Sunday, June 26, 2005

Living History

I am old enough to remember being taught by well-meaning teachers to hide under my desk in case the Soviets blew up the world. I shudder to think of how hopelessly ineffectual that must have seemed to those adults compared to the threat of nuclear vaporization, but at least they could do something in the face of unspeakable horror.

Later, I came of age during the Vietnam conflict and thus was shocked to learn how we ourselves had driven the world to the brink of doom with our "missile gap," our aggressive overflights, and our forward-basing on European soil long after WW2 was over. The Soviets brought our policies to light with a little help from Gary Powers, but, because they were the bad guys, no true American would believe them. They were out to kill our children and all we could do was hide under our desks.

Now, it is happening again, thanks to the paranoid narcisists that necessarily rise to the top of our entertainment-based political system. Even some of our most trusted investigators are ignored when they show that the US war with Iran has already begun with permanent bases of occupation on foreign soil, U2 crashes and all.

That we violate international law whenever we feel like it is nothing new - we did that in the Cold War and in Cambodia. The fact that we are employing proxies, mercenaries and terrorists doesn't matter, because that's just "outsourcing". Any smart businessman knows that's the wave of the future. It keeps costs down and keeps everybody's hands clean of troubling ethical dilemmas that might make it hard to face our children as we teach them the ten commandments. It helps us deal with the horror of sending our teenagers off to die for political ends as we stick magnetic yellow ribbons on the asses of our cars.

History is repeating itself. And where are all of us who have seen this before? Are we still children, hiding under our desks? Or are we adults who learned how a global empire once was lost in it's leader's delusions? And is lost once again? Where are we now?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Schooner Zodiac

Schooner Zodiac
Originally uploaded by Auraelius.
It was a life-long dream to sail, starting from the time my dad took me dinghy sailing as a child.

Many years later, we found a cruise (through our local Parks and Recreation office) on the Schooner Zodiac, sailing out of Bellingham, WA. Our junior-high-aged kids were under the usual minimum age, but the rules were bent once the crew met them and we climbed aboard. It was a wonderful week.

Later, we went back to volunteer while the Zodiac was in dry dock. Later still, I went back to crew. I still remember standing the 3am-to-6am watch in a small, protected bay, watching the sun rise above the water, listening to the ship move quietly at anchor.

It's a great ship, with a great crew. You should sign up for a cruise.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Windows for Reflection

Butchart Garden Wall
Originally uploaded by Auraelius.
There is a form of photography intended for screen backgrounds or desktops. Some people prefer pictures of beautiful women, some pictures of their families.

I search for more abstract subjects, those that provide a sense of peace, an antidote to the computer teechnology.

These still lifes are everywhere. In a small corner of Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, there is a quiet place with peaceful light. Not many of the hundreds of tourists stop there while there are some many amazing plots and arrangements nearby. Yet, this is a regenerative place. See if you can find it when you go there.

Padova Sunset

Padova Sunset
Originally uploaded by Auraelius.
The sunlight struck the streetlights and set them glowing. The cobblestone street reminded me that this was Europe... much more so than Berlin had.

As I moved slightly from side to side, positioning the sun in the frame, I heard the rattle of a bicycle behind me. I waited, then, as she passed me, took this shot of a homeward-bound commuter.