pop-up shoe sale (13 July 2014)

pop-up shoe sale (13 July 2014)

My relationship with the I Ching was complex from the very beginning. Despite repeated re‑reading of the text, in translation and later in the original Chinese, I have never come across anything that looks much like wisdom. Meanwhile, on the internet, whole armies of crazies advanced their theories about the book: that it coded the deep structures of human DNA; that it provided mathematical proof of the Mayan prophecy of the ending of the world; that it might hold the secret to that holy grail of the physicists, a Theory of Everything.

Will Buckingham, in The uncertainty machine (Aeon Magazine)

Traditionally, the I Ching and its hexagrams were thought to pre-date recorded history, and based on traditional Chinese accounts, its origins trace back to the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE. Modern scholarship suggests that the earliest layers of the text may date from the end of the 2nd millennium BCE, but place doubts on the mythological aspects in the traditional accounts. Some consider the I Ching the oldest extant book of divination, dating from 1,000 BCE and before. The oldest manuscript that has been found, albeit incomplete, dates back to the Warring States period (475–221 BCE). (from Wikipedia: I Ching)

 

 

untitled #098 (invisible city) 26 June 2014

untitled #098 (invisible city) 26 June 2014

“Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise.” (The Surangama Sutra)

The image is a detail of “Invisible City”, created in 2003 by Anton Parsons, and located on Lambton Quay, Wellington, at the intersection with Grey Street. But I have reoriented and cropped my image to emphasise the illusion of steel balls falling.

The Wellington Sculptures web-site notes that “The stainless steel of this sculpture seems to glow with an inner light. The magnified Braille text suggests a message, but the artist chooses to deny us access, raising issues of communication in the contemporary world, and the difficult interface between the disabled and the rest of the community.”

Anton Parsons explains: “Invisible City is an appropriate public work because it functions on several levels: Aesthetics – even without understanding that the dots on the two boxes are braille text, Invisible City is an aesthetically pleasing object – it doesn’t have to be read to be appreciated. Tactile – it is made to be touched. Surface – Invisible City is polished stainless steel, and reflects its surroundings. When looking at it you see a reflection of Wellington.”

 

cycle sign

cycle sign

.

An unexpected trip yesterday evening (on the doorstep of a friend I’d gone to visit) afforded me the opportunity to sprawl in his hallway and engage briefly with the spokes of his bicycle.

Several fingers bled a little, but there was no chance of my qualifying as a stigmatic.

There’s an old saying: “Pride goes before a fall,” and I briefly wondered whether I had been guilty of some especially prideful thought, word, or deed. But nothing came to mind.

The experience was not something I care to repeat.

It had been many years (if not decades) since I took a tumble – for which I am heartily thankful – but, following a life-threatening accident at eleven years of age, I had been prone to tripping and falling, time and again, as if my body were caught in some psychic repeat cycle.

For years, I harboured deep resentment that the angels of God had allowed me to trip and fall – I did, after all, lose a lot of blood. But eventually it occurred to me that I had not been alone, and I had not bled to death.

Life goes on. And I give thanks.

 

 

Chinese abacus

Chinese abacus

.

.

At BB’s Orient Express, the Chinese restaurant at which I enjoy a smorgasbord-style lunch once or twice each week, the ladle-wielding owner/manager cannot count.

No, that’s not strictly true. I ask for a three-choice meal, and she always adds something extra to my plate – a fried wonton, an extra dumpling, a morsel or two of crunchy-battered fish (so melt-in-the-mouth tender) …

There’s no charge for a cup of Chinese tea – or for the little bowl of chicken and sweetcorn soup that often gets added to my tray.

Occasionally, when she’s been busy and someone else serves me, she brings soup to my table as I’m preparing to leave.

A couple of times, she has brought a little white paper bag to the table, and she squeezes my shoulder as I peek inside.

Today, it was after two o’clock when I arrived. Most of the regulars had gone back to their offices and meeting-rooms. I placed my order, handed over my Eftpos card, then reached for a pair of chopsticks. When my plate arrived, there were six dumplings instead of the standard-issue four, and, perched atop the heaped plate, a succulent spring roll with a tender, crunchy wrapping. And soup, of course.

Chinese arithmetic can be very persuasive. In the long run, all my return visits add up.

__________

Chinese arithmetic has a reputation for being difficult for western minds to comprehend – hence the phrase, “Hard as Chinese arithmetic.” The Urban Dictionary explains what the phrase has come to mean, but that is another (tangential) story.

Plans to upgrade my in-house storage arrangements took a great leap forward on Friday evening when (at extremely short notice) I took delivery of six units of storage furniture: four open cubes constructed from recycled wooden pallets, and two tall cabinets with adjustable glass shelves.

Zen trash (10 October 2010)

Zen trash (10 October 2010)

Acquired at a nominal price from a retail store not far from where I work, the items had been superseded by the recently-refurbished store’s new display units.

I could envisage how well suited to my specs these items would be, but the temporary bedlam triggered by their arrival chez moi, and the time and effort it would take to usher in the new order, pressed me to postpone the dinner scheduled for Sunday evening.

Out of town all day Saturday, I was not up to making a start on the re-org until Sunday morning, when suddenly everything seemed to clarify itself … and the bulk of the work is already done.

Most of what I want to retain fits well within the space structured by the open cubes, and it looks like there are nine cartons I can empty and dispose of. Three further cartons will, I anticipate, soon be collected by their owner (my daughter).

winter, day one (01 June 2014)

winter, day one (01 June 2014)

Standing at a pedestrian crossing on Cambridge Terrace (Wellington) this morning, waiting for the green man. Glancing up at the blue sky. Is that something leaping about in my shoulder bag?

“It’ll only take a moment.” (Did I hear a voice?)

“Okay then … but be quick.”

Out comes the camera, set to auto. 

Can’t beat Wellington on a good day … even in winter.

 

autumn reflection (05 May 2014)

autumn reflection (05 May 2014)

hi-viz orange (02 May 2014)

hi-viz orange (02 May 2014)

The din I heard as I emerged from my bathroom turned out to be coming from a chainsaw wielded by one of the workmen the city council had sent to strip the ivy and other creepers from the green bank behind my apartment block. The devastation they’d wreaked appalled me, and I felt some concern for my own garden – lavender, roses, and camellias.

Scheduled to go into the city, I caught a bus whilst they were on their morning smoko, but before doing so I took a minute to squeeze off a few close-ups of the monarch butterfly disturbed and dislodged by the hack and rack of the two orange-clad, hi-viz-wearing workmen.

My garden had never been in danger, in fact … although the next day my nose dripped, my eyes itched … and, oh my, such sneezing fits! – the ivy, I’m guessing.

The title of this post and the phrase, “hack and rack”, come from Binsey Poplars by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

 

Stations of the Cross #5, "Simon of Cyrene carries the cross", Notre-Dame Basilica, Geneva.

Stations of the Cross #5, “Simon of Cyrene carries the cross”, Notre-Dame Basilica, Geneva.

On Good Friday I sat in church, watching and listening as most of the congregation followed the priest around the fourteen Stations of the Cross. The woman with the walking-frame, stoically devout, completed the circuit with the others, while her white-muzzled black dog hobbled back and forth up and down the nave, stopping to receive attention from some of those who, like me, had remained in their pews.

Meditations translated from the words of French poet Paul Claudel were spoken gently by a man known for his work as a broadcaster. Between the meditations, periods of silence were terminated by spells of difficult and discordant organ music – some strident, some morose – which I could have done without.

I had earlier told the woman who had welcomed me that my parents had been married in this church, and that I had been baptized here.

I will return to St Peter’s on Willis on Easter Day, looking forward to the Eucharistic ritual I have not shared in since Midnight Mass at Wellington Cathedral on Christmas Eve.

__________

The tradition of moving around the Stations to commemorate the Passion of Christ began with St. Francis of Assisi and extended throughout the Roman Catholic Church in the medieval period. It is also observed in Lutheranism and Anglo-Catholicism. It is most commonly done during Lent, especially on Good Friday (from Wikipedia: Stations of the Cross).

Wikimedia Commons includes a page with links to images of twelve of the fourteen Stations of the Cross by sculptor Jean-Bernard Duseigneur. (This page gives his name as Jean-Baptiste Du Seigneur, and he is elsewhere known as Jehan Duseigneur; eg, on Paris Sculptures.) Born in Paris in 1808, Duseigneur studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, and in 1831 achieved renown when he exhibited Roland Furieux, often regarded as the first romantic sculpture (now in the Louvre). Soon afterwards he turned almost exclusively to the production of religious works (adapted from a brief article in Wikipedia).

PS – Easter Day: The old black dog, Emma, was there again today; she, like the other “regulars”, was wearing her name-tag. 

 

rip-off (18 April 2014)

rip-off (18 April 2014)

A friend has more than once suggested that I could use some of my “abstract” photographs as a start-point for paintings. Another friend, seeing this new photograph today, said it could be a painting. Okay, I guess it could. But I would find that difficult, since it seems finished – complete in itself. There is nothing missing for me to paint.

FOR THE EYES …

cross-ties (28 Dec 06)

cross-ties (28 Dec 06)

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