Journey to calm — First footsteps
It began when I was in the presence of a tiny woman so imbued with an intense serenity that my own ragged spirit cried out for the same. Joy Kogawa’s (Gently to Nagasaki, Ascendent Rain, Obasan, etc.) quiet energy was so powerful that it moved me to seek my own calm.
That night, still affected by her inspiration, I casually picked up a book on my sister’s table. It was called Contemplative Photography (Andy Karr and Michael Wood). It talks about the art of seeing, the beauty of focus, the necessity for stillness in photography. It spoke of the neurosis that we carry around with us, like a layer of pollution, obfuscating clarity of purpose and mind. The words and photos resonated with Zen. I was inspired.
I know the fleeting feeling of focus, meditation, serenity that can come with and from photography. It infuses me with a prolonged narcotic rush. I also know the hyper, the quick clicking of the shutter the results of which rarely fail to disappoint.
Then my sister suggested a photo expedition to Vandusen Gardens (Vancouver). I agreed. When we arrived, I kept my camera in its holster while we walked through the gardens, air laden with energizing charges that emanate from the plants and the trees and the ponds and the fountains. I consciously didn’t take any pictures, waiting for a scene to call me, purposefully.
Then it happened.
It’s high noon. A bug clings to an adobe-coloured slab, part of a sculpture. I couldn’t tell you what the sculpture looks like. My eye zeroed in on this insect. It sat for its portrait without even clocking my presence so focused was it on its prey – or at least that’s my interpretation of it. It could be that it’s digesting its prey. Whatever biology is happening here, the bug on the rock slab demanded my focus and inspired me by its presence: the delicacy of its clinging limbs and translucent wings, juxtaposed by the bold shadow; and the silken silver sliver of the spider’s thread.
Haiku for bug at high noon
Bug waits in sunlight
Still, predatory. Spider’s