We are not alone

Dreams taking flight, #N004232 — May 1, 2007

Today a heavy fog has blanketed the area as it lingers, filtering through the landscape with the stillness of a dream; winters melancholy soon shall pass, bowing out to an approaching spring that slowly rises from the darkness. Though morning light has crossed passed the mountains ridge, there are no shadows but in my room, as candles flames flicker to the slightest movement, as its warm amber light baths the surroundings with solace.

Though I am alone physically, I am not. Your words to ‘Life’s Fragility’ have given me company and turned an ordinary day into one filled with compassion. It was a difficult post for both the reader and the author, as any obstacles were overcome by courage.

In these last weeks I have visited your comments often, I feel we have become closer, as you so graciously shared your thoughts and something about your own life or of the ones you love.

A spirit set free, #N004778 — May 4, 2007

Recently I came across a quote that expressing what many of us who blog have come to experience, myself included. They are of the German romantic poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), who’s ‘Trauerspiel’ and accompaniment of Beethoven’s OP-82 that I was ceremoniously named after. The translation is not perfect, though multiple sources seem to agree on the words, it is not perfect as translations go, it still retains Goethe’s thinking.

Goethe in the Campagna, 1786
by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein

The world is so empty if one only thinks of
mountains, rivers and cities;
but to know someone who thinks and feels with us,
and who, though distant is close to us in spirit,
this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.

I have been deeply touched by everyone’s visit and with what you wrote, more so than I could ever express and I hope, I had replied to each one of you individually as promised.

The images of the iris flowers are from our garden and I wish you to have one for yourself as a reflection of my sincere appreciation for your presence. If you would like a digital file at high resolution to print out for your home, please send me an email and tell me which one you desire, also make sure you are able to receive a PhotoShop electronic file that is 15-17 MB in size or if you prefer a much smaller JPG document.

I wish you all a wonderful day,


Life’s fragility

Yesterday I lit a candle to mark the fourth birthday in my second life, commemorating the day I was to have passed only to cheat death, when doctors performed a triple-by-pass open-heart surgery. The residual consequences have been mixed and though I am grateful to be alive, the side effects of the surgery have become an almost daily battle. Especially the bouts with depression have become more numerous these last one and half years, lasting longer and becoming more sever, that I have even begun to question if the quality of life gained has been worth this daily struggle.

Following the months after the surgery I was very optimistic, looking forward to a better life. Knowing I had better chance, more then most men, to possible live beyond the national average. I would like to regain that optimism, making whatever few years I do have left seem like a lifetime. As the candle celebrating the birthday slowly burned, its light flickered now and then, to unseen currents, when a little hot wax dribbled down the tapered shaft, marking the beginning of my forth year, which was now more important than ever before.

As I reflected, I could not help but also encompass the events that are unfolding by the hour ever since an earthquake had struck the city of Port au Prince, Haiti. It is events like these that we are reminded how fragile life is; unfortunately it takes a disaster or a personal crisis for most of us to understand this.

The arrival of winter as autumn passes
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California - December 27, 2005, #22281

In many ways this series of photographs reflect life’s fragility. They were taken one week after my collapse, which was later determined to have been a heart attack, and two weeks prior to the open-heart surgery. To this day they are some of the most personal and best work I have produced in the last four decades. Not only do they represent a pivotal moment in my then fifty-six years, they also reflect life’s last will and testament that was voided on January 16, 2006. And so whenever I think about the surgery or the month of December or the month of January, the mind recalls those several days in which I visited a small stretch of earth with tripod and camera in hand, searching.

If you were to ask if I knew what it was that was being sought those last days in December of 2005, the answer would have always been met with a blank gaze, then followed with utter silence. I just knew that regardless of the weather I was compelled, no driven if you would, to capture an image. Only months later did I come to understand that the image was the message and that it was meant for me. It was nature letting me know that my life was like the many leaves that had fallen and now represented my very existence that was about to expire. Yet I am here, facing doubt and an uncertainty, while still trying to make sense of it all.

Though I considered January 16 to be my second birthday and not just an anniversary, I did nothing more than light a candle, watching its bright amber flame slowly burn, while the candles scent began to settle all around the room. Though birthdays are meant to be celebratory, I did not wish it so, besides no one remembered and I did not say a word. It just seemed that some birthdays are best spent with ones self.

A last hurrah
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California -December 28, 2005, #22294

The inevitable hope
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California -December 29, 2005, #22326

December’s blanket
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California -December 30, 2005, #22349

Rain-washing away the sins of the day
Wildcat Canyon Road, Berkeley California -December 30, 2005, #22351

Technical Notes:

Camera: Sony DSC-V1, 5MB, Full Frame
Computer: Macintosh G4
Post work: Photoshop v8 (CS-I)
Post work notes:
Levels, Curves were all individually set.
Channel Mixer for all images at R+40/G+50/B+20/Constant-5
Afterwards converted to Duo-tone for secondary colour
Gaussian Blur was applied to all images


A reason for my absence

The past few several weeks since my last posting, your comments I have embraced, for they were emotionally uplifting, as a ray of sunshine on a cold and cloudy day, even here in Northern California. I also cherish each new follower and will return the compliment in due course. It is for this reason that I ask you follow this link and discover what I have been up to these last three weeks.