John & Anne Wiley

2012/04/30

Remote Closeness

There’s a remote intimacy in flying as we do, close to the earth yet free of it. Flying miles up in an airliner produces an almost ethereal feeling about our planet, and maybe that helps some people treat her as an object to be exploited. For me, flying evokes a dreamy engagement looking at shapes of life and patterns of change.

1682 Shape Farm

1682 Shape Farm

The shapes and textures of homes, farms, agriculture and industry are divided by angled roads and traces of life. The pervasive effects of people are everywhere, and most easily seen from the air where the human density is greatest. The touch of our hand brings rows of order in a random tapestry.

1686 Life Quilt

1686 Life Quilt

Ancient quilts stitched on the terrain stretch toward the distant mountain above Santa Paula, and the “glory” lighting effect around our shadow in a field at the lower left makes it all more contemplative. How did this spot look 300 years ago, and what about 300 years hence? All suburban houses and shopping malls, or maybe some areas returned to nature?

1688 Agro Geometry

1688 Agro Geometry

In 300 years will we still grow things in machine-friendly rows, or might we have farms that look more wild from this perspective? Lately it seems as if divisions between people could turn our use of ever more powerful tools once again toward efforts to destroy the Other. Could it be that our population will dwindle to the point that our traces weather away and erosion divides up our flattened lands to begin carving new shapes?

1694 Erosion

1694 Erosion

2012/04/28

Flood & Drought

Rivers are so beautiful. Sitting in the reeds, walking the bank, splashing the shore, swimming across, and of course taking it all in again from the air.

1669 Jugular

1669 Jugular

Sometimes the ribbon of life running through this river valley at Fillmore is a thread like this, barely connecting mountain to sea. Summers it’s often a sandy band serving as a wildlife freeway skirting the towns. The wider view introduces a tale of occasional storms that have bathed the whole valley in relentless muddy mayhem when the Santa Clara River rears up and races downstream changing everything.

1678 Flood Plain

1678 Flood Plain

Life, and for humans Love, has such seasons. Dry times and those overflowing. Cultivating the fertile valley nourished by flows and floods is most productive when we can remember nothing is permanent, and that we need to welcome change. Then a richer beauty emerges in our enjoyment of rivers.

2012/04/27

Oil Hills

The hills in SoCA are alive with oil, and the manses it built. Now I don’t know if this particular manse between Calabasas and Simi was built with “Beverly Hillbilly” oil money, but I like the moat.

1640 Moat Manse

1640 Moat Manse

The moat is actually a runoff control system, and the fence might be as much for falling rock as invading hordes. I like the golf green lawn, and how the whole castle and pool fits into the hillside. The nearby oil facilities, not so much.

1642 Rock Oil

1642 Rock Oil

Granted it almost disappears amid the rocks, but it still seems incompatible. With all the cool rock shapes, seems to me the native peoples used to hang out here. So I guess it’s just my imagination of the ancient silence there being broken by the machinery that doesn’t fit for me. Are these holes in the rock too deep to have been used for making food?

1648 Food or Fantasy?

1648 Food or Fantasy?

If I were living in a stone age culture, stones like these would appeal much more than the relatively small amount of petroleum harvested here.

1649 Oil Town

1649 Oil Town

Of course, a few decades ago it was a veritable flood, and until biofuels are available we get above it all by burning a gallon of the stuff they’re pulling out of the ground to traverse 20 miles of ancient stories.

2012/04/26

Time Crunch

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Inner World,People,Random — John @ 08:17

Time is getting ever more crunched, ever more quickly it seems. As a kid, tall ships seemed so intriguing and I daydreamed about going to sea as Melville had.

1576 Slow Boats

1576 Slow Boats

Now these sailing ships at Dana Point look to me like beautiful museum pieces, even when they’re moving. So ponderous it would seem glacial to actually cross a sea in one. While some like this were still working ships, the Queen Mary was crossing the Atlantic more quickly regardless of winds.

1594 Queen Mary & Stalker

1594 Queen Mary & Stalker

Now she’s tied up at Long Beach next to monster cruise ships several times her size, and at her bow you can make out part of a submarine like those that once stalked her crossings. As we cruise past at a leisurely 100mph, taking days to go from England to America across a featureless heaving sea seems insufferable. One of our elders once asked what we’d do with all the time we saved on our computers. She was right of course, that something’s lost and something’s gained by living at our pace. But I’d never want to go back and wait days for an important message to arrive, when my phone can get it anywhere in the world within seconds. The crunching of time has made relaxing in a field of flowers watching the birds and bees all the more delicious by contrast.

2012/04/25

Wear Patterns

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Inner World,Nature,People,Random — John @ 10:43

On each of us are patterns of wear that life has left on us, visible to the observant eye. I thought of that looking at these beaches on Camp Pendleton. The waves and creeks have worn wrinkles on the shore.

1552 Deep Wrinkles

1552 Deep Wrinkles

Another beach has its own story told by patterns, accented by more recent roads, trails, and scallop shapes in the sand at water’s edge.

1553 Layers of Time

1553 Layers of Time

Just as the different forces that shaped this beach reveal themselves in layers of time, our faces can tell stories about us. Things that happened recently, far in the past, and frequently like the crevices formed by smiles, frowns, concentration and surprise. Can noticing the patterns help us to learn and grow, or are we mere observers of forces beyond our control?

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