Monday, November 28, 2011

Three Persimmons - Variations

It's been nearly two years since I posted on the famous painting Six Persimmons.  Which is a fact that startled me a little. Two years!

It also means that I'm probably repeating a lot of things by now.  Sharing things I've shared before.  But today I'm thinking, again, about kindness, and how to be kind, and what it is anyway.  Which brings me back to an excerpt from a Mary Oliver poem titled "Dogfish." {in Dream Work}

"You don't want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don't want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it's the same old story --
a few people just trying,
one way or another,
to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
or mean,
for a simple reason.

And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
this world."

It's a question, yes, of how to swim through the world, how to navigate those waters.  I think Flickr is such an interesting place, not just because of the photographs, but because it's an opportunity to say something nice, kind things, and real things.  When I first began on Flickr, also about two years ago, I couldn't quite wrap my mind around the mode of commenting on photos.  There's an exchange that happens, and a community is slowly built up around a common sensibility, often, but also around that which 'catches one's eye' or is 'interesting.'  What at first glance seems to be a bunch of people saying great things about your work and you about theirs, is actually a way of saying, hey, thanks for showing me how you see, and yes, I see this.  What you've given me, shown me, has been seen.  I think that's pretty cool.  It's an interesting model, anyway, and even though it's not a model that you can slap overtop of every day life exactly, I keep thinking there's something to this process worth trying.  It's not just about 'saying something nice' for me, but about acknowledging in a real and heartfelt way that you've seen someone, really seen them, or seen and admired what they've created, or done, or voiced, or written.  And it's also about daring to put something out there yourself, that might, in fact, be completely ignored.

There's also a lot to be said for listening, as Oliver says, to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.  To bring that with you out into this mad and magnificent world of ours, the listening that you then carry, the light of it, the juice, bursting, orange from your pores.  Listening, and remembering that we're all swimming through the fires, and that none of us escape, though it may appear otherwise.

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