a brilliant day

 

V8.4984

 

a brilliant day

mountains, flowers, lakes

 

then a red truck pulls out blind

 

no time for thought,

tires screaming on hot blacktop,

the car sliding, too fast, too fast,

no room

 

a white face in the window

a man turning, surprised

 

we bear down, burning fifty

to zero in thirty feet and somehow

we slide right,

rock to a stop

just

short

 

the whole thing flashes faster than thought

 

the face glares at me,

slams his truck across traffic

and disappears

 

we look at each other

seemingly fine

no harm, no foul?

 

driving home, my right arm

shakes like current

sizzling in a frayed wire

 

in the dark garage

I close my eyes,

the hot engine ticking down in silence

 

 

our lives continue

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

beyond reason

IMG_7193-2

 

beyond reason

 

the arthritic fingers of winter are relentless,

crushing into ice in the dark

all that had dared to soften

in the light of lengthening day.

 

pain and release, punishment

and care — each

are necessary.

 

we could never have designed this,

these alternating forces shaping the hands

that sculpt this world

 

into a beauty beyond intellect

 

into a heaven beyond reason.

 

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

laughter and tears

oldbones

 

laughter and tears

 

we were once shiny, undented.

had baby after baby with limitless

perfect futures. we had answers, speed

and never enough time. we

were accelerating. last night

fall came to this mountain,

the face of the grey man

peering through the glass. this morning

we sit beneath a weakening sun

the leaves blowing about our feet

like so many small broken things.

your hand is warm in mine, and just so

am I blessed — so little survives

beyond laughter and tears.

darkness falls.

the trees across the river

draw down their blood in silence,

brace themselves for winter.

 

© 2019 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

shining, brilliant, bright and free

we lost a friend this week, Wendy Chioji, who died after a long battle with cancer. She modeled how to approach the end with humor, courage and grace. This was written on the morning I heard of her passing.  For Wendy….

sunset yosemite valley 1840-2

 

shining, brilliant, bright and free

 

she died last night, which of course

is impossible, her eyes, that laugh

and, of course, her smile.

there’s a shadow-shaped hole

in the sun this morning – I close my eyes

and imagine her nearing the end

growing smaller as the tumors

tip the balance. can see her drawing

each difficult breath, shallowing, thinning

into shadow. can see her turning

to face a light only she can see.

can see her smile, of course, see her draw

one long unfettered breath, see her

shimmering now into light, becoming wind

rising through the bright leaves of autumn

like a star, like a smile, like a season

unto herself — shining, brilliant, bright

and free.

 

© 2019 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

 

 

perfectly framed

 

perfectly framed

 

this largely unconscious brain

forever striving to filter

the tsunami of perceptions–

 

wave upon wave of sight,

sound, taste, touch and smell—

the editor, driven to impose

 

some measure of order. everything

is continually arising, always

until you stop, as if someone

 

is whispering your true name —

the rope snaps and you plummet

headlong into the space at the heart

 

of all of this – and suddenly,

its right there –the essence

perfectly framed, the very picture

 

of grace

 

 

photo- summit of Solitude Mountain Resort, December 7, 2018

 

© 2018 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

 

Why do you do that?

plenty of fish

 

For the last couple of years, I’ve written here on Oldbones and posted photos on a couple of other sites. These all began as a bit of a dare, a challenge to myself to show more and to protect less. And while the response from those who’ve generously taken the time to read, view and comment has been encouraging, maybe the most frequent question I get is “why don’t you promote yourself more, get your stuff out there…”

Why indeed. Why not inflate the social media balloon, get the “like” machine going, chase a “following?” Well, maybe it’s because my stuff isn’t as good as the work from others with 10,000 followers. Not really mine to say.

But more to the point, maybe that’s not why I make images and write.

The other day I had a conversation about this with a friend of mine, Buddhist teacher and author Ken McLeod (unfetteredmind.org) Ken has written a lot on his unfettered mind blog and elsewhere about the pervasiveness of the exchange mentality of our culture.  This is the mindset where you don’t do anything without an expectation of somehow getting paid. In running a business or working by the hour, this makes all the sense in the world.  Time, after all, is money (isn’t it?) The problem arises, however, when we extend that need for payback outside the marketplace.

This comes up often around meditation and practice, where the most common question I get is “what do you get out of it?” There was a time when I might have had a pretty crisp answer to that – “I’m so much calmer/saner/centered…” But the longer I practice, the less I have to say about it.  I know that my practice gave me my heart back, a heart that I’d somehow misplaced in that same marketplace I refer to above. Not really a payment, but pretty rich nonetheless. How that happened exactly and where it goes from here, well I’m less clear about that. Nor, frankly, do I care anymore.

I shared with Ken that when I even think about “promoting” my images, my chest gets tight. While I love it when someone really connects with one of my images, I couldn’t care less about selling them (and I say this with all respect for  the professional photographers who look to feed their families by it, that’s a different situation.) But over and over again, this is the encouragement I get.

Ken cut to the heart of the matter- “that’s not why you take pictures – you do it to find a deeper connection.” And as I’ve considered it, I see that he’s right — connection to this heart, to this world, and through sharing the images, to others, in the hope that they can touch the same or a similar experience. To touch beauty. A cliche to be sure, but then when did connecting with beauty become trivial?

My friend Sally referred the other day to my “vision.” Yikes- do I even have one? Yeah, on reflection I think I do, both with respect to my photographs and my poetry. It is, as Ken says, about exploring a deeper connection. It’s not about selling or followers or likes.

In the next couple of days, I plan to relaunch my photo site. My aspiration is that you might find a measure of beauty there. The invitation will be to linger a bit and see, sort of an anti-instagram.

Oh, and nothing there is for sale…..

 

wet dogs

foot

 

maybe mornings like this

are the price we pay

for all those years of compromise

of being barely close enough

to each other. We’ve survived,

at least we share that, such a thin

blanket to cover the cold spots

on cold mornings such as this.

Yet I do like grey winter days

when the wind rattles the leafless trees

and the world turns without shadows.

heading out, my dog looks daggers

up at the clouds — he doesn’t understand

the rain, why he should have to endure

these cold tears falling from a sheet metal sky.

Neither of us has ever been very good

with cause and effect, or the subtle attributes

of time. What choice is there but to carry on,

as we always have, sniffing at the rotten snow

heads down, shaking ourselves dry, nose

to tail as we go – just cold, wet dogs

searching for a place

that’s safe and warm and dry.

 

© 2016 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com