Tag Archives: Oregon

LET THE FEELING BE LOVE

Couple on the Beach, Waldport, OR

All you need is love.
~ John Lennon (October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980)

The deluge of news about acts of terror at home and around the world makes it easy to believe that danger lurks behind every door, that we are not safe, and that we must then be wary of everyone who is different from us. Otherness becomes a defense for fear and suspicion, which hardens into irrational beliefs that lead us to act out against innocent people. Closed doors, hearts, and minds are the enemy of life.

It is a dangerous progression. And the media, in reporting the rhetoric of hate, further deepens ignorance and extremism.

I’ve written before about the power of words and how they affect seeing.

Clarity of vision demands a receptive, compassionate heart, free of labels and preconceptions.

So let the feeling be love.

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A Roll Full of Jellies

Moon Jellies

The Moon Jellyfish exhibit at the Oregon Coast Aquarium occupies an acrylic cylinder eight feet in diameter. Jellies are thought to have undulated their way across ancient seas over 500 million years ago. Photo © Jane Alynn

While in Newport, we visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It still amazes me that I, a Portland native who spent a lot of time on the coast, had never been to this aquarium before. The exhibits were extraordinary. The sea creatures, their shapes and colors, the way they moved and negotiated their underwater environments, were spellbinding. I was equally taken with the children who were viewing and interacting with these creatures in their world. The curiosity, attention, and wonder of these children was a good reminder for the way we need to be in the world at large.

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14 Days, Many Lessons

Sucker Creek

Sucker Creek meanders along the Oregon Caves Highway.

Almost immediately after leaving for places unknown with our twenty-nine foot travel trailer (and with our less-than-expert towing experience) I figured out that this would not be the relaxed journey I had first imagined. Not right away anyhow. Traffic through Seattle was congested and abysmally slow. The hitch groaned incessantly. By the time we reached the Maytown Rest Area, south of Olympia, where we had agreed to meet up with our friends and travel partners, I was a wreck.

Since it was late in the day, we hauled ourselves, dazed with heat and stress, into our home-on-wheels and stayed the night. Squeezed in among the semi-trailer trucks, big rigs whose engines thundered through the entire night, the idea of sleep seemed absurd. We wondered what was to come.

Because we didn’t plan an itinerary, parking our trailer each night became a game of chance. One time in the Humboldt Redwoods we had gotten ourselves into a difficult spot, and it was getting late. There was only one campground in the area, Dean Creek Resort. I called and asked the woman who answered the phone whether she might have a site available for a twenty-nine foot trailer. There was a long pause.

”Do you have reservations?”

”No.”

“No reservations?”

“No.”

“No reservations… on a Friday night?”

“No.”

“No reservations… on a Friday night… in the middle of summer?”

It did not sounding promising. She chuckled, and I thought she was ribbing me for my naïvety.

But then she surprised me. “My computer is slow and I’m just stalling,” she said. “Oh, wait. Here. We have a really nice one for you.”

We were lucky this time. And our luck held out for the rest of the trip. But gambling always has an uncertain outcome, and we could have found ourselves stranded just as easily.

Back home after fourteen days on the road we reflected on our trip. Despite the trials, both of us agreed it ended up being very full of beautiful, intimate, funny, and strange moments. I spent far less time with my camera than I normally would have, but made peace with that, finding joy in simply being out in the wilderness with friends, preparing meals together, sharing stories. And learning the many lessons of this new mode of travel that is “trailering”:

1.    Planning is not a bête noire to wandering. Wandering, not being fixed on expectations or outcome, is good practice for creativity. However, setting out with a travel plan is no different than tuning an instrument or attuning the eye before a photo session. Preparation is necessary for creating magic.
2.    A rolling stone gathers no moss. Staying in one place for awhile is an opportunity to sink into the life of that place in ways not so easy to do when one is always moving around.
3.    Some days not much photography happens. RV travel is comprised of a variety of activities that preclude making photographs. Besides the chores that you have in normal daily life—laundry, going to the market, meal preparation, and clean up—there are all the maintenance and safety tasks related to trailering. As Joel Meyerowitz says, “You cannot expect every day to provide a photograph of real consequence.”
4.    You cannot get from here to there without trial and error. The way is hard. There are no short cuts. There is a always a learning curve, learning what it demands and what you are willing to give. The way through is with patience and good humor.
5.    Sometimes just sitting around and talking with your travel partners is enough.

Newport, Oregon, fisherman

The wharf at Newport, Oregon. This is one proud fisherman.

Bastendorff Beach

With friends at Bastendorff Beach, Oregon.

Ferndale, California shop

Shop in Ferndale, California.

Zebras in Petrolia at the Lost Coast.

Zebras on a Petrolia, California, ranch at the Lost Coast.

Lost Coast Zebras

Zebras at a Petrolia, California, ranch on the Lost Coast.

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Wandering: Going Without Arriving

Bridge, Portland Japanese Garden

Woman crossing the bridge in Portland’s Japanese Garden.

A good traveler has no fixed plans,
and is not intent on arriving.
~ Lao Tzu

Going is important, not arriving. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

We left today for a long-awaited journey with our new (to us) 29-foot travel trailer. We will be out two-weeks, but our whereabouts during those two weeks are uncertain. We will have a road map, of course, but we expect to lose our compulsion for a known itinerary. It is the unexpected that is the hallmark of our most enjoyable travel.

Thus, our plans are loose. Head west, then south. Follow the coast. Or not.

When we do not plan too tightly, and are not fixed on a route or a place we feel destined to end up, we leave ourselves open to wander.

In wandering, we slow down. It is always the present moment. Our habitual mind-set is disrupted, and everything around us becomes a surprise, new and fresh. This heightened way of seeing—happy, relaxed, unconcerned with self, attentive—is full of delight and expansiveness.

Traveling like this offers so many opportunities to see—the roadside, vehicles that pass by, iconic signs and structures, the landscape, people, buildings, and critters of the place, even ourselves as we become part of what we see.

I love this relaxed way of going, seeing, and of making photographs. It is always the present in photography.

While traveling, I may not have reliable internet access. But check in to see if by some chance I have managed to post something. In any case, I look forward to sharing our discoveries when I return.

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Play

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.
~ Carl Jung

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rock and Roll, zone plate photograph, archival pigment print

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