Monday, August 10, 2015

the moment the light begins

Who gets up early to discover 
the moment the light begins?
What was whispered to the rose 
to break it open last night 
was whispered to my heart.

You’ve gotten drunk on so many kinds of wine.
Taste this. It won’t make you wild.

It’s fire.
Give up, if you don’t understand by this time
that your living is firewood.

Set your life on fire.
Seek those who fan your flames.

The lamps are different,
But the Light is the same.
To change, a person must face the dragon of his appetites 
with another dragon, the life-energy of the soul.

- Rumi

Ever since I saw my lovely friend Susan Licht's photo of a tree in her tea, I've wanted to attempt to capture a similar affect. The conditions were right this past week, and I gave it a go. I have to say, it was a lot of fun.

If you enjoy images in teacups, you might also enjoy Victoria Siemer's 'waves and galaxies series.' Really cool, though way more high tech than I could ever manage.

I'm on holidays from work this week which means I'll have time to work on a couple of projects for myself and for Rob. Somewhere in there our daughter Chloe will write her final exam for the correspondence course she's been taking this summer. We'll also take a quick trip to the mountains and breathe in some of that glorious mountain air. I might even take some time and pull weeds in my yard. Oh, and read a couple of I'm looking forward to just sitting and reading of a morning. Sipping some coffee and reading. How rarely I do that! Which is a crime. 

So by some miracle the book you're going to be hearing about for the next many months (sorry, haha), Rumi and the Red Handbag, has landed on 49th Shelf's "Most Anticipated" list for fall, 2015. It's a quick mention, but ever so sweet to be on the same list as Margaret Atwood and Greg Hollingshead. Odds are this is a once in a lifetime occurrence and I'm just going to enjoy the moment. 

You might remember a while back I mentioned a cool site I'd come across called "Eat this Poem," a literary food blog. I happened to notice that there's a post in the 'literary city guide' section on Edmonton, my own home town. 

This was at about the same time as I was reading the terrific, funny, and thoroughly enjoyable long essay / book by Timothy Taylor called, Foodville: Biting Dispatches from a Food-Obsessed City.

I'm not at all a foodie, and hardly ever go to restaurants. This is just one of those things that isn't possible on a poet's and artist's salary. But I do love to eat, who doesn't? I also like to photograph food, but don't feel it's my strongest suit. However, interestingly, many of my food photos have been picked up by Getty Images, so maybe I've got that all wrong. I've not posted many food shots here lately because I feel like I've lost my groove in that regard, but perhaps a few nice meals out in the mountains will change that. 

As I mentioned, the yard is rather weed-filled right now. But the great thing about shooting with the 50mm lens is the blurred effect one can create. Weeds, what weeds?

Below is another one of those poppies I planted from seeds in a big clay pot. The best magic trick of all.

Same with the sunflowers. Mainly I planted a dwarf variety, but the tall ones appear to have come from the seeds we fed the birds over the winter. 

A slow awakening:

I think I've been neglecting to photograph the everyday light in my kitchen, even though it does show off the dust and dog hair so well.....but here it is, one morning:

One afternoon, I felt the urge to get out my usual props, and see what they'd look like in this August light. So here:

And then, quite a bit of fun was had with a branch from the rose bush that's growing rather weed-like in a corner of the yard. I'm thinking of using some of the images for a redesign of my book and bio page (one of my projects for next week).

These last images above, might be enjoyed along with a reading from one of my favourite books by Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, titled Hello, the Roses. This is an excerpt from the title poem, and you can read it in its entirety here.

My soul radially whorls out to the edges of my body, according to the same laws
by which stars shine, communicating with my body by emanation. 
When you see her, you feel the impact of what visual can mean. 
Invisibility comes through of deep pink or a color I see clairvoyantly. 
This felt sense at seeing the rose extends, because light in the DNA of my cells
receives light frequencies of the flower as a hologram. 
The entire rose, petals in moving air, emotion of perfume records as a sphere, so
when I recall the emotion, I touch dimensionality. 
From a small bud emerges a tight wound bundle of babyskin coral petals, held in
a half globe, as if by cupped hands. 
Then petals are innumerable, loose, double, sumptuous, unified. 
I look through parted fingers to soften my gaze, so slow light shining off the
object is filtered; then with feeling I look at swift color there. 
It's swiftness that seems still as noon light, because my seeing travels at the same
I make a reciprocal balance between light falling on the back of my eye to optic
nerve to pineal gland, radiance stepping down to matter, and my future self
opening out from this sight. 
A moment extends to time passing as sense impression of a rose, including new
joys where imagined roses, roses I haven't yet seen or seen in books record as my


  1. Let me start by saying, August has never looked so beautiful! The light is so yummy in every image. Thank you so much for the mention, I adore your "tree tea" shots, especially the second one with the flowers rimming the saucer, just gorgeous! Very happy to enjoy your sunflowers as the squirrels have eaten all mine, including the leaves. :( Hope you have a calm and wonderful break, Shawna. May I just say, Margaret Atwood and Greg Hollingshead are very fortunate to be mentioned along with you on that "Most Anticipated" list. :)

  2. It's all so lovely, Shawna. I hope you've enjoyed a wonderful week off!


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