12 Four Hands, One Heart

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything here.  I see by my last post, that this will be somewhat of a variation on a theme, which wasn’t my intent.  Call it an update on my life after a year or a bit more of trying to put this into practice in my life.

As I look back on the past year+ since I did post, it has been miraculous, to put a name on it.  While I am certainly not a perfect paragon of gratitude, it’s the first thing I’ve committed to doing consistently in some time.  The results have been rather astounding.

First of all, the one thing I’ve noticed about it, is that it becomes like a cascade reaction…one thing leading into several others.  For an example, finding inspiration through the actions and attitudes of others in ways you might not expect.  I have a friend who is dying of cancer, which would make one would think I should be sad about it.  I am.  On the other hand, I am finding inspiration from his positive attitude, despite what he is facing.  I won’t even attempt to speak for him here, but it seems that he has found his own reasons for being grateful, certainly due to his point of view as his life, at least as he knows it, about to be over.  While I hate the fact that I may never see him in this world again, I’m certainly happy for his transformation, and his spirit, which will never die. Though as we’ve said already to each other, this isn’t goodbye, just ‘see you later’.

I’ve tried putting myself in his situation, and asked myself if I could still be able to express gratitude.  I suppose it’s kind of an intellectual exercise, because I’m not in that situation.  I want to be able to say yes, I could.  I probably won’t know, at least for some time whether I can answer that question in the affirmative.  On the other hand, I can take comfort in the fact that he is going out as the warrior he has always been, and Valhalla will be better for it.

On the opposite extreme… well I’ve been single for a very long time.  By choice really, as I won’t be with someone just to have someone in my life.  This is how divorce happens.  I can tell you a bit about that, as I have earned that particular T-shirt in life.  That is, as they say, a closed chapter in my life.  The old adage, ‘when you stop looking is when you find The One’ has probably never been so true as it has become recently for me.  Honestly, I was quite content with my single person status.  My life is pretty amazing, with a great job, lots of free time and many amazing friends who are all very important to me.  The funny thing about gratitude, is that it leaves room in your life for better things to come your way.  About the time I was thinking to myself…”Self, you really have a pretty good life don’t you?”, the Universe of course, just laughs because it has other plans.   The thing is, they manifest more quickly if you leave room for them.  Gratitude does that.

Well, along comes…someone, who shall remain nameless on this blog, but those of you who know me, know who that is already.  What I haven’t said about him, is how much he complements me (no, not compliment, though he does that too), how much of like mind he and I are, and how different we also are that makes it more interesting.  Not even sure if I can put the rest into words that won’t drive  you all into a frenzy of searching for insulin and a toothbrush to avoid cavities… so I won’t try.  I knew the second I laid eyes on him (which was some time after we talked forever about everything) that I Knew.  He’ll be reading this at some point, so all I will say is that I love you very much.

So much for my old life. Things are changing, and I couldn’t be happier.  I was sort of afraid that I wouldn’t be suitable for anyone after being single for so long.  Well, I left that particular gap in my life unfilled, and yet by remaining grateful for what I did have, the Universe decided that wasn’t good enough.  I’m embracing the changes, and looking forward to what is to come.  He’s just amazing and for that I am eternally grateful for whatever powers brought us together.  We should all be so fortunate.

I need to give credit to Steve Walker, an artist unknown to me, for the picture in this blog post, the title of which is Four Hands, One Heart.  Wherever you are Steve, thank you for putting what I am feeling into this image.


Heisenberg may have slept here…


“Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.” — Sir Arthur Eddington (English Astronomer)

I see by the timeline here, that it’s been longer than I had hoped between posts.  I blame myself.  So much spinning around in my fevered little brain, that I’ve been a bit distracted.

The above quote popped into my head the other day.  I wanted to blog something related, but I promptly forgot it, as I am wont to do when life gets in the way.  Back it popped today, so I wrote it down right quick…

Having said that, this may end up being some free form blather as I don’t really know why this tickled my writing reflex, but it has so here we go.

I guess I’ve been contemplating a lot lately on…life in general I guess for the purpose of brevity.  The corollary to the above quote is something I and many others have used…”That’s so weird I couldn’t possibly have made it up”, when something or other pegs the needle on their Wierd Sh**-O-Meter.

Maybe it’s just me being Mr. Cosmic, but I am finding profound thoughts lately in seemingly insignificant events.  Without getting all mysterious, let’s just say, I’ve been compelled lately to start writing what will no doubt be a difficult to write tome about some of the spiritual influences, events, and compelling forces in my life, approximately.  I generally don’t discuss my personal belief system with others, as it’s one of those ‘taboo’ subjects, along with politics.  If you’re inclined to rage and express anger toward people who don’t follow traditional Judeo-Christian philosophy…best close this down now.  Flames will be cheerfully not approved.

Having said that, far be it from me to tell someone else what or how they should believe, if anything.  I find that presumptuous, and frankly insulting.  The paths of our lives are as unique as the individual, and one persons experiences or hard won wisdom may only apply to them.

My own life experience has led me to a point in my life where I have begun to actually understand or intuit (as opposed to just ‘know intellectually’) that nothing happens randomly or by accident.  Now, I’m not talking about stubbing your toe and making a cosmic incident out of it (sorry, just simple cause and effect here.  Put on some dam shoes), but I mean actual events in your life.  New jobs, new relationships, and the like.  The big stuff.  These mean something.

There are those who would argue that they planned for that to happen because they sought out a new job, or a particular person to pursue.  Sure.  If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.  Far be it from me to be a fatalist either.  If our entire lives are pre-ordained from cradle to grave, then why bother getting out of bed in the morning, right?  Though I admit there are days when that has a certain appeal.

Most/many people live their lives like a cork on a lake, driven by currents and waves, and accepting what comes with little question and even less insight as to ‘why’.  When you set your feet on a path of understanding life, the universe and everything, strange things start happening.  It’s as if we accelerate karma to some degree.  Changes happen faster.  As our understanding of ‘whatever this is’ we are doing here, it starts happening faster.

There’s a lot more to this, trust me.  I’m just hitting the surface of the highlights.  I’m also not here to tell you how to do this.  How should I know that?  It’s your life,  you figure it out, I’m having quite enough problems with my own, thank you very much.  To put it the way Brian did in the movie “The Life of Brian”, “Don’t let anyone else tell you what to do.  You’ve got to figure it all out for yourself”.  Of course, the crowd that started following him was perfectly content to allow him to ‘lead’ them, despite his pleading with them.  It’s a very funny movie really, and despite how you may feel about it’s irreverence, it brings up a whole plethora of issues about religion, self governance, introspection, as well as how to be a member of a crack suicide squad.

When will this book be written you ask?  It’s an excellent question that I continue to ask myself.  I continue to be mentally and intellectually daunted by the project that came flying out of the ether to slap my brain like a wet fish.  But you readers of this blog will be the first to know.  Or maybe the second, depending on where you are in the pecking order of my friends.  Being surrounded by writers in my group of zanies, I fear they have corrupted me into this path.  There will be hell to pay upon you, unless this turns out to be easier than I think it will.  I hold little hope for that at the moment.

Now that I’ve spilled the beans, sort of, I feel a bit more like I’ve committed myself to this path.  The thing is, writing, although I love the idea of it, is almost physically painful to me…until I get started.  Then things sort of start to flow.  It’s the starting that is difficult.  Just like setting your feet on the path of self discovery I suppose.  It’s beset by a lot of psychic bruising until you get your sea legs under you.  Well, it’s still a difficult path even then, but you sort of get used to the abuse heaped up on you by the Universe I suppose.  It’s really for our own good you know.

22 million btu’s and a dog

Every year Colorado Springs hosts a balloon festival over Labor Day weekend.  You’d think as a photographer I would be there every year.  Events have conspired to keep me from being there, including events completely under my control.  My friend Brian and I actually were in town at the same time, and oddly enough, he’s another photographer who hasn’t been able to photograph this event.  We finally made it.  There is a ‘balloon glow’ that occurs on Saturday and Sunday nights, where the pilots set up their big gas bags (no small feat) and light the burners, causing their balloon’s to sit upright, and in the darkness illuminate them brilliantly from within.  Quite a spectacular sight, and something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  We learned a few things, this being our first time.  Images like this are somewhat cliche, but neither of us had anything that we could call OUR cliche images, but now we do.  One of the pilots, a friendly gent, invited Brian and I into his balloon just before firing up the burners, which he explained give off about 22 million btu’s of heat.  It feels a bit like standing next to 5 really large bonfires.  Or as Brian said, about the temperature of one of his dogs on the bed at night.  As far as we know, we are the only ones that had been invited to shoot inside any flying balloon (there was a non flyer set up for that purpose there) as walking on the fabric eventually breaks it down and it can  no longer fly.  This particular pilot is a representative of one of the balloon manufacturers.  We were honored.  His balloon is pictured above.

As you can see, the balloon glow is self descriptive and a favorite of the crowd.  We managed to get a lot of pretty good images of this one, although as I said, we learned a lot and next year, if we are in town, will be better photographically for us.  At least we hope.  No tripods were abused in the making of these images by the way.  Just good  timing with the burners and a steady hand, along with cameras that perform well at high ISO settings.

Apparently the balloon company rep has a substantial budget for propane, as he was allowing people to pose in his basket for photos (yes, that’s real wicker too) while he would light up his burner.  Again, dog temperature, even though it was aimed straight up into the air.  He was gracious enough to pose for me as well, so I told him I would post this portrait of him.  Quite a character and quite a spokesman and diplomat for the sport of hot air ballooning.

Hope your Labor Day weekend was fun and safe.

Conspiracy theorists unite

No, I don’t think the horses are out to get me, although these three did appear to be up to something.

I have to say, I’m sick.  Sick to death of this election year already.  My personal policy is not to post political stuff.  It’s divisive, no one will admit they are biased (yes, we are, all of us!) and it just causes so much vitriol amongst humans who during a particularly hard time in our history, need to be getting along better instead of fighting over which candidate is the prettiest.

So I had to get out of the house yesterday.  Well, I try to do this anyway when I am home just to try to grab a few photos.  The last few days I’ve been trying to get some nice sunsets, but…meh.  So in the spirit of “meh”…I decided it was time for my usual approach.  Just go out and ‘see’.  This place I go out to hardly ever disappoints me, and even though I am limited to staying on the road, the surrounding countryside is rich with subjects.  I got introduced to these guys last time I was out there, and they didn’t disappoint this time either.  Not sure what it is about this particular group of horses, but they are full of personality, especially the one on the right.  They are very curious, as are most horses.  But they really appear to love to perform in front of the camera.  Because I was actually ready with my camera this time, I got this shot that lasted… oh about 1/800th of a second.  As soon as I hit the shutter, they all sort of turned to look at each other, and began their little performance.

Needless to say, I felt much better for having gone out and done something constructive/creative/whatever.  Honestly, I don’t know what’s going to become of us, our country, our way of life.  I also don’t feel like I have much control over it.  But I can still go out and make photographs that make me happy, if no one else.

But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the horses aren’t out to get you. 😉  I’ll leave you with that thought, as well as one last image.