Moon’s Crossing, Pemberton.
I would break easily
if I fell upon this rock
unless like water
Moon’s Crossing, Pemberton.
I would break easily
if I fell upon this rock
unless like water
I heard your footsteps pressing down
on surrendered cypress,
above the water singing over rocks,
gently seeking home,
just visiting this humble onsen.
I saw you emerge,
floating through the Hinoki,
its resin so sweet,
an offering in praise of your being.
Cherry blossom pink.
A ritual unfolds.
as kimono softens the rock.
Your body supple as a young Sika,
graces the intimacy of water.
An open conversation
I hear with my eyes.
And, though my lips silently babble,
my heart speaks straight,
as my ritual unfolds.
A prayer …
The Latin allows for candor to carry the meaning of brilliance, whiteness, radiance, naturalness and much more.
An Onsen is a hot spring, but has also come to include the bath house alongside. A Sika is a Japanese deer which is also a species common across Asia. Hinoki is a small cypress tree.
Redgate Beach, south of Margaret River. The beach was closed yesterday, in fact, I couldn’t even see it. The winds were gale force earlier in the day, and still strong in the afternoon, whipping the water in to shore, and making it difficult to keep a steady hand for filming. The western shore contains a variety of examples of rock formations that have been weathered by waves, and when you see the power of the water, it is no wonder.
Water is powerful, and in many ways. Wave power as an idea, a theory, has been around for years, though one the earliest attempts is still recent – Scotland, 1991. The long history of shipping has relied on water, and has also suffered from the volatility of storms at sea. The same can be said for the fishing industry, tourism, military purpose, exploration and more. Rivers and other sources of land based water have been critical for the survival of all species. Plants and animals vary as to percentage but all have a foundational volume of water that constitutes their being. Science has variably said that water is 80% of the human body, I say variably because others say it is even higher.
Water is fundamental for survival, dehydration is deadly for any species. And water, though abused by, is also fundamental to industry and manufacturing at every level. We know the absence of water contributes to desertification, and evidence from other planets shows that lack of water equals lack of life.
The potential of water goes back to the dawn of time, and onwards to the floating gardens of the Aztecs, Roman baths and aqueducts, the farming of rice, fish farming, reticulated agriculture, and the generation of electricity (hydro-power).
With climate change as a reality, even fiction, like the post apocalyptic story of Waterworld, seems less far fetched than when it hit the cinemas in 1994. Water is seen as part of our daily survival need, but also part of our future as once again, floating gardens, floating communities, hydroponics, aquaculture, and responses to climate problems like flooding, see Practical Action have become exciting options for ways forward.
And yet, we are far more diverse than water. The human is complex, and, beyond the primitive brain, unique in brain capacity for problem solving, design, learning, creating, conceptualising, and comprehension, to name a few potentials. We too can be a positive power in the world, veritable tsunamis of ideas, science, engineering, chemistry, the arts, and more. We too generate energy. And we have the potential to creatively solve the issues before us.
We can contribute to life, we are powerful, we can be creative, eroding and wearing down the barriers and the negatives, shaping and sustaining life and potential worlds and communities, we too are fundamental to nature though by good or ill, depending on how we value nature. We have the potential to turn around the whole climate change issue. Like water, we have to pool, pond, and gather together to get it done. Even the formation of water, hydrogen and oxygen is a metaphor for working together to achieve an outcome. One drop of water is just one drop of water, but many drops are potential, are power, resource, possibility, together we are an ocean of potential.
The ground was hard many seeds to be planted neighbours helping ©Paul Cannon
Redbank Gorge, the beauty of carved rock and the body of water, life abundant.
When were you last on the trail? When did you last encounter nature? When did you last stroll a lake, the park, or the beach? When did you last smell a fresh blossom or admire the lush leaf cover of a tree? When did you last appreciate the movement of water or wind?
It may be that nature doesn’t do it for you, but I can say without a doubt that nature rejuvenates me, body, mind and soul. To smell the air, unlike urban air, unlike carbon infused air, is refreshing. To bask in the warth of the unimpeded glow of the sun is refreshing. To hear the sound of water lapping a shore or singing over rocks is refreshing. To hear and feel the sound of rain, wind, thunder, hail is refreshing. To hear the curlew, owl, honeyeater or magpie is refreshing. Somehow all these things stir my soul, open my eyes – the eyes of my heart. I live in awe of the beauty, but also the depth of nature to speak into my life differently to buildings, concrete, politics, conflict, ego, machinery, drudge, stress … Nature is unpredictable (in the main), uncontainable, it is its very own and no other. Nature is owned by no one, and speaks for itself without agenda. It is truly free to include me (if I am willing of course) and release me through its freshness, its beauty, its uncomplicated relational way of being, and its overwhelming gift of humilty and vulnerability are priceless.
Whether it be birdsong, crickets, cicadas, or the sight of fish in the water, a tortoise on a mission, a kangeroo escaping, or a dolpin in conversation, nature has an impact on my daily being. Nature can be my solace, my meditation, my prayer, my friend, my antibiotic, my next breath …
Nature is something that brings me youthfulness, breath, a sense of being, an awareness of the present moment, and understanding of otherness and a sense of self. Nature is where I refresh, recharge, reframe. In nature I rejuvenate, I am new, playful, differently aware. I hope you are too.
Old branches reach up ravaged by wind and sun birds sing me life ©Paul Cannon
Taken a while back, the Blackwood River on the north side of Boyup Brook, froth in the foreground, foam to the middle left.
Froth in water, be it lakes, rivers, creeks or the ocean, is generally a combination of pressure or agitation (so, rushing water, or crashing waves creating bubbles), the matter from decomposing plants such as oils (in Australia one significant culprit is eucalyptus), dead plant tissues, dust making froth or foam, and protein (which is also a common contributor to foam in expelled urine). Many people imagine that someone has dumped detergent in the water, given the dramatic effect of the froth or foam, and yet it is all natural ingredients contributing to the phenomena.
Froth or foam is not ordinarily considered to be a negative. That which occurs naturally in water is quite normal and shows nature in process. In some circles a froth on top of a glass of beer is considered a good thing as it indicates that the beer is not flat or lacking. In firefighting foam has been utilized in combating fires involving flammable liquids, the foam restricts oxygen thus preventing fire. Detergent froth and foam is seen as useful in that the foam is the detergent becoming active when needed. And we have all at some point utilized pretrochemical foams in mattresses and pillows, etc. But froth and foam have been used negatively in literature. The old saying, “it’s all froth and bubble” is a form of ridicule applied to any situation you wish to criticise:- The speech was all froth and bubble” meaning, the speech was lacking substance.
Everything has its good and not so good side, or, everything has both strengths and weaknesses, froth and foam are no different. But the weaknesses are few and overall froth and foam make such a valualble contribution to nature and to life. In some ways we can see froth and foam as a metaphor for ourselves. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I have a view that our weaknesses are few in comparison to our strengths, and we all make a valuable contribution, and often not just in our core vocation, but in what my grandparents might have considered stuff that was froth and bubble – hobbies, interests, leisure activities, creativity – the things that make us come alive, energise us and carry us (and others with us) through.
Froth and foam are the result of aggitation and energy and natural ingredients, this is not unlike ourselves. When we are aggitated, put under pressure, stimulated, enabled, we can produce all sorts of creative things. Froth and bubble are signs of life, signs of substance, a parallel to cream – the best rising to the top. When we are energised the creative rises to the top, sometimes dramatically, and for all to see, just like frothy waves, or foam enveloped waters. Life is not all froth and bubble, but when the good and the creative rises to the top it is to be seen, shared and celebrated.
I took this photo when Jon and I went to Bluff Knoll a couple of years ago. It was raining towards the top, and given the the sides of the mount were almost vertical in long sections, the rain rushed, hurtled down in streams. I love the sound of rushing water, it is something I’ve liked since I was a child, and this day was no different, it was a real treat. The other experience, inevitable really, was that we got soaked, and I didn’t mind that either. When I was a kid I’d run around without my raincoat on and rejoice in the rain. To play on the word rush, I got a rush out of the rain, and out of the rushing water.
Over the years I’ve experienced a rush in different ways, the usual suspects, drugs, alcohol, sugars, speed, abseiling, sport, travelling, bush walking, and the list goes on. It took time to learn to simply enjoy the moment, to attend to the experience as it was without seeking after it. It took time too, to emmerse in the experience without just consuming it. Of course it was partly learning and maturing, but it was also learning to let go and to deepen in the experience. There is something about experiencing a rush, a peak moment, to reach the pinnacle, but to do so without rushing it because the quality is richer and lasting. Not everything has to be immediate.
Who could forget the clasic Aesop fable ‘The Tortoise and the Hare” where the hare presumes to beat the slow moving tortiose, and yet through over-confidence and arrogance loses. Aesop simply making an observation about life, it’s how we are when we don’t immerse and attend.
I love this quote from Tolstoy: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” and Rousseau: “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” The reverse is also true.
A rock face along one side of Kings Canyon. Wrinkled, weathered sandstone. The cause? Rain, wind and sun. Not unlike skin weathering from the same sources. In the millennia past it was moving water, a river or two, a lake, that weathered these rocks in the Katarrka National Park.
And from the same section, rippled sandstone reflecting the movement of wind and water across the surface of the rock.
In high school I had an art teacher who decided to show us the power of water. He rigged up a large plastic bottle and placed opal in it, and hooked up a belt and motor to turn the bottle, which also had sand and water in it. Over a year there was some change in the rock, it was smoother, the water and sand had begun to have an affect. Which reminds me of a Japanese saying: “In the struggle between the stone and water, in time the water wins.” But the rock is not destroyed, it is transformed, Transformed in to sand, pebbles, and rocks.
Our bodies take a hammering from the elements, just like the rock. I like to think that our bodies are well worn rock, where the rock has begun to smooth off and yet not lose its strength or character. In fact, as we age, I think we gain more strength and character. In this way rock and water are in parnership, and change results. Our wrinkles, both the outward and the inner ones, are the result of the forces of wear and pressure, they reflect a life lived. It’s the inner ones, the psychological scars that last the longest, and take time to be transfomed, but they are as and when we let our inner self be exposed to the forces of transformation.
The waves are gentle, a rythmical undulation like inward and outward breaths of meditation, a life giving force that captivates the heart, and takes prisoner the mind and thralls it with wonderment. Gliding along I enter a new space and feel refreshed. There's something about being on the water. It's not possession, because this is a privileged and shared space, no, it's about surrender to the water, and all that it brings. The water rythmically laps the sides of the kayak, the undulation, beautiful. Nothing profound, simple, joyful ... gift. It is late, and yet the day is just beginning, undualting, water, soul friend. ©Paul Cannon 2018
Sometimes even the sheer effort can be daunting, all the prep, all the organising and the getting there, but once launched, it’s really worth it. There’s something really meditative about kayaking, the smell of the water, salty downstream, brackish upstream. There’s plenty for the eye to rejoice in, dolphins, stingrays, King George Whiting, black swans and a host of birdlife (some migratory). There are sounds too, birds calling, wind rustling vegetation. And there’s the sound of the water lapping on the side of the kayak, and the sound of my paddle as it divides the water and pushes. But it is not overly intrusive, the kayak is gentle on its surrounds, respectful of nature. The fish and birds come close, they trust the quiet nature of this vessel, and so do I, it is an invitation to presence and calm, even stillness (which is not an absence of movement per se). When I launch the kayak, I launch into something too, something deep.
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Lectionary reflections related to Catholic Social Teaching
Un tratto dell'età evolutiva che rappresenta la transizione dal mondo dell'infanzia al mondo adulto. Periodo critico, periodo di cambiamenti che diventano confusioni, un periodo dove le scelte che prendiamo contribuiranno a plasmare il nostro futuro. Crescere bene seguendo dei consigli, crescere bene, certo, ma come? Non esiste un manuale d'istruzione, ma, esistiamo noi. Consigli, opinioni, ed empatia. Manuale per l'utilizzo 2.0 inizia da qui. Inzia da noi.
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