Category Archives: photograph

Memory Lost


A first for me on Saturday while walking up in the snow near Grasemere. Crampons! Wild looking devices and clearly they can do damage to both self and other when out of control. Not surprised to hear wearing them or not, needing them or not is a matter of debate when approaching snow. Perhaps that’s because they are ‘work’ to fix  onto the boot. Who knows. We watched a group making their way up to Fairfield, one chap used crampons a couple of others traction devices (mini spikes) and the majority stayed with ‘raw boot’!

I am reminded of being in Edmonton over ten years ago now. Snow, the sound of snow as boot lowers and raises. The quality of sound with varied ones according to the quality of snow and the temperature too. Do those memories sew my life together to make it a continuing story? Or are they simply snap shots stored away. A thread of a person moving through life. Yes, obviously. And in another sense she of five days ago, has died.

I’m thinking particularly about those who are suffering from memory loss, short-term memory loss which is so distressing and dimmed long-term memory too. I see on the face of those I visit the deep anguish in them as they struggle with, or give up on, their encounter with the outside world. Why is it you have come? she said. Are you giving a lecture here? Why are you here? No answer will satisfy because it’s forgotten instantly.

Errm, this reads a bit ‘random’. Happens to the best of us. Merit to those with random thoughts who are no longer able to string their life together. At all.

Watching Paint Dry – Watching Beached Seals

Wait a moment! That light house is for sale. Nope, that was back in 2013. Sorry. I’d imagine living in a light house is as close as one can get to living on a boat – at sea.

Light House South Walney Island, Lancashire.

Ah. On Wednesday a brisk walk out to South Walney Island where there is a Nature Reserve – lots of birds and some seals. There was a brisk wind and sand dunes underfoot, eyes pealed for seals. And the seals had their eyes on us, bobbing up and down in the water sailing along keeping pace as we walked towards the light house. This is as wild as you can get, and remote too, hanging on the edge of Morecombe Bay. I’d an idea to go and look at the seals pulled up onto the beach however at high tide they waft and play in the water, which was entertaining. Their ease of movement is pleasing to watch. Then this morning I found there is a live webcam trained on the seals and there they are pulled up on the beach. Bit like watching paint dry! Not much action however lovely to see them.

I’d driven to Walney Island to visit a long time sangha member and it was so good to see her and to walk out in the wind. We paused by the sea to remember her mother who loved the area. Lots of photographs and information can be found in this post on Tammy’s Tour Guide. I’ll be back for a look around the site for more wild places to visit.

Thanks to Betty for your company. Always good to connect.

Wrinkling Skin Bag

Behold!
The Undying One
Walking, wailing,
Crying, laughing,

Enclosed with this
Wrinkling Skin Bag
Think to abandon?
Think not!

This is for a monk who is approaching a juncture in monastic training. And if the words seem slightly familiar I’ve taken the last few lines of a well known poem and reworked them. Song of the Grass-Roof Hut. Considerably!

When ‘Winds’ are too Favorable

Morecambe Bay – Jenny Brown point path, Silverdale.

When Danger
Encircles you,
Show yourself
Steadfast and
undaunted,
But when the winds
are too favorable,
fail not to show
wise caution and
haul in the billowing sail.
Horace

Oh how easy it is to run when the wind is at your back. To break out into a run, so to speak, when a steady, steadfast, enduring walking-on would be wisest all around.

The Indestructible You

When all around is falling trees
to run?
to hide?
to freeze to the spot?

Life threatening
circumstances?
RUN! HIDE! STOP STILL!
Obviously

Within fear
there is that
Which cannot
be destroyed

The photograph was sent to me by a friend in Oregon.
I wanted to share a photo with you which is my reminder to remain still. I had 3 large trees hit my roof in December during a particularly harsh ice storm (they’re saying the worst in 50 years) and after they were removed from the house, my back yard was pretty much demolished. And yet here’s Buddha, sitting still in the middle of it!

Yes, Buddha images have a way of reminding the beholder of immovability and by extension indestructibility. And it isn’t just because a Buddha statue isn’t going to physically move anyway! They seem to reflect back a Truth about ourselves which lies just below everyday consciousness. There are many ways to talk about this however talk will not make it real. Even sitting still physically oneself,  in formal meditation, most likely will not confirm this truth in your own mind. Although it can be confirmed for those who are in hugely vulnerable circumstances. (More on that another time.)

What does bring this deeper truth to the surface is AFTER  pulling through something which you thought would destroy you. Grief can be like that. Unbelievable physical or mental pain can be like that. And having your home nearly destroyed can be like that. My correspondent wrote: Of course, I am also grateful for my many years of Buddhist practice, which has helped me to deal with the stress of the consequences of the storm and the continuing wintry weather we’re having.

I’d like to say that the The indestructible You is ever-present, in all circumstances,  you don’t need to manufacture or conjure up something more than you are already. I’m reminded of when I was walking (scrambling) along Sharp Edge with my walking companion, back in the glory days of late summer. Reflecting on the climb he remarked I didn’t appear that scared. I was! But somehow I was able to remain reasonably composed in the midst of testing physical circumstances. Call it survival instinct, call it what you like.

Up there on an arm of Blencathra  that which is ever-present PROVED  present. That’s the case too for the ordinary every-day of the very ordinary week – we just don’t notice. Which is just as well.