out in the midday sun

“and from the ends of the earth, across the thousands of miles of land and sea, kindly, well-meaning speakers tried to voice their fellow-feeling, and indeed did so, but at the same time proved the utter incapacity of every man truly to share in suffering that he cannot see…”

– Albert Camus, The Plague


Today, I will let my photos tell my story.

Except, one more thing?

Some words, from a colleague with whom I am fortunate to be working (in a virtual sense), who observed (more or less) “our planet has been suffering a fever for some time, now that we too have a fever, perhaps we will change”.

He nailed it.

Coronavirus is presenting us with not only what is perceived (by some) as an existential threat but perhaps also the reverse. Pollution across the world is down, perhaps because people, people like me, are grounded.

So, are we up for a change? I am, even if only in a small way. Every little helps, no?

And, perhaps as my photos suggest, we may be down, but our planet, nature is surely not.

Stay safe everyone.

…and a p.s. as expected, the hotel has (this morning Friday, 27 March) informed we remaining sixteen guests that they are considering closing next Wednesday. So my nomadic lifestyle continues, another twist and turn, watch this space.


*all images hand crafted with iPhone 11 Pro 4.25mm f/1.8 lens, unedited*

out in the midday sun

the march is over
the great destroyer
she passes through you like a knife

– lyrics from silver rider by low


After months of not writing, anything, at all, here on my blog, here I am. Again.

My excuse, well one of them anyway, for my prolonged absence has been my wrestling (procrastination) with a theme for my writing. I have a story to tell, a good one I think. Well, actually, I know it is. My challenge has been this. How much of the story that I have do I want to tell? Will there be consequences from the telling of that tale, intended or otherwise? Am I prepared to open my soul in the way that I feel I would like to? Will anyone care one way or another?

I will, eventually, I think hope, write more here in the coming days about my response to the current situation.

You know, that one.

Part of my response is the fact that I am writing, and will publish, these words. I don’t plan to edit my writing much, an experiment perhaps in letting the words show me the way. Maybe I will come to regret that, maybe not, we will see what we will see, no?

Over the last month I decided to start recording my thoughts, feelings and experiences in a journal on my MacBook Pro. Using Day One if you are interested in such things. And wow, did I pick an interesting time to do that.

I am writing this using my absolute favourite app for writing iA Writer. White screen. Plain text. Only current sentence highlighted. Total. Focus.

Writing it looking through the net curtains shading the window of my hotel room in Accra. The hotel in which I am now the only guest and which will probably close tomorrow. My heart goes out to all the staff here who have treated with so much consideration and kindness throughout my stay.

An empty road outside, birds alone continuing their business as usual. No flight cancellations for them. Unlike at Kotoka airport, just a short taxi ride away, from which all international flights in and out will be suspended from tonight. The majestic Sahara, so beguiling from my airline seat on so many flights, now a very hard barrier between me and home.

An adventure awaits.

About which I will write here.

At least that is the plan.

At the moment.

A random thought. About onions.

In recent months, when mulling over how to tell my tale, I concluded that I would write about onions. How, when an onion is peeled, the core becomes exposed gradually, fresh and juicy the inside opens up to us as layers of protection are removed, one by one. We are all going to experience that very soon as our world changes and we find ourselves focused on what lies beneath, as the layers are stripped off, painfully almost certainly.

We will discover who we are as we work together to face what lies ahead of us.

Much depends now on how each and every one of us rises to the challenge we face.

Our planet has a message, are we listening?

Will be kind and considerate?

Will we look after each other?

out in the midday sun | redux

‘When God decides to look the other way
And a clown takes the throne
We must find a way’

– lyrics to ‘dig down’ muse

After a (very) long absence from these pages, and a very long time since I posted an out in the midday sun piece, I feel the time to sharpen my pencil keyboard is nigh. As indeed time seems, nigh, right now. In an apocalyptic sense. Or, just maybe I’ve rediscovered my muse 😉

For a variety of reasons, about which I may (or may not) write here in subsequent posts, it looks like I will be sitting out the current crisis in Accra, Ghana.

I’ll be back.

Soon.

I hope.

#coronaviruswewillresistyou

uluru

‘the time has come to say fair’s fair
to pay the rent, to pay our share
the time has come, a fact’s a fact
it belongs to them, let’s give it back’

lyrics – midnight oil, beds are burning


As at 16:00 on Friday, 25 October 2019 the right of the public to clamber over this place came to an end in recognition of the reverence in which it is held by the indigenous people of Anangu.

Australia retains a firm hold on a part of me, her spirit locked down tight, forever, deep inside.

It is impossible to be indifferent concerning this continent of colour, contrast and contradiction. Much of this beautiful, desolate land remains unexplored by many who live there.

Perhaps one of the last places on earth that holds tight some of its oldest stories.

As a Deputy Secretary in the Australian Government, I was privileged to travel across this wide brown land, exploring places almost as far away from our urban environment as it is possible to be.

Maybe I will write more about that.

Uluru is not a rock.

It is an irrepressible force of nature.

A powerful psychic force that ensnares you from the moment you first see it whether from the air or up close and personal. There is a visceral thrumming in the air. A song from the past that captures your mind, your body, your soul.

Away from the inevitable tourist traps there is no sound. Only the whispers of the ancestors.

I am happy that this place has been given back to those whispering souls.

There are too few places left in the world that move us and re-connect us to our roots, to the essence of our humanity.

Imagine also, how much a boy from the Rossendale valley felt blessed when sharing a flight and snatched conversation with Peter Garret, lead singer with Midnight Oil, and then Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts.

How do we sleep when our beds are burning?

It starts by smelling the smoke and doing something about it.

No?



Images made in November 2009 with Nikon D70 and Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX lens

coquilla

i’ll be there as soon as I can
but I’m busy mending broken
pieces of the life I had before

– unintended, muse

in a tight corner

do they toll for thee?

they also serve who only perch and wait

bound and confined

reach for the sky

will you still love me?

fleeting romance

stacked

haunted


*all images made with nikon d700 with nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 and 50mm f/1.4 lenses, developed in lightroom cc*

(re)finding my mojo | monsagro

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Y ahora aquí está mi secreto, un secreto muy simple: solo con el corazón se puede ver correctamente; Lo que es esencial es invisible a los ojos

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, El Principito


So, do you think I saw with my heart?

Entonces, ¿crees que vi con mi corazón?



All photos made with Fujifilm X100F with fixed 23mm (35mmFX equivalent) lens

on reading

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.
― Oscar Wilde

One of the advantages of being a frequent flyer is that it gives you precious time to concentrate on reading. And yes, I like to ignore the fact that many flights now offer the ‘benefit’ of in flight wifi. I prefer (vastly) the benefit of in flight disconnection from the world of work. It is (or was) one of the last few bastions of serenity and a place to hide from all those ‘whatsapp’ groups people seem to think aid communication at work. Don’t even get me started on that last one, it could become a post in itself and lead to unintended consequences.

Reading is one of the most precious gifts that we can give our children.

I remember when I was around about six years old that one of my favourite places of refuge was the ‘box room’ in my grandmother’s house in Rawtenstall. Actually, I think the box room had in fact been a place that my father was stored in as opposed to boxes but, no matter, it was a special place for me. It contained what at that age I felt to be an impressive library of books that opened up a whole world outside the (then) grim confines of Rawtenstall. The town’s buildings in those days were blackened with soot and the river that flowed behind my school stank of goodness knows what, concerns about pollution seemed a world away, and in many ways they were. The town at that stage was suffering from post industrial decline and its place in the world – defined by the dark satanic mills that once produced shoes and cotton for the Empire – was doubtful. And that is why those books were so important to me.

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On Travail

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

St. Augustine


The clue to this post is in the title, which is a clumsy attempt to wrap multiple concepts into a single pithy phrase.

Among my resolutions this year were to write and shoot more. Rather dismally I have failed to respond well to my own resolutions. This does of course make choosing next year’s resolutions so much easier, as I plan to have another go.

However, I am happy to report that I have read a lot this year. And I will write about that also. In due course, the fullness of time, and so on.

I have also travelled a great deal. A very great deal. And, that is also something I intend to write about on the same terms as above.

I am not comfortable with my personal carbon footprint this year. So, trees will need to be planted. Probably enough to stock a decent sized hillside.

What prompted this post was my need to share (other than on my FB page) my journey home.

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