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Jerry Katz
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#2230- Sunday, August 14, 2005 - Editor: Gloria Lee    


“The word outleaps the world, and light is all.”
Theodore Roethke.The Vigil. Line 96.


"What is essential is not seen with the eye; it is
only seen with the heart."

~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
from  "The Little Prince", posted to Daily Dharma    

This issue introduces the sublime photography of Bruce Jackson.  His photos exemplify the above quotes, for along with all their visual appeal, they radiate being chosen by the heart.  It was clear to me even before reading the "Artist's Statement" that something very special was happening here.

"When creating images, my intent is to provide pathways by which you, the viewer, enter the natural world and experience the beauty, sacredness and wonder that lies within both Nature and yourself."

Seeing just one image simply compelled me to explore the rest of his online portfolio.  Doing so is a meditative joy. Clicking for the large view rewards you with a fullscreen image of stunning clarity. Many of the photos include the story behind their taking, so be sure to scroll down to check. The photo and story chosen to include here are used with written permission of Bruce Jackson and the link to his homepage is given below the story. Thank you, Bruce.  



(Worth the wait!)

Pale Evening Primrose and red rock greet the dawn    



In the years leading up to creating ‘Evening at Dawn’ in May of  1996, I
had become intrigued with the work of Pulitzer Prize  winning
photographer, Jack Dykinga. 


In January of 1996, I was hired to escort the public through and  provide
interpretation of the Roger Tory Peterson photography  exhibit at the
High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. The  exhibition contained
several images by Jack Dykinga that were  thrilling for me to interpret.   

The following spring I traveled to photograph the stunning  landscape
of southern Utah. I began at Arches National Park and  then moved to
several lesser known, yet spectacular locations.  One morning about a
week into the trip, I drove south into the  San Rafael Desert. I topped a
rise and there before me was the  most incredible bloom of Pale Evening
Primrose flowers I could  have imagined. In the midst of the flowers
rose numerous red  rock sandstone monoliths.   

I pulled over and began to carefully study the flowers. About  the time I
felt the need to rest, a pickup with camper slowly  pulled up next to my
truck. I thought, this has to be a  photographer. I walked toward the
truck. As I approached, the  window rolled down and its occupant
extended his hand and  said, “My name's Dykinga.” I said, “Hi Jack,
how are you  doing!” His look of surprise disappeared as I explained
having  seen his portrait on the dust jackets of his books.   

We proceeded to become acquainted and agreed to meet back at  the
flowers early that evening. Jack's attempts to photograph  had been
thwarted by strong wind for two days, and this  evening was no
different. Agreeing to share a campsite, we  packed up and left for the
night. Back at camp, Jack invited me  to join him at a location he had
staked out for photographing at  sunrise.   

At 4 a.m. we were having breakfast and preparing for as Jack  called it,
‘Showtime.’ Off we drove in great anticipation.   

We arrived well before the sun and walked through the desert  toward
our destination, where Jack had selected his image the  day before. As I
moved about searching for compositions, I  began to feel some panic.
My image wasn't materializing and  the sun would soon rise. I
exclaimed to Jack it appeared he had  found ‘the’ composition. He
immediately discounted my  comment and reminded me there were lots
of compositions  here. I instantly recognized the truth in his statement
and  immediately refocused. Just seconds later, I recognized the 
composition that was to become ‘Evening at Dawn.’ I dropped  to my
knees, set up my camera and within 2 minutes the sun  struck the hill
tops in the background. Not a breath of wind.   

Jack declared, “Showtime.” We photographed feverishly for  several
minutes. It was over as fast as it had begun. I looked  over at Jack as he
packed up his gear. He looked up and  bristled, "You must lead some
kind of monastic lifestyle or  something. I've been here two full days
waiting for the wind to  quit blowing. You show up and BOOM, the
wind stops and you  get your photograph." We both laughed.   

Creating ‘Evening at Dawn’ in the presence of a master whose  work had
touched me deeply for years, was a defining moment  in my maturation
as an artist.   


    Awake awhile.  

It does not have to be
Right now.

One step upon the Sky's soft skirt
Would be enough.

Awake awhile.
Just one True moment of Love
Will last for days.

Rest all your elaborate plans and tactics
For Knowing Him,
For they are all just frozen spring buds
So far from Summer's Divine Gold.

Awake, my dear.
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out into the vast fields of Light
And let it breathe.

Give me back my wings.
Lift me,
Lift me nearer."

Say to the sun and moon,
Say to our dear Friend,

"I will take You up now, Beloved,
On that wonderful Dance You promised."

~ Hafiz ~      

(I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz -- Daniel Ladinsky)      

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Song for Nobody  

By Thomas Merton
(1915 - 1968)

A yellow flower
(Light and spirit)
Sings by itself
For nobody.

A golden spirit
(Light and emptiness)
Sings without a word
By itself.

Let no one touch this gentle sun
In whose dark eye
Someone is awake.

(No light, no gold, no name, no color
And no thought:
O, wide awake!)

A golden heaven
Sings by itself
A song to nobody.

from Selected Poems of Thomas Merton    

with David Whyte

This conversation took place in the New Dimensions Radio Studios

Michael Toms: On the cover of your book, Crossing the Unknown Sea, there’s a wonderful painting of sea meeting the land. I’m struck by your use of water and sea in this book. Do you see the sea as a metaphor for the journey of our life–crossing the great sea.

David Whyte: Yes. I’ve always loved the sea. I did live at sea for a year and a half when I lived in the Galapagos Islands as a naturalist guide. So, the rhythms of the sea, and the different light at different times of day, and the way you’re constantly in conversation with the elements seem just a wonderful metaphor for life. We often use the metaphor of the path–the path through life. But in some ways I think that may be too solid, as if you could see it ahead of you. Whereas a sea crossing is very accurate as to our own experience of life. In a sea crossing, where you fetch up on the horizon depends upon your conversation with the elements. Also, the other thing that is very accurate about a sea crossing as a metaphor is when you look behind you from the stern of your boat, you can’t quite tell exactly how you got to this place, just as you can’t, in your own life, turn ’round and tell anyone, or even yourself, exactly how you got to this place in your work, in your place that you live, in your marriage, in your sense of yourself. You just see a wake for a while, and it disappears into the glittering past. And you don’t exactly know from what portion of the horizon you came.

So there’s something very elemental about it. And I was reading Patrick O’Brien at the time, the novels that are set in the British Navy in the eighteenth century, and lapping them up because they were not just great adventure novels, but also a great study of human relationship and the way the relationship changes according to the atmospheres of the sea around it. So I wanted a metaphor that I’d be interested in, that I would have energy for, that I would enjoy. Hence, Crossing the Unknown Sea.

MT: You often use the imagery of the elements. I'm reminded how we really have to learn to blend with nature, blend with the natural world as opposed to trying to control it or overcome it.

DW: Yes. I think human beings do that best by paying attention to it. Our method of blending is actually by not disappearing, but by joining the conversation, by paying tremendous attention to what is around you. There’s a great body of poetry which is really an invitation to a deeper fall of attention, in which you create a conversation which emancipates you into larger and larger understandings of yourself and the world, through the conversation itself, not through your effort alone.

[...] second excerpt:

MT: Most poets don’t make a living writing poetry.

DW: Exactly. Yes, exactly, but you never know.

MT: True, you really never know. That story reminds me of a story that the late mythologist, Joseph Campbell told about himself. He was in Paris studying for his doctorate in Medieval Languages, and wandered into the Shakespeare Bookstore and Ulysses, metaphorically fell off the shelf into his hands, and suddenly he was transported into a whole other world, and it changed his life forever.

DW: And the great question always is, when you have those threshold moments, can you harvest? Can you harvest that moment? Because all the great traditions, whether they’re our great contemplative or literate traditions, are saying that these moments of revelation are occurring all the time, and the question is are you paying attention? Can you harvest the revelation? Are you at the threshold? Or are you far back, deep inside some insulation? Have you given up on the world? Do you think that work is totally about manipulation and about arrangement and about "to do" lists and about getting things done? Or do you see it as some kind of ongoing conversation with greater and greater worlds?

MT: In some ways it’s like these thresholds are taking us to the edges of cliff. Sometimes we’re willing to take the risk and jump, and other times we turn away, turn back.

DW: It’s one of the themes that I think is very strong in Crossing the Unknown Sea. It was very strong for me as I was writing it–there is the necessity for a frontier in your life, for a cliff edge, for an internal outlaw, for an edge, for a sense that you’re not completely in control, that you have edges of vulnerability and unknowing. Instead of feeling weaker because of that vulnerability, it simply increases your attentive faculties. You pay tremendous attention and go deeper and deeper into the frontier lands and into the conversation itself. You start to understand as you apprentice yourself to that form of attention, that you’re actually not making all the changes happen. Your task is simply to make sure the conversation is alive, and all the changes you want will come out of that conversation.

[ entire article: ]  

  "What is meant by nonduality, Mahatmi? It means that light and
shade, long and sort, black and white, can only be experienced in
relation to each other, light is not independent of shade, nor black
of white."

"There are no opposites, only relationships. In the same way,
nirvana and the ordinary world of suffering are not two things but
related to each other. There is no nirvana except where the world of
suffering is; there is no world of suffering apart from nirvana. For
existence is not mutually exclusive."

~Lankavatara Sutra

  If there were any object, any doctrine, that could be given to you to hold
on to or understand, it would reduce you to bewilderment and
externalism. It’s just a spiritual openness, with nothing that can be
grasped; it is pure everywhere, its light clearly penetrating, outwardly
and inwardly luminous through and through.

-Te-shan From Teachings of Zen, edited by Thomas Cleary

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