-31 at 17.16 #3kif_0858-1JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day)~ I am a medically retired (disabled) elder and the mother of a married son. The graces of poetry, art, music, writing and reading continue to evolve as a sources of wonder and solace, as creative outlets, and as a part of my spiritual practice. My Facebook pages are: Jamie Dedes (Arts and Humanities) and Simply Living, Living Simply.

The photograph to your right, Portrait of a Photographer, which some will recognize as the photo I used for Wordless Wednesday, is a portrait of Wendy. I guess it might be more correct to say it’s a portrait of the camera not the photographer, though it was meant to capture the spirit in which Wendy works. I took the photograph some years ago when we spent an afternoon at Union Cemetery in Redwood City, Wendy pursuing art and me as chauffeur and tag-along doing the best I could. My own portrait here is a selfie captured using the photo feature on my MacBook. Happy interNational Photography Month.

interNational Photography Month: Wordless Wednesday

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”  So said sources from the early 20th century, and advertising and marketing departments were quick to adopt this maxim.  Images became icons; symbols got recognition and replicated themselves.  In our viral age, this happens in a nanosecond.  We are bombarded with so many images in a day that we simply filter out most of them.  Junk mail, pop-ups, video clips and trademarks pass in and out of our field of vision at an alarming rate. 

When was the last time you looked at an image for more than 10 seconds?  When was the last time you stood in a museum or gallery in front of an image for more than 10 minutes?  Was that image a photograph? 

Suppose we create a virtual photographic museum here on Bardo.  Share with us a photo that you have taken that will draw us into some full minutes of contemplative focus.  It may be a photograph that tells an entire story in itself.  It may be a place to which we’re drawn, compelled to step into the frame.  It may be a portrait of a face that speaks volumes of stories.  (What’s interesting to note is that we, like infants, will look long into the faces of people, especially those to whom we feel strongly connected.) Perhaps one of these photographs will inspire a story or essay in the writers amongst us for a future time….for now, let it be wordless.  Here are some from my collection to “prime the pump”.

 

YOU ARE INVITED TO SHARE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS WITH US.

PLEASE LINK THEM TO THIS SITE USING MISTER LINKY BELOW

OR LEAVE THE LINK IN THE COMMENTS SECTION

THE LINK WILL STAY OPEN FOR 72 HOURS AND PRISCILLA WILL VISIT AND COMMENT

WE HOPE YOU WILL ALSO VISIT ONE ANOTHER TO COMMENT AND ENCOURAGE

004PRISCILLA GALASSO ~ started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey.

Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She gives private voice lessons, is employed by two different museums and runs a business (Scholar & Poet Books, via eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.

Photographs “are made with the eye, heart and head.” French Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cartier-Bresson’s, The Decisive Moment, the 1952 US edition of Images à la sauvette. The book contains the term “the decisive moment” now synonymous with Cartier-Bresson:

“There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.”

“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), French photograph said to be the father of photojournalist