Friday, August 15, 2014

What we all need: a flag and a staff

There is in Melbourne, a comparatively new city, a sense of ongoing expansion. It would be a graceless expansion if that expansion obliterated the existing beauty from out of which it, that expansion, expands.
Street-life, cities, the movement of people...these all need to work circumspectly, and together.
I was off to the Flagstaff Gardens in William Street, West Melbourne, on the edge of the city. But there was plenty to see in the built world, before I got to the unbuilt.
There's so much to be fond of, in Melbourne. Of course, you'll need to do some hunting, get on a bike or a tram. This part of Melbourne, not yet subsumed by development, has some of its oldest remnants.
This is St James Old Cathedral, the oldest church in Melbourne, as seen from the Flagstaff Gardens, doing its best to wave its flag in a sea of not altogether congruous newness.  
The oldest park in Melbourne - established 1835 - these 18 acres of - 'reality', I want to say, but OK then - 'free space' - allow the wandering city worker to get a glimpse of what life was like here before money and careers and even time perhaps were invented.
As much as there's nothing like strolling through perfect grounds, I like to be able to see what's happening, here in a space still elemental.
There ARE some garden beds, a little disparate, semi-tendered, but comforting anyway.
And memorials. This memorial above was erected in 1871, "In the memory of some of the earliest of the Pioneers of this Colony whose remains were interred near this spot". The Flagstaff Gardens have long since welcomed those needing some shelter.
The former Royal Mint, nearby, a stone's throw away, has new tenants.
Many of them may have only been represented. Though temporarily closed for renovations, The Mint had not long ago "An exhibition celebrating the lives of those who came to Australia during the period of mass assisted migration post 1952". 
I'd hope that all the money that had churned through this city, leaving a multitude of questionable developments, had allowed for more to be opened for a bright future
and for a remembrance. Without means, we may as well all be statuary. But it is with a staff of some kind that we can move forward 
and stop sometimes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


fruits and circles, binding ties
the shock of encounter
ways of approach
value, merit and gift
response and repletion
destiny captured; sustenance
a new view

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An Other Self

In our life, alot of it's unknown to others.
Here for only a brief interlude, I dragged my friend from Den Haag to Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens, where we did a circuit of Guilfoyle's Volcano. Everything you see can be different every time you see it.
I have to admit I like a grandness, but I also go for rustic, roughness and suddenness.

This is one of a handful of pavilions in the Gardens. It is odd, is it not, this dream that has been made real?
Glory be to both the constructed and to the evolving, the man-made and the organic. It's OK to say that, isn't it, in this world of ours that's become so hurt?
If we're dumb enough to obliterate nature, then we might as well obliterate all meaningful connection. How can anybody be wanting to shoot anything when the origin and reality of shooting is an expression and affirmation of life? Plants shoot up into the sky...but we're so stupid we shoot each other. Myself, I don't get that. Love and life are not about collapse. They are about renewal.
The swans are quite possibly wiser than many of the tourists who snap pictures of them. They just get on with their life, however peculiar humans have become...
Sometimes you take a different path to the one you might be expected to take. It can be startling, getting to  be an other self.
But it is known that comfort is available. In the Mauritshuis, Gerrit Dou's doggy is replete. I caught him napping. It's not like life is some kind of alienating experiment. It's a gift.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Scene through a Window

Most of these photos come from the inside of a train window as I traversed Melbourne today.
It's not infrequently said that train travel quietens the mind and lets a deeper and more receptive state to be felt.
It's the rhythm, some say, the rocking and the rolling -
even now, when trains shoot and glide and jolt without apparent rhythm -
or else there's a feeling of being safely encapsulated, of being transported.
From a train we see others' backyards and may take comfort that not everything around us is front.
We're going somewhere, and in going to that somewhere, we can go as we are.
A train view affords a wider, more encompassing, less judgmental perspective.
Train travel isn't simply hypnotic and lulling; sometimes it's bold and dramatic. There's alot more out there than our non-traveling lives allow us.
It's not only the inconvenient and neglected we get to see from the train, but very often the grand or the subtle and the stretch of history that lets us feel we belong.
This isn't much of a shot, I guess, but it's here because it's near where I grew up, right next to the station I went to school from. So the past is reassuringly present.
This final shot is somewhere I walk now and then, as I did today, and does not come from a train. But it could easily be a train-view, unexpectedly and humbly elegant as it is.