Saturday, November 13, 2010

Reflections And Perception

We rely on reflections to see.  Everything that we see appears as objects, beginning as light reflected from object mirrors into our eyes.  We assume from habit that objects are real and this assumption is reinforced by other perceptions of sound, touch, taste, and smell.  All of these perceptions through other senses are also reflections; sound waves, neurotransmitter waves, and smell and taste particle waves.  

Reflections come with various levels of distortion associated with the wave structure of their transmission.  When we look at objects and their reflections in water, we see all of these aspects.  An object directly appears as solid and not wavering.  The reflected object appears as wavering, dependent on the effect of breezes on the water surface.  The reflected object color also changes, dependent on the water colors.  Who is to say which object is more real?  The object and its reflection are both reflections that have different qualities.  We assign realness based on our visual biases learned from years of observation.  Are we seeing a real object?

Our real object appears to be a reflection that we favor, while we reject the wavering reflection.  This ambiguity of real and illusory reflections is the great pathway into our true nature.  We can find the singularity where the object and its reflection meet.  Look along the bank of a creek or pond.  There is the seamless transition between object and its wavering reflection.  They are both reflections, joined by the continuity of light received from each, into our eyes and then transmitted to our brains by waves of neurotransmitters, reflections of nerve energy.  Our true nature lives in that line between reflections, where symbol and meaning meet.  The nature cannot be seen and is experienced directly in a continuum of awareness, not bound by reflections and their mirror surfaces.

Relaxing our perceptual biases gives us the freedom of wildness.  Our thoughts are free to dissolve into the warm sunlight that may be hidden behind the clouds of seeming objects; mirrors of light intended for perceptions.  Objects are mirrors and we are echos of reflection from those mirrors.  The singularity of the shoreline, the horizon of our perception, the surface of the mirrors, is our consciousness; that which brings together object, subject, and perception.  In all these echos, how can one hold an opinion?  We are all the free play of light and energy.

We experience timeless awareness when our consciousness recognizes the unity of object, subject, and perception.  This recognition happens on the singularity of the mirror surface which is unchanged by the reflections emerging from it.  That mirror surface is everywhere and we call it space.

Posted by michael

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sea Foam

Sea foam may appear when the surf is up at Ona Beach, where Beaver Creek flows out into the ocean.  The foam can look like snow, creatures, clouds, and other ephemeral phenomena.  Foam can give us a look at the invisible world of water currents and wind pressure.  Waves stir up the water and inject air into a foamy exuberance full of joy.  The foam moves over the top of the water in breezes and with the water, scurrying back and forth across the beach with incoming and outgoing waves and up and down the creek.  Then as quickly as it comes, the foam can disappear as surf calms down and the weather turns mild and sunny.  

Posted by michael

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Books - Beaver Creek History


Jackie Niemi has produced two more little books, fourth & fifth in her series of Beaver Creek history, entitled Pioneer Women” and “Pioneer Children.”  Each book contains excerpts of oral histories from the Beaver Creek area, most of which were collected in the mid-1970's, and are from the Lincoln County Historical Society's Oral History Collection.  Niemi's books are available at Canyon Way Bookstore and the Lincoln County Historical Museum Bookstore, and sell for $5.00 each.
All of Niemi's small books will be featured at the Lincoln Co. Historical Museum’s Annual Holiday Festival and Open House on Saturday, December 4th, 1:00-4:00pm.  Look for her table, where she will demonstrate how she cuts and folds each book by hand.
Here is a sampling from each of the new ones:
[From “Pioneer Women”]:  “I remember her...I was nine or ten, I guess, when she died...I remember she used to go and rob the bees...Used to go bare-armed, go up to the kitchen, right out, and get in there, and get the honey she wanted, and tote it back in.  Hell, the bees would be all over her, and never sting her...they just would be all over.”
---Bill Gatens, (1975 interview)
[From “Pioneer Children”]:  “I walked three miles a day to and from school.  A mile and a half each way.  Each school was about middle of the two districts...They didn’t have both schools at the same time.  Well, if I could get in a week, or two or three weeks extra, boy, I took it!  I was glad to get to go to school.  School and I never departed.”
---Susie Rhoades (1975 interview)
Posted by jackie.  

Art Show Extended!

The art exhibit, “Responding to Elements of Space:  Art Inspired by Beaver Creek State Natural Area” has been extended through the month of November, closing on Nov 27th, at the Newport Visual Arts Center Upstairs Gallery.  
Newport VAC Upstairs Gallery
777 NW Beach Dr, Newport, OR
at the Nye Beach Turnaround

Gallery hours:  12noon-4pm, Tuesday-Saturday.  
For a video clip of the show opening on Oct. 8th, see our Oct. 10th blogpost.
While you are there, check out the “Washed Ashore” show in the Runyon Gallery on the 1st floor of the Newport VAC.  Angela Pozzi and her volunteer crew have made an interactive and educational environment of plastic debris that has washed up on Oregon’s beaches.  And you can touch the art!  Walk through the gyre, whale ribs and jellyfish.  Play a tune on the giant starfish, and more.  A great informative show!  
Posted by jackie. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Water Everywhere

Thinking about water can make your mind expand into many directions.  Clean water is necessary for healthy life.  The human body is 55-60% water.  Water can even be viewed as a basic right, like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; although many nations and companies do not agree with this proposition.  If water is a right in life, then why do people own water and force others to pay for it?  Rights are required, but not free.  Water is a valuable common “free” resource that can be hoarded and defended, making it easy to sell.  The ownership of water has been a critical question for several centuries, as human populations have grown and experienced water shortages.  Wars have been waged over water, as suggested by the saying “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.”  When ownership is asserted, then marketplaces can be established and prices and profits set and extracted.  This question of ownership of a basic right in life is not easily thought about or answered.
Water is freely available in its natural forms as it falls from the sky as rain, as it flows in creeks and rivers, and collects in ponds, lakes, and underground reservoirs.  No one can own these forms of water, except indirectly by land ownership and restriction to access.  Water rights and ownership of water arise when infrastructure for water collection, treatment, and distribution is created and maintained.  Water ownership and rights are also exerted when water is used for disposal of waste and heat for sanitation and industrial processes.  Water rights are a complicated and ever-developing area of legal study and enforcement.  
So we all need clean water every day and it is not always available to us.  Poverty in the world is often dependent on the lack of clean water.  Often people cannot pay for water that is available, or pay for building infrastructure that supplies clean water.  Lack of water forces people to spend long hours in back-breaking work to obtain water; hours that could otherwise be used in other life-sustaining activities.  Without water, crops cannot be grown, sanitation is difficult, and health and life are impaired and destroyed.
How do we reconcile the right to clean water with the supply of water for a fee?  Local, state, and national governments have been responsible for supplying clean water and sanitation.  These services have been funded by grants, taxes, and fees to users on a non-profit basis.  A new trend in recent decades has been the transfer of water infrastructure and supply functions to international companies, which supply water for a price, on a for-profit basis.  In either case, water is not considered a right, but rather a product that is obtained for a fee.  Every time you walk into a store and buy a bottle of water, you are supporting the notion that water is expensive and profit-making.  At $4.00 or more per gallon, water in a bottle is more expensive than gasoline.  Bottled water companies have a great profit margin on this product.   
In these deliberations, questions of responsibility for the common “free” resource are necessary.  We may not be able to depend on the power of nature to supply what we often overuse and abuse.  Are governments and private corporations that use the common water resource responsible for its replenishment?  Lack of consideration for climate change and overuse of groundwater supplies has resulted in desertification and loss of historic water supplies.  Governments and corporations often neglect conservation of water resources and fail to account for the effects of climate change, industrialization, and human population growth on “free” water resources.  Sooner than later, we will be enslaved by our absolute need for water and the ever-increasing price that must be paid to companies and governments that may not have our best interests in their hearts.  If water is a basic right in life, then special considerations should be given to its conservation, replenishment, and distribution.  
Posted by michael      

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harvest Time Musings

I just returned from a trip to the Yakima, WA area, with its beautiful tawny hills shaped like crouching mountain lions, and I discovered some things in an old travel journal about landscape.  This is a quote from a show I saw the tail end of in Anchorage, Alaska, about five years ago.  Andy Goldsworthy had done an art installation there, and the show was a collection of small photos and journal entries documenting his ephemeral work.  
“The landscape is a skin, permeable and fluid, fragile and wild...Explore the landscape as a body, breathing, fragile, punctured and worn.”
Landscape lays the groundwork, or the structure, for what comes after.  The landscape appears on the one hand to remain the same for long periods of time, when actually it is constantly reforming itself to match one’s perceptions.  Erosion, light, growth, decay, movement, seasonal, and occasionally catastrophic, events interplay with our psychological, sensual, and emotional responses to it.  I’ve watched the landscape of my heart change over the years.  The subarctic Alaskan landscape where I grew up used to call to me strongly when I was in my twenties and had recently left it.  Gradually that pull has lessened and transferred to Oregon where I’ve lived for thirty years.  The landscape of my heart keeps evolving and expanding, and is closely linked to memory.  It contains elements of my Alaskan roots, vague imprints of the lands important to my Scandinavian ancestors, and a bit of every place I have ever lived or experienced, brought to where I am now.
My old journal then recorded my reading of the book, The Secret Life of Dust.  It talked about billions of tons of dust continually cycling through the atmosphere--dust of every being that ever lived, every element, even the stars--from the beginning of time.  It changes one’s thinking about particles and the way things are composed.  Objects appearing solid, but really made up mostly of space.  Understanding how the elements of our world are put together, and how easily they are taken apart.  Impermanence.  Change.  “All we are is dust in the wind.”

At this time of year, when the winter storms begin and blow the leaves off the trees, the weather and the landscape trigger the natural impulse for inner reflection, to look deeper at the same time as being able to see deeper, down to the bones of the landscape, and beyond.
“The days grow short.
The sky speaks of winter.
Change hangs in the air like
          a question mark. 
The harvest is in, the season
          of waiting begins.
This is the tender time of the year
          when everything drops away.
Trees are left bare, only skeletons
            of continuity remain.
The impermanence of things is
            so visible, so unavoidable.
The winter heart feels the lengthening
            darkness and the turning of the sun.
We cannot yet know the gifts
            that darkness brings.”
----adapted from The Golden Time, Stephanie Kaza
Posted by jackie.