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.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Oh, for the Fizz...

I'd been to my physiotherapist, to get my back strong and straightened. It began when I was at school, my bad back, when I lent over my desk at nights studying hard for too long, over subjects I sometimes liked and sometimes hated. I knew it was going to be a lifelong struggle.
So I feel for things that don't quite come up to scratch. This monumental, circular bed has only ivy growing in it when so much more could have been achieved with it. Yet it's comfortable the way it is, not needing a 'makeover'.
It's meant to be autumn here, but it's increasingly feeling that autumn is the new spring. I'm sitting here in a light dressing-gown, the window open, the 20 degree temperature about the same as it has been throughout the day, though it's nearly 7pm. Having just read that Australia is likely to suffer another el Nino year - when increased warmth from up out of the Pacific Ocean circulates then an oscillating heat wave that eliminates rain - I am feeling the fizz evaporate.
These photos, as I wandered away from my physiotherapy, were taken on my mobile, but the blurring may well be germane. We're meant to be upside down here, in the southern hemisphere, but our upside down-ness is itself flipping upside down. Things are, in the streetscape, in the gardens, looking remarkably well, after a savage summer, but will we be able to anchor ourselves in an environment that seems as if it's being eliminated?
The exercises my physiotherapist has given me are doing something fine...I am feeling somehow more vertical. I know I can stand up to whatever it is I must. Can the gardens of Melbourne do the same? 
This isn't pleaching, is it, when older branches have been bent into a form to hold the effusion of new growth? Dunno. I'm just hoping that bits of garden history like this live indefinitely here or we'll be getting gardens made out of concrete slabs with bits of green plastic tossed over hem, to look as if they were a real garden. 
God knows I need my physiotherapist. There will no doubt be an even more awful summer than the one we just had, but I will not be able to lug wheelbarrow-load after wheelbarrow-load of mulch over the outline of my garden unless there's some sort of body filling out the outline. Like, I don't do things without a reason.
My mother's nickname for me as a boy was Knuckleduster. Can you believe it? As if I'm meant to stand up to all this dessication without blinking! You need some sort of results sometimes, out of this life, or else it gets to be a bit of a play within a play. Declaration: Gardener Needs Help.  
( PS I got some help today in the form of a new job in a bookshop ).

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Parliament, the Princess and the Pedestrian

 
You can live in a city all your life, as I've done in Melbourne, and be familiar only with parts of it. Parts such as the eastern, Parliamentary end of the CBD, to which I frequently gravitate.
Having traversed and photographed this area often I didn't know I'd be able to find anything new today. Above and below are views from out of the inside of Parliament Station.
Above, the Stanford Fountain in Gordon Square, created by William Stanford 1867-1870 while in prison for horse theft and escaping custody. Perhaps he was tired of walking. Perhaps he just wanted to run. He did, though, earn his freedom, I feel.
I wasn't prepared to risk arrest by entering this untended gate into Parliament House and be horse-whipped or brought before a jury. The gardens are open only one day a year and today wasn't the day.
The Station itself is all underground, and a show-piece when it was built. Its gardens are looking a bit down and out,  greying, like the day...
...but retaining some suitable splendour.
There was a Princess here somewhere, wasn't there? This is her, or at least the side of her, the Princess Theatre, where this pedestrian for a time in his younger days ushered in the crowds and even got to see Lauren Bacall on stage. 
But today I was ushering myself down Little Bourke Street to lunch, glimpsing the past as I went, relieved to see some green amid the prison-grey.