Unravelling the Mystery of People

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by How fit an emblem is, for the blossoming of the human soul, the blossoming of a flower.

From an entry dated December 17, 2015:

It is surprising how naturally a person can thrive, unfold themselves progressively, a single layer of beauty at a time, like the blossoming of a bud to the stimulus of sunlight, peeping through the cracks of the concrete structure that asphyxiated their natural self. That is exactly what the idea of them, in the minds of the people around them can do to their freedom of creative, healthy void: like a forced urban planning that annihilates the vast, enriched landscape it replaces. The landscape, the void, that infinity of space within which a person can swim that grand stretch of pearly blue waters which project their cores outwards like an ancient pinhole camera—only, it is as alive as the day is long.

What I mean to say, is that it is amazing how naturally a person can reveal and discover at the same time their inner beauty to us, if only we allow them to. Otherwise, it becomes one of the many beautiful things about our life that regrettably, we don’t get to see, regardless of however immortal we could possibly conjure up becoming.

The little things about them: a fond memory, a personal joke, the memorabilia of something or someone attached to them—all these that remind them of happiness…that if you allow them, if you are an observer, a listener quiet enough so that you can hear the creaking of the non-lubricated parts of them being resuscitated under the removal of the influence of pressurizing, judging scrutiny; you might just find them quietly laughing with the chirping birds in the branches of the trees as you walk alongside them on a sunlit pavement. All of this can happen, even though you might be walking in the middle of a busy urban street.  We are our best, most truest self when we think nobody is watching, or even if somebody just happens to, ever so silently( perhaps like an ornithologist that sees through his binoculars painted storks playing in the distance) we let them watch without hesitation or unease—like you sit quietly with a frightened animal long enough, unimposing, they come to see you as their friend.

That is the reason why people with whom you are everyday, the little alterations we all undergo with time, we don’t notice them immediately; but if we don’t see them long enough, it is funny how we never cease to be taken aback by the series of beautiful transformations they go through, despite the obvious changes in their physical appearance: the little crinkle by their eyes when they laugh(an experience more added to their memory) and the more open they are around you since you last encountered them, because they might have just discovered that healthy void for themselves.

 

You see, time is a mysterious thing. And what being still, unassuming and unimposing can do will amaze you—what simply listening can lo, like Mary Oliver urged in her words:

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
 calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
 in the family of things.”

(‘Wild Geese’)

You can listen to her reading of this wonderful poem from which the above lines have been cited here, on the wonderful brainpickings‘ soundcloud stream:

 

Frozen hands make for poor writing instruments. 

I can hear the chitter-chatter of kids and their mothers outside enjoying the warmth of the sun on a quaint winter afternoon beyond my window, the filtering sunlight from which casts narrow shadows on my fingers.  It is not intense enough to warm my hands, but so is our general sense of empathy towards other people, people with lives different than our own.

The sincerity in our everyday conversations gets watered down due to a lack of that willingness to listen. We want to be heard, but do not realize it when we skim over the other person’s words even if unintentionally; when we defy listening.

Instead, a cold breeze quietly weaves around the already wane sunlight filtering through.

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Sunlight shimmering off the pavement leading into the Fort at Mehrangarh, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. I loved how the sun danced at my feet that day.

Featured image source: Digital Photography School

 

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A Conversation with the Night

From January 29,2016

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Fox and Moon Watercolor illustration foound on studio tuesday.

With shifting skies
there is a twinge of longing
In the crisp atmosphere
Of the still night’s air

In the blackened woods stand
Giant trees, countless on the land
their wooden bones and bony fingers
The memory of one missing, lingers

And though the mountain’s attention
The extroverted clouds have caught quick
trees stare at the distance in wonder
Can you hear the thrill in the soundof thunder?

The moon stirs the restless awake
To the nocturnal lack of din
open your window nightgazer
And let the stars come in.

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Featured: JRR Tolkein’s watercolor illustration for The Lonely Mountain. 

When The Hobbit was first published almost 75 years ago, JRR Tolkien provided a set of wonderful illustrations. But buried among the author’s papers were 110 drawings, watercolours and sketches, some of which have never been published before.

 

 

Night’s Cyan Theater

“This world was realized in the cyanotypes, or blue photographs, of the nineteenth century—cyan means blue, though I always thought the term referred to the cyanide with which the prints were made. In the cyanotypes you arrive in this world where darkness and light are blue and white, where bridges and people and apples are blue as lakes, as though everything were seen through the melancholy atmosphere that here is cyanide.”
-Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
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The depth of the color blue and its enchanting usage in photography as cyanotypes can make you fall in love with the nostalgically melancholic note of the both(image source: Cult of Mac-Cyanotype Photography )

Here’s a self-composition I imagine in a cyanotype rendition:

So I found myself drowning
in a stream of filtering moonlight
With leaves rustling somewhere overhead
And the woods rustled with them
Around me, and out of sight.

Floating on the light
Trapped inside night’s melody
with an undertone of sharp octaves
Matching a frightened pulse
A cyanotype of captured tragedy.

I saw a deer from behind my eyelids
Looking at me from a curtain of ferns
Two orbs of innocence glaring
In my direction in night’s ephemeral theater

With me standing underneath the light
When the seats in front of me are deserted
Helpless, I can’t see beyond
Even though out of dark’s reach I am riveted.

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“One of Anna Atkins’ cyanotypes”(source:Vox Books)
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“British Algae: A page from Atkins’ book of cyanotypes.”

 

About Anna Atkins and Cyanotypes:
“Anna Atkins  was an English botanist and photographer. She is often considered the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images. Sir John Herschel, a friend of Atkins and Children, invented the cyanotype(a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print) photographic process in 1842. Within a year, Atkins applied the process to algae (specifically, seaweed) by making cyanotype photograms that were contact printed by placing the unmounted dried-algae original directly on the cyanotype paper.”

What the Moon Told Me

“What the Moon Told Me”

The moon one overwhelming night told me
Of the mountains and valleys of his life
In a weaving juxtaposition like his cratered surface.

He told me of the troubles during cloudy skies
When he couldn’t see the stars
On still nights when he couldn’t hear the wind
For the wind was not talking to him.

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source: Shannon-May Illustrations

You see, she was upset with the moon
And his impermanent ways
How he appeared in the sky some nights
and gone the next few of them;
Without so much as glass slippers or stardust
An anchor to their friendship that would
Remind her, the sad wind, it was real.

I listened to the moon, for very fraught was he
How could he promise time?
When it was out of control of every
one, that it cared not for a friend’s call.

Call I did, unto the moon then
And let him know that he could
Tell the melancholy wind to look inside
And learn to see the moon
With the inner eyes of faith in him
For even though on some nights
She couldn’t see the stars or the moon
They knew of her presence everyday
Only by their unrelenting belief
In the sweet wind’s unconditional presence
And that was all they ever needed.


 

 

Read next, an essay  discussing the deteriorating value of everyday conversations, and how people unravel their true self to us if only we allow them to.