Roadside Puzzle

March 23, 2017.  We recently returned to Rancho Lomitas in lower Texas near the Rio Grande border – an area with birds and plants that just don’t come further north.  When there last fall, we took a photo of what we thought to be peyote growing along the roadside.  To everyone’s surprise, the proprietors pointed out the distinctions between peyote and our picture of a star cactus – an endangered cactus that Rancho Lomitas is helping propagate in their nursery but had never seen growing natively on the ranch. Wow!  This revelation came minutes before our departure, no time to revisit the star for more (better) pictures.

On this return trip, a high priority was finding that star cactus!  Oh, did we look and look and look – walking slowly, eyes trained on roadside edge, up and down the stretch of road where the tiny star “had to be”.  Well, maybe.  Hours of looking yielded no star, but did prompt a poem.  Afterward, a seasoned resident at Rancho Lomitas comforted us with the comment that rabbits do eat such (indeed the nursery samples are in wire cages) which leaves me eager to return again to photograph bunnies for an update to this collage. (Image note: fingers show a peyote the same size as the elusive star – star enlarged in center of collage – the two look alike to novice eyes.)

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Dialogue

February 24, 2016.  Earlier this month I spent a morning with the Austin Jung Society –  a mindful photography experience of a new sort.  Rather than the familiar “center first, then take a single photo”, we were sent out to “take 50 steps and 50 photos”.    I seldom can make myself stop with a single photo when called by an image, but indulging in FIFTY shots?  Like a sugar rush!

The initially overcast sky gave way to clear sunshine, the lighting change ramping up the variety of imagery significantly.   I chose to wander an alley in search of my subject and half way down the block … there she was, just waiting for me.  I say “she” – our true mission in this workshop was not photography so much as letting the camera assist in communicating with a non-human presence.

The poem trio reflects the writing exercises interspersed with photo excursions.  First, we wrote about encountering our “other”; then a love letter to our “other”; then the perceived response from our “other”.  Collectively, the Jungian term for this process is Dialogue.

The image is a collage – a handful of the many photos.    Enjoy!

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