Back in the olden days of my early twenties I took a photography class while I attended community college. At the time I took a lot of pictures of doors. For some reason I was obsessed with doors. I remember one time I was out shooting in San Francisco (where i lived at the time) with a non photography friend. I took a lot of door photos that day. For some reason this made her grumpy and she made some kind of mean comment about my choice of subject and said that she never wanted to accompany me on one of these photo walks again.
She was kind of a mean person.
Anyway, her comment was obviously discouraging and made me not want to photograph doors anymore because I had this weird desire to please people that I cared about, rather than follow my own interests.
As I grew older, I said, fuck that and fuck that so called friend. I want to take pictures of doors, I’m taking pictures of doors. So here is one of them, shot with a Holga in the small town I live in, Sandy, Oregon. This is the front door of the historic white church in our town. The church is now a yoga studio owned by an Irish lady and is also the home of our sangha on Wednesday nights when we meditate.
I noticed awhile ago that this is a thing, this taking pictures of doors, and it’s a blog theme for Thursdays. So I think I am going to try to dig out those old photos and share them with you next week.
I dug out my old photo albums to see what treasures are in there and I found a few! I am pretty certain I took this photo. I remember this trip to Portland when I was a youngster and I specifically remember taking photos on this trip. It was one of our many trips to PDX to visit our friends and family (we drove from Spokane). Also, I think the goofy expressions on the subjects are a big giveaway that another kid took this photo.
My younger brother is in the middle and our neighborhood friends are on either side. They had either moved to Portland or we traveled with them to visit their family (whom we were also friends with).
I honestly am not sure what year this was taken. Sometime in the mid 70s. I am a year old than my brother and he looks to be about age 7 in this photo?
I remember during this trip I walked over to the corner convenience store to buy candy. I feel like I was alone. That doesn’t seem right, but I guess this was a different time. Anyway, I was at this convenience store and the clerk asked me why I wasn’t in school, very sternly. It scared me so I hustled out of the store. I felt really bad, like this person thought I was a hoodlum or something, and I didn’t want this person to think that I was a bad person. So it made me feel bad. God, the complicated emotions of kids are weird.
Anyway, we were on Spring Break that week. That’s why I wasn’t in school.
Every so often at my meditation group we will have a discussion about how we came to be “here.” As in, what led us to meditation, Buddhism, etc. The first time this question came up I remember I was the last person to speak and the entire time I was hoping I would have something interesting to say, but nothing really bubbled up to the surface, so I was forced to tell the truth when my turn came. Here is what I said. Here is the story of how I came to be a Buddhist.
I started on this path by using Buddhism as a tool. It was a way to get evangelizing Christians off my back. It was the perfect plan, because people in our culture know nothing about Buddhism. So when a Christian in my life started talking to me about “the lord,” I would tell them that I was Buddhist and they didn’t know what to do with that answer. So they would move on to another topic.
I realize this is horrible. I know, I lied. At the time, I wasn’t Buddhist. I, like the people I was lying to, hadn’t a clue what Buddhism was about at all. But it sounded cool and it was a way of easily avoiding the conversation.
But as I perpetuated this lie I became interested in this mysterious religion I knew nothing about. So started to research it and it began to resonate with me. I liked what I heard. I still continue to learn.
As I’ve delved deeper into my meditation practice and my study of the Dharma I have replaced my intolerance with tolerance for, not just Christianity, but other religions as well. This way is the right way for me, but maybe it isn’t the right way for you. Christianity is the right way for some people and that’s fantastic. It wasn’t for me.
There are lots of different paths to the truth.
Originally posted on Pinhole Obscura.
Once upon a time the Chief Of The Gods and his two sons, Pahto and Wy’east, traveled from the North down the Columbia River to find a place to settle. They came upon the most beautiful land they had ever seen and decided that this was the place. However, the two sons quarreled over the land and to settle the dispute their father shot two arrows from his bow: one to the North and one to the South. Pahto followed the arrow to the North and settled there, while Wy’east followed the arrow South. Their father then built A bridge across The Columbia so their family could gather from time to time.
Both sons fell in love with the same woman, the beautiful Loowit. She could not choose between them so the brothers fought each other for her hand. They buried villages in their destructive wake. The area was left devastated by their war, and the bridge built by their father fell into the Columbia river.
Their father punished the brothers by turning them into mountains. Wy’east became the volcano Mt. Hood, and Pahto became the volcano Mt Adams. The beautiful Loowit became Mt. Saint Helens which stands between Adams and Hood.
The bridge was rebuilt by men and is, to this day, known as The Bridge Of The Gods.
Exposure time: 5 seconds
Camera: Zero 2000
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Focal Length: 25mm
Dev: C-41 by Lab
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.