My hands are trembling as I type this. I was out for my lunchtime walk and almost was hit by a car. I was crossing the street and the driver was turning left and wasn’t paying attention because he didn’t make any attempt to stop until I screamed and ran out of the way.

I made it to the corner and he stopped and I turned to him with a look of horror and yelled, “You almost hit me!! I was crossing the street! Jesus Fucking Christ!!” and he looked mortified but blew me off by waving his hands in a kind of “I’m Sorry gesture” and he drove away.

I kept on walking, very shaken, and then I had to stop on the sidewalk and cry because I don’t know what else to do with these feelings that bubble up to the surface when I am in this situation.

I have been hit by a car in the past and so am very sensitive about this and I am very unforgiving when I find myself in this situation. The last time this happened I decided the person needed to understand my feelings and I made it very clear to them, by yelling hysterically, that they could have killed me. Afterward I felt bad about doing that, along with feeling like an idiot for completely losing my cool.

This time I just walked away and cried. I am not sure I feel any better right now.

Rage and anger boil up to the surface regardless.

How can people be so completely oblivious?

How dare they?!?

I don’t know what to do with this anger that goes hand in hand with the terrifying fear I am also feeling.


This is me facing my fear


Today I’m thinking about the tenuous nature of life and It is stirring up all kinds of feelings. I don’t know what to do with them. I guess I am just going to sit here with them. I want to grab a hold of something substantial, something concrete, and never let go. But that won’t work because things go away. So I am left with this feeling of the ground shifting beneath my feet and it scares me a little bit. A lot. It scares me a lot.

Fear and running in Sandy, Oregon


I’ve been working with fear for the past couple months.

At the end of August I saw a Facebook post in my neighboorhood watch group that a mountain lion cub was spotted sleeping in the middle of the path of a popular trail that winds through town. The cub was seen at around noon on a Friday. Well. We all know what it means when a baby is spotted. It means a mom isn’t far away. I recalled how that very morning I did my usual Friday Morning 4 mile run along that very trail, right around day break (when they are most active). I probably ran right past it.

I am very afraid of mountain lions.  And I have reason to fear. They actually attack humans. I recall at least two news stories when I lived in California where a runner and a bike rider were killed by mountain lions. So yeah. It’s a rational fear.

Yet It was bugging me because, while it is something could could possibly happen  I was really letting it get to me.  I wondered if it went from being rational to irrational. Yes, there have been attacks on humans, but what, really, were my chances of getting attacked?

I tried running on parts of the trail, but the fear of getting attacked was so great that I ruined the relaxing nature of the run. I had to finish it on the street. Each time I would go out I would try to talk myself into running on the trail, but when I got to the trail head and saw the sign I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Finally, one Friday,about three weeks later, I woke up and I wasn’t afraid anymore. I didn’t wake up with that dread of fear. I decided that this was the day I would run on the trail again. So I did. And it felt good. Oddly, all of the signs were taken down, so apparently the threat moved on.

It makes me wonder if that fear I was feeling was my gut telling me to avoid the trail. Maybe primal instinct was keeping me off the trail while the mountain lions (it turns out it was a mother and 2 cubs) made their home there. And then when they left, so did my fear.



lost shoe

We went hiking with our pinhole cameras up at the Salmon River on Memorial Day weekend and the trail was a little more crowded than usual, thus, more people curious about the cameras we were using. Someone had left a baby’s bright pink shoe sitting on a rock at the trailhead and I instinctively decided to photograph it with my pinhole camera. As I was exposing the shot, a couple wandered up the trail and the woman asked me, “Why are you photographing the shoe?” The question took me by surprise because I didn’t have an answer. I don’t know why I did it. I just did it. My answer to her was completely idiotic. I think I said, “Oh we are just messing around.” And she said, “you are in a beautiful place for photography” and I said, “Yes it really is.” Weirdly, I felt like I was defending myself. I kind of had this weird nudge of anger.

As I hiked along and ranted to my husband obsessively about it for a few minutes I realized why her question bothered me. I think it bothered me because she asked “Why.” When people ask me about my camera I am very happy to obliged them. But the “why” question as it relates to creativity is odd. Why does anyone do anything? When you do something creative it is not done from that place in us where we are thinking intellectually. Creativity is more intuitive and instinctual. And I think the creative person inside of me resents having to defend her creative impulses.

Now that I have thought about it I know why I chose the shot: I liked the color contrast. I was using Ektar film (known for its saturation) and I liked the bright pink against the greens of the forest. I also liked the juxtaposition of the shoe in the natural environment. But saying all of this kind of takes the magic out of it, doesn’t it?


Geeky Bits:
Camera: Terrapin Bijou
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Exposure time: 10 seconds

Enjoy the silence


Yesterday I went to my third-ever all day meditation retreat. I have to admit, I was little anxious about going a few days before I went. And if I was being really honest with myself, I was a little cranky about going. The thought of spending an entire day doing nothing but sitting and breathing and not talking to anyone sounded excruciatingly boring. I could think of a million other things I wanted to do. I could think of a million things I probably should otherwise be doing on one of my days of the weekend.

But I went because I knew that I needed to go.

I practice Buddhism in the Sōtō Zen tradition, which focuses on zazen (sitting meditation). And this is what we did for most of the day. We sat for 20 minutes, and then we would do something else to break up the zazen, like walking meditation, or work practice (cleaning, gardening, etc). We had a formal lunch, and we even did a form of meditation called Mondo (which is really cool). These extra things broke up the day in-between periods of sitting. We were not to speak to each other the entire day unless it was to give very brief instructions during the periods between zazen.

It seems weird to not talk to other people, almost rude actually. However, once you are in this kind of setting you realize that you can communicate with other beings without words. No I don’t mean telepathic mind-meld. I am just saying that words are only one way we communicate. Maybe we don’t need to  constantly be speaking to one another.  It’s ok to explore not speaking to other humans who are in the same room with you. You know?

The first 20 minutes of meditation first thing in the morning I almost panicked because I sat there, bored and wondered if this is what I was going to be dealing with all day. Not a great way to start things off.

But then my mind settled and I fell into a groove of watching my breath and my thoughts.

At some point in the afternoon I realized that I was, very much, enjoying the silence. My life is full of chatter and noise. I work in a public library and noise comes at me from so many directions. And I am an introvert – so this chatter tends to tire me out. I have gotten used to living with this constant chatter that I don’t even notice it anymore. Until it isn’t there. So I was really grateful for the lack of chatter yesterday. It allowed me to really follow what was going on inside my head, and it allowed me to put  some space around all of the thoughts so I could watch them arise and fall as they drifted through my mind.

Interesting thing that happened: all of those things that I felt like “I should otherwise be doing” didn’t matter at the end of the day. And they still don’t matter.

Self On Lake Shore


self on lake shore (pinhole)

Today’s photoblog is a pinhole self portrait I took a few weeks ago at Trillium Lake. It is my first paper negative. I have since made several more images using photographic paper and I’m really enjoying learning how to do this. I will post more about this in a future blog post.

I might have mentioned that I really love doing pinhole self portraits. I don’t know why, but the why is not really important I guess.* The point is that I am drawn to this kind of photography.

I have been reading The Diary Of Anaïs Nin and am very much inspired by it. It reminds me that I used to write more about myself and my life on this blog and I miss it. I might return to that kind of writing here (in addition to the photography, of course).

And, while we are on the subject of self reflection, I think that this will be the first of a series of pinhole self portraits for awhile on my photo blog.


Geeky bits
Camera: Zero Image 4×5 25mm configuration
Paper: Illford RC glossy (I think?)
Development: Illford multigrade developer 1 minute 20 seconds.

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Give it away, Now.

Floating Flower

A few days ago someone shared an article at The Onion about a Buddhist extremist cell threatening to unleash peace and tranquility on the West.  Being both Buddhist and a fan of satire, I thought it was hilarious.

Then I thought, “you know, this isn’t a bad idea.”

I am weary of all the hate and violence in the world, especially at the moment. I am tired of us hating each other and killing each other.

You can’t fight hate with more hate.

So I am going to unleash a torrent of love on the world.

The month of December will be a meditation on love.

I am going to start here, with this thought:

In Zen Buddhism, when we come together as a group and meditate we “give away” our merit at the end by dedicating our meditation to those that we know (or don’t know) who are sick and those who have passed on. This idea of giving away merit is an interesting idea. I have been doing this not really knowing what it means until very recently. I always thought it was a beautiful part of our meditation session, but now that I know what we are doing I really like it all the more.

Meditation is one way of earning merit in Buddhism. I guess you can look it as earning good karma points, or something sort of along those lines.  when we earn this merit we don’t hold onto it. We give it away. The idea is that it is unleashed into the world and relieves it of suffering.

I like this idea of giving away these things once you have them. This is love, don’t you think? When you have it unleash it out into the world. Don’t hold onto it.