Category Archives: Photography

Will be back soon: Gone Lookin’

Fear is a good thing[…]fear is what drives us to take risks and extend ourselves beyond our normal limits, and any writer who feels he is standing on safe ground is unlikely to produce anything of value.

– Paul Auster, “Invisible”

Dear Void,

I have felt fear this past nine weeks. A lot of fear. I smelled the sulphur breath of a dragon still many miles away but surely snorting in anticipation of meeting me. It was healthy until…

…I stopped writing every day. You may have noticed. The fear became stale and crippling. The sulphur had plugged my synaptic junctions.

My thoughts now stray so far that my hands are always playing catch-up without ever catching up.

So here’s a pensive pause.

I’ll miss looking into you, dear Void, but I need to look into finding fresh fear.

I hope you’ll miss me too.

I shan’t be long.

Love,
Sam

To feed on fresh fear
confidently go Pale Fish
to water’s surface

Pond (c) Sam Rappaz

Seeing “The weight of One Self”

"The weight of One Self" - marble sculpture of height 2.7m by artists Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, in Lyon, France.
“The weight of One Self” – sculpture of height 2.7m by artists Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, in Lyon, France.
I look at my limp
body in my arms and I
wonder who saved whom.
I can only hold
the weight of my own conscience,
talk the truth I know.
Never a hero
was made by saving himself-
Completely untrue.

 

You can read more about this philosophically forceful sculpture here.

The reward of just light and sound

We welcomed the new year from a chalet, looking over a vast valley sparkling with the fluorescent lights of alpine villages. We had the Milky Way above and its poor but deeply enchanting reflection below us. At midnight the villagers lit their fireworks and we opened our window to let in the sub-zero winds that carried the crackle and pop of communal cheer. We saw before we heard. We felt before we saw. We then turned out our lights to watch and listen.
There is something so poetic about seeing light suddenly emerge from darkness. It kindles an emotion of pure joy in me. I wonder if that is a remnant of my very first experience of light, as I emerged into it almost three decades ago.

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Colour is the touch of the eye, music to the deaf, a word out of the darkness.

– Orhan Pahmuk, “My Name is Red

 

Entry for Weekly Photo Challenge: I consider this moment the greatest reward for not having subjected us to the tyranny of a typical "New Year Party".

My Favourite Things, Chorus (to end the series)

When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

 

Here’s the final entry for the chorus of My Favourite Things (from The Sound of Music) to conclude the wonderful series of Subjects from Songs, for Cee’s weekly Fun Foto Challenge.

 

When the dog bites

Dog bites can hurt. I was bitten by a stray dog when I was a child growing up in India. I was on a morning walk with my father and he stopped to chat with a neighbour. I kept walking. I turned around to see my dad talking to his friend, not too far away and then I spotted this scrawny black little dog who’d been following me. I love dogs and I always have so I stopped and faced him. I was a little nervous, to be sure and I gingerly stretched out my left arm to pet him. He got spooked and bit into my arm. I screamed and my dad came running. I vaguely remember what happened next: My dad rushed me home and washed my arm, and then rushed me to the doctor’s for rabies shots. I am now a proud owner of a canine’s canine marks on my arm. A poor man’s battle scars. However I’ve never stopped loving dogs.

I share with you a picture of a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog (Berner Sennenhund), a class of breeds related to the famous St. Bernard of the Swiss and Italian Alps. Senne is German for alpine pastures and Hund means dog. The Sennenhund class contains four working dog breeds. The breed in picture here is named after its canton of origin, Bern. This beauty was extremely friendly and full of love. She enjoyed the attention and loved being cuddled. There are very few things in my life that I would rate higher on the happiness scale than a good cuddle from a big fluffy dog.

Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog

 

When the bee stings

I have never been stung by a bee. I hope that it never happens. Their’s is the kind of beauty that I enjoy from a distance.

Passion Flower with Bee
Passion Flower with Bee

 

When I’m feeling sad

I can’t wait for spring!
Fog
 

I simply remember my favourite things

Here are the links to my previous posts for My Favourite Things series

Verse 1: Raindrops on Roses & whiskers on kittens…

Verse 2: Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels… (which was selected by Cee to be ‘Featured’)

Verse 3: Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes…

 

And then I don’t feel so bad…

…to present the grand finale to The Sound of Music Tour.

What better way to end the tour than by visiting the church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp got married!

The church in the village of Mondsee in the outskirts of Salzburg where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married in the movie.

Church in Mondsee
A peak inside the church. You should be able to recognise the altar from the movie.

Altar at Mondsee church

A closer view…
Altar in Mondsee Church

We see Maria’s long beautiful train from above as “How do you solve a problem like Maria” plays in the background. This was probably shot from where the organ of the church is located.
Organ in Mondsee Church

 

We know what happens next in the tensed climax of the movie. I will not ruin it for those who haven’t yet watched this wonderful and uplifting piece of cinema. I will instead conclude this series of posts by thanking the wonderful people at Panorama Tours in Salzburg, Austria for running an excellent Sound of Music Tour. I heartily recommend it!

Panorama Tour Salzburg
The Sound of Music Tour bus, Panorama Tours, Salzburg Austria

Thank you for coming along with me as I made my way through one of my favourite songs! I hope you enjoyed the ride.

(A sonnet) For Now

Paraglider (c) Sam Rappaz, 2015
(c) Sam Rappaz, 2015

So high above the land I love I glide
With no wasted effort by me. Just wind
That’s heated below raises me to defy
The laws of gravity. Seeing no sin
Of man–only the open world as naked
As fresh love–I use my skin to respond
To the contours of earth, roughly caressed
By blankets of cosmic silk. I turn around
That hill of restraint and dangle my legs
From the seat of danger. In time it’ll end;
The wind will die on a gasp as night takes breath.
I will be down flat on ground. I’ll suspend
My reverie. But not quite yet. The wind’s
still supreme and gently keeps alive my dreams.

I wonder how it feels to paraglide. I have never tried it but when I look at people soaring across the landscape I feel as though the wind is speaking to me as much as it is to them.
At present, I am arrested by the "playful, silk-ribbon bondage of the sonnet". A lovely metaphor for writing in meter by A.E. Stallings (From essay "Crooked Roads Without Improvement: Some Thoughts on Formal Verse")

Asymmetric love in a symmetric world

Alcazar, Seville.
Alcazar, Seville
Though symmetry can be pleasing to the eyes asymmetry can grab all your senses.

 

An informal ode to an uncharacteristic love

I wrote, in quiet symmetry of love and loss,
About the ineptitude of wisdom’s foresight.
One hears and sees but does not learn until one crosses
The path littered with shattered hopes. A light
glows and I divine thick patterns out of thin air.
This design will be positive because you can trace
Out the negative with architectural flair.
Your skewed beauty gives me courage to colour outside
The lines. Asymmetry now fills my life and this I find
To be perfectly in line with my girlhood dreams.
O Wonderful Anomaly, you make me lose my rhyme scheme.
Why else would I love you so dearly?
 

This post is inspired by Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry and Daily Prompt: Cupid's Arrow.

My Favourite Things, Verse 3

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes,
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes,
Silver white winters that melt into springs,
These are a few of my favourite things.

 

We make our way through the third verse of My Favourite Things from the movie The Sound of Music. This post is my entry to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge where she’s doing a series on Subjects from Songs. You can find my entries to the previous verses in the songs by clicking on the respective hyperlinked texts: verse 1; verse 2. As usual I’ll be interpreting the verses in my own way.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Not really white dresses with blue sashes but don’t these ceramic columns look just as beautiful?

Blue on white ceramic fences of Plaza de Espana, Seville.
Plaza de Espana, Seville.

 

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Fresh snow flakes on a blue car bonnet. They reminded me of clouds in the sky. They make me dream.

Snowflakes on a blue car bonnet
Snowflakes on a blue car bonnet

 

Silver white winters that melt into springs

Who is weeping I wonder: The earth, for it is disrobing its soft silken gown of innocence to flower or the snow, for it is met with a warmth that it will never appreciate?

Switzerland

 

 

And now we continue on our The Sound of Music Tour,

A view of the beautiful Wolfgangsee and the surrounding hills (unfortunately hidden by rain clouds) which are featured aerially in the opening credits of the movie.

Wolfgangsee, Austria
Wolfgangsee, Austria

 

The famous path down which we see Maria (Julie Andrews) dancing, running, skipping, twirling her guitar singing herself into bravery! I like to sing this song before any public speaking appointment or interview.

I have confidence in confidence ALONE
I have confidence in confidence ALONE

 

The front of the Von Trapp family home that Maria sees when she finally meets that massive iron gate. The villa is now a private residence and tourists are no longer permitted even on the path leading to it (the image above). There is constant security around here and our bus driver just slowed down just enough for us to grab some blurry shots of the house. I am certain the current residents are extremely annoyed with Hollywood.

Salzburg, Austria
The Von Trapp family home front

 

So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu…

Until the next verse, which will bring us to our grand finale.

Re-aligning the Hindu scale

Madurai Meenakshi temple
Madurai Meenakshi temple

For One to Three
Forgetting the Two
Hundreds to millions to a billion
In faith that travels across
Space and time, no dimension or scale
Necessary to measure that
Which comforts and heals.
In belief they appear
Perfect, not in practice –
Forgetting there is a Two.
Some others philosophise on
The need to multiply
Ritualistic fractions
Keeping a single constant denominator.
Rationals drawing straight lines
Forget it takes two points.

And, or, either
Remember to factor
To carry over the base
And make equal
The Feminine.
From One to Two to Six.

In Hindu philosophy (at least in the interpretation I find satisfactory) there is the Supreme Being, the Brahman, which encompasses all deities. I find people interpreting this force as being masculine but I was taught that the Brahman in fact is also Shakti (meaning power) which is the feminine force. We forget that the One is made up of Two.

Here’s a quote by Sri Ramakrishna, one of the greatest Hindu spiritual leaders,

He who is Brahman is also Shakti. When thought of as inactive, He is called Brahman, and when thought of as Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, He is called the Primordial Energy, Kali. Brahman and Shakti are identical, like fire and its power to burn. When we talk of fire we automatically mean also its power to burn. Again, the fire’’s power to burn implies the fire itself. If you accept the one you must accept the other.

I feel that the three widely recognised Hindu Gods (or forces as I see them): Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Protector) and Shiva (Destroyer) should be counted as six, to include their feminine powers. These are – Sarawathi (Knowledge), Lakshmi (Prosperity) and Parvati (Love and devotion) respectively. Equal status!

(..)

Desserted haikus

Glistening pretty,
Dastardly tempting custard –
Tarty Strawberry

 

Strawberry tart
 

Opulent spices
Adorning seasonal cake –
Luxurious comfort

 

Christmas spice cake
 

Whipped white whispering
Hazel syrup caressing
Death by chocolate

 

Giant chocolate brownie

 

A part of the post was inspired by One Word Photo Challenge at Jennifer Nichole Wells' Blog

Lost & Found

‘To lose one’s identity’ suggests that
There must have been – a sort of ownership
Of self; a belonging to a band, a race,
A brand; a categorized face constantly
Possessed, framed to play a part on a screen.
The more one thinks, the boundaries shrink to
Reveal: that being labeled worsens
The sense of one, a blurring with the background,
A need to not keep an identity.
A rainbow in Black & White
A rainbow in Black & White