Contemplative Photography: Auggie's Photo Album

Here's a clip from the movie "Smoke". Paul  (William Hurt) looks through Auggie’s photo albums, or as Auggie calls it “his life’s work.” The photos consist of the same street corner, at the same time, everyday for years. Paul doesn't get it ("they all look the same") until Auggie counsels him to slow down and appreciate the uniqueness of each image.


"The person who dares to be alone can come to see that the 'emptiness' and 'uselessness' which the collective mind fears and condemns are necessary conditions for the encounter with truth. It is in the desert of loneliness and emptiness that the fear of death and the need for self-affirmation are seen to be illusory." - Thomas Merton, "Raids on the Unspeakable"

Mothers and Children

Physical exercise isn't all physical. A case in point was when on a recent bike ride I observed moms and their children in relationship at two ends of the lifespan. The first was on a woodland trail where two helmeted moms were biking with a young boy and girl, also helmeted. As I passed them on the narrow trail, going in the opposite direction, I heard one mom exclaim to the young girl ahead of her, "nice going, way to go!" after the girl had apparently negotiated a difficult aspect of the trail. Later, I cut through a cemetery, where, there was a man and his mom placing flowers at a grave. In passing close by, and feeling a little self-conscious as if I was the interloper, I said, "good morning" to mom which she acknowledged and inwardly I acknowledged all the souls there who lay at peace, apparently in relationship still.

A Master

"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both." - François-René de Chateaubriand


Love after Love

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other's welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life. 

 ~ Derek Walcott ~