Light and Dark

Life

Refined and common speech come together in the dark,

 clear and murky phrases are distinguished in the light.

………

In the light there is darkness,

but don’t take it as darkness;

In the dark there is light,

but don’t see it as light.

From “Harmony Of Difference And Sameness,” a poem by Zen Master Shitou Xiqian and chanted in Zen temples around the world.

 

Winter Solstice is coming in a few days. I am looking forward to the move back toward longer days. This has been a very mild winter for us, and for that I am very grateful. But, man, I have such a hard time with the long stretches of dark during this time of year.

At my Zen center we are studying the Sandokai, a poem that is chanted in Zen centers throughout the world. The poem has a lot to say about light and dark. I’ve quoted a couple of lines above. Last night at our meditation meet-up our teacher gave a talk about light and dark and elaborated on how the poem is telling us that darkness is unifying. In the dark we can’t see differences, it is when the light comes that we notice details. She told us about the wonderful way she experienced during a predawn meditation session at a retreat. As she sat, the sun rose and she noticed how it illuminated and showed her the detail of what was around her, rocks sitting in the distance  were revealed to be people sitting  a small distance away.

I can’t say I’ve had this kind of experience. I’ve only experienced darkness as a negative thing and something that I’ve avoided.  I am, admittedly, a little bit afraid of the dark. I have to fall asleep with the light on in the bedroom if I am alone. I never seemed to grow out of this infantile fear.

However, this Buddhist way of looking at the dark is different.  That the the dark represents our interconnectedness.

I don’t have anything really to say about it except, “wow.” It’s a new way of looking at the world. And I wonder how I can use this understanding to help me get through the winter?

Pinhole in the Library: Cleaning Up

Photography

This is the last of my series of Pinhole In the Library photos, the final image that I had printed for the library’s art wall. This was another one from my “One Pinhole A Day” project from last year. I wanted to pinhole myself cleaning up after storytime, curious as to how all of the movement would look as a pinhole image. I liked the result!
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Geeky Bits:
Camera: Ondu MK2 6×6
Film: Portra 160
Exposure Time: 1 minute 33 seconds

As I type this my muscles are aching. It’s winter and I’ve been running early in the morning in the dark. On Wednesday I was trucking along gleefully when I tripped and very dramatically landed and skidded on the sidewalk. I laid on my back and stared up into the stars as I regained my composure. When that happened, I sat up and looked myself over. I wasn’t bleeding. So I got up and finished my run. But my muscles have been achy ever since. And then this morning I was running (after the sun had risen) in the cold. I slipped on some ice and my leg muscle cramped from the act of bracing myself for a fall, which I didn’t do (thank goodness). So this evening I am sitting here feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck and realizing I should just run on the treadmill until winter is over.
With all of that in mind, here is the musical soundtrack to this post. Which really is more about the video.

A photo and some rambling thoughts

Photography

First, more pinhole in the library!

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This is one of the photos I printed to have hanging in the library this month. The photos were hung the other day and it was really awesome to come to work to find my photos the ones featured on our art wall. Kind of surreal, actually. In an wonderful way. 🙂

Now for the musical soundtrack for this post. Honestly, this should be a different blog post because the song has nothing at all to do with the photo. The only reason I’m posting it is because it’s been an earworm for me the past couple of days. I woke up crying yesterday with this song stuck in my head after a dream in which David Bowie made an appearance. I am not sure what it was all about but it did leave me feeling sad and foggy brained all day yesterday. I am feeling much happier today but have been thinking about what was going on in my head yesterday. I realized that this week (a couple of days ago) marks the 8 year anniversary of my stepfather’s death, so I think there has been some sadness seeping through. Which is totally fine. As I was on the elliptical machine today I thought: you know, I hope I never stop feeling sadness for those that I love who have passed on. They deserve to be remembered and missed.

And now the song. It’s a great song.

Geeky Bits
Camera: Holga PC
Film: Ektar 100
Exposure Time: 7 minutes