Month: February 2019

Why Black and White?

Horses (obviously)
Horses (obviously)

I asked these two horses this morning to try to get a completely unbiased opinion on the subject, right out of the horses mouth sort of speak. The first one laughed and walked away so I asked his buddy. The second one ignored my question, looked me right in the eye, and asked me why I never bring them snacks.

Things to Come

The Park at Rockvale
The Park at Rockvale

“It’s not what they built. It’s what they knocked down. It’s not the houses. It’s the spaces between the houses. It’s not the streets that exist. It’s the streets that no longer exist.” James Fenton

The Lititz Chainsaw Massacre

Fire & Ice Festival 2019
Fire & Ice Festival 2019

It was 50 degrees and climbing this morning when I headed to Lititz, which has been called the coolest small town in America. The Fire & Ice Festival begins tonight and I wanted to watch them carve the ice sculptures and take some photos.

As usual I got there way too early but eventually they began to massacre the blocks of ice with chainsaws, then use other tools to chisel out amazing detail. There was a large ice chair, a John Deere tractor and this one which will be a newspaper boy.

In hindsight I should have paid more attention to the background, used a very wide aperture, shot in manual and got closer ignoring the ice chips shooting everywhere. I knew they would be carving 72 more sculptures but I had no intention of waiting.

Being a perfectionist bordering on obsessive (see blog name) I have to learn to enjoy the experience, good photo, bad photo or no photo. Author Edmond Mbiaka wrote: “When it comes to perfection, the most that we could possibly do is to continuously push closer and closer to it. It is truly something to aim at, just to see how close you could get to it.”

I knew I should have got closer!

Best Served Cold

The King of Beers
The King of Beers

Many people think alcohol is the best thing man ever invented. Author Henry Lawson even said: “Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.” And when I started drinking I felt the same way.

I wasn’t really sure if drinking beer was for me, it seemed like it was hard to drink enough, fast enough to be worth the trouble. Then I discovered Vodka and the whole game changed, although I still wasn’t sure I liked the feeling.

But I wanted to give it a fair chance so I drank heavily for the next twenty five years, just to be sure. Simply put, it didn’t work out well and after many tries I quit for good almost fifteen years ago.

Some people can drink a beer or two and stop, something I not only couldn’t do but will never understand. I was the same kind of drinker as the infamous Charles Bukowski who summed it up perfectly: “So where do you go? Back to the bottle And back to a tiny room somewhere. And wait. And wait, and wait. That’s all.”

What is Dukkha?

Perseverance
Perseverance

The Pali word dukkha means suffering and stress and unsatisfactoriness, but it also includes all the minor annoyances of life as well. It’s basically getting what one does not want and not getting what one does want.

I had a chance to see and experience dukkha in several ways this afternoon. There was a hot air balloon preparing to launch and I stopped to take some photos. I could see this was going to take quite a while so I had to leave to find a bathroom and come back.

I watched the crew struggle to drive the van with all the equipment onto the grass but it was too soft and muddy, and they got stuck several times. I spoke to the pilot who was determined to launch no matter what so he could get his certificate, though he was obviously frustrated.

About 45 minutes later they got the balloon hooked up to the basket and set up the fan to inflate it. I felt sorry for this guy as he pulled and pulled but the fan wouldn’t start. It turned out it was out of gas so they filled it up and were back in action.

His crew seemed to have no experience and had to have everything explained to them at least twice, but eventually the balloon was up, up and away and I trudged back through the mud to my car.

Because of the direction the van ended up parking I didn’t have the beautiful late afternoon light, but I tried to get an image I could use that would capture the essence of dukkha.

Novelist Hermann Hesse, author of Siddhartha said: “I began to understand that suffering and disappointments and melancholy are there not to vex us or cheapen us or deprive us of our dignity but to mature and transfigure us.” Yes.