Sunday, May 30, 2010

Walking Home Meditation / Mi Viejo Maestro (My Old Teacher) Boblo Picasso

Near the shop where my 21-year-old Honda Civic is being repaired are these stairs which lead up into Whatcom Falls Park. After the stairs, I've got at least a half-hour walk home in the rain.

I don't know how many steps there are. Let's just say "a multitude of steps." I don't photograph all the steps. There are at least this many that you can't see.

As I approach the bridge built by the WPA during the 1930s, with its view of Whatcom Falls, I stop to take a picture, not realizing that my camera is set on automatic flash. The rain and the mist rising from the falls is illuminated.

It was last year at this time that I started taking black and white photographs during my walks in Whatcom Falls Park. At this time last year, I was suffering from severe fatigue and depression caused by minocycline, a medication I had been taking for ocular rosacea. For some reason, taking black and white photographs lifted my spirits during that time of medication-induced depression.

A year later, walking along just beyond Whatcom Falls Bridge, I realize that I feel better than I have felt in my entire life. I'm not taking any medication except for St. John's Wort for some residual depression from the minocycline. I stop to photograph the sign for the trout hatchery, also built during the 1930s, remembering the time in the early 1980s when we saw a peculiar-looking truck drive up to the circular cement ponds. I thought, "What kind of truck is that???" When the men began to load up the hatchery trout, I suddenly heard Bob Dylan singing in my mind:

"The fiddler, he now steps to the road
He writes ev’rything’s been returned which was owed
On the back of the FISH TRUCK that loads
While my conscience explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain."

(lyrics from "Visions of Johanna")

Of course. The fiddler, the fish truck, my conscience, harmonicas, skeleton keys, rain, visions of Johanna. I was alone with my gratitude that day. Not everyone has Bob Dylan for a teacher.

Beyond the trout hatchery, the rainy scene at the fishing pond for children prompts me to switch to color.

After I cross the nearby bridge, which is also the dam that creates the fishing pond, I switch the setting on my camera to black and white again. As I look back across the fishing pond, I hear Bob Dylan singing in my mind again:

"Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now."

(lyrics from "My Back Pages")

I think, "Hey, wait a minute. My black and white photographs aren't lies!"

Now my mind shifts to one of Bob Dylan's spiritual teachers, Pablo Picasso, who said:

"Art is a lie that tells the truth."


"It takes a long time to become young."

and back to Bob:

Ah, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now."

Pretty soon, I'm walking in the rainy woods again and can see home up ahead.

"Gotta get up near the teacher if you can
If you wanna learn anything"

(Bob Dylan, lyrics from "Floater (Too Much To Ask)," Love and Theft, 2001

Listen to "My Back Pages."


Dale said...

A wonderful photo essay, Am.

am said...

Gracias, Dale!

robin andrea said...

I loved taking this walk with you and having this wonderful conversation. Very well done, am.

am said...

robin andrea -- It's good to be walking in the company of blog friends (-:

bev said...

I enjoyed walking along with you so much. Wonderful photos to accompany this post. Isn't it neat when certain scenes or thoughts inspire other thoughts to stream through our conscience? It was good to read that you're feeling so much better than a year ago. Glad that the fatigue problem seems to be resolved. I love the WPA bridges and various park structures built in the 1930s. In my travels, I have seen so many of these in the west, especially when following what used to be the old scenic routes of California and the PNW. That seems to me like incentive money that was very well spent considering the legacy that has been passed on.

Anonymous said...

Dear am, thank you for spending this afternoon with me, or letting me spend it with you, walking together while our stream of consciousness is inspired by our sense of place and our belonging to it! This walk of yours and photo essay kept me from feeling homesick for the first time and so much less lonely for the elegance of your companionship. Thank you from all of us at the new Urban Art Farm. And, dear friend, Walk On! Then share that journey, please!

The Solitary Walker said...

Just catching up slowly on some of my favourite blogs, am, and I come across your wonderful post here! It made me very happy. Thank you!

am said...

bev -- And I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed driving with you and Sage and Sabrina from Ontario to Bisbee and out to Nova Scotia via your blog.

Urban Art Farmer -- I look forward to visiting you at the Urban Art Farm and maybe a walk by Bellingham Bay!

Solitary Walker -- Thought that you, especially, might be as happy with this post as I was writing it.