After years of absence I remember former zeal in taking part in a photography enthusiasts’ group like this. Here is my impromptu sky shot last February after a sumptuous meal celebrating a birthday. As a lifestyle, I hardly attend such occasion. There was zero attendance in the last three years. This was a special time and I enjoyed the fun and noise with everyone speaking at the same time, and no one listening. For a change someone called from the balcony, “behold the sky!” And here is my shot of that moment (unedited).
God loves all and has made provision for all to be saved. Today’s words: Believe, birth, blood. Serious interrelated key words from the Bible. At the end of this post I will post two haiku written on the words received yesterday and today.
Believe. This is the first word for today. It is an entry word for a Christian. It is possible to join something without believing in it in the physical realm, but not so in the spiritual realm. Christianity is a spiritual realm.
Believing in Jesus is the entrance ticket or a switch to God’s realm. It leads you to the next automatic step, which is the word “birth”, being “born again” by the Spirit of God. Only by being born of the Holy Spirit, we can see and enter the realm of God (John 3:3, 5). New birth is the result of believing in what God says about Jesus through the Bible. Believing in Who Jesus is and what He has done for you on the cross, gives you a supernatural ability to see and enter the Kingdom of God.
The two most quoted Bible verses that lay out this condition are John 3:16, 18. Everyone who believes will not perish but have eternal life. The one who does not believe has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son, Jesus whom God has given the world.
The third word is “blood”. Here is a summary of what the blood of Jesus as done for us.
Romans 5:8-10 New King James Version 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
God has paid a priceless price to show us His love, and the priceless value He considers each of us.
1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
As promised, the two haiku from God’s heart.
A. “God’s love for all”
I have loved you all
Created in My image
B. “Believe, new birth, of His blood”
Believe in My love
Prepaid all with My Son’s blood
Saved by grace, rebirth!
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
postscript: Why a year of ridicule? In pondering over a name to sum up this year, the phrase “a year of ridicule” came into immediate vision. Has anyone seen anyone they have become before this year? No. Looking at any photos of human person/group taken this year, you will acknowledge the appropriateness of the term. All men have been ridiculed. No exception.
Looking through the old photos and archives of my blog posts, here is a find of a poem named “cheeky rain” (12-11-2017). It tells of how the old and the new intermingling in a person’s mind, made of memories neatly categorized by the brain, often mixing up the occasions and meanings. Enjoy and have a mindful year end reunion with your loved ones.
He wants to share the beautiful newly painted white Pearl-Glo wall all ready for Christmas and the New Year toll instead his phone chooses to display a mind dropping rain drops on his file why it’s not what I want to send to my love he cries no it isn’t but this is far better, the phone replies what, even rain drops on my window pane cliché? long ago i saw a drama performed on stage called rain drops keep falling on my head i didn’t understand why my ma sang in swimsuit with pa dressed in sailor uniform pouring buckets of cold water on her head. no, it’s mixed up with i’m singing in the rain with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. not that, you nit, she says, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair. (South Pacific) Whatever you say. he says. She says, rain rain go away. Since I miss the moment of capturing the beautiful white glistening in the rain I just have to send this picture from a mysterious phone and say I love you rain don’t go today. Last word he says. Rain rain go away last word she says.
Note: (2021-12-11) Here is a haiku from the heart to go with the mind.
When we put our feelings in the boxes of perspective we feel safe. I just read some poems by a favorite poet in past gone years, and this is one stanza that I picked at random,
Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because — because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep. (by Pablo Neruda [1914-1973] )
Feelings are really one of the least safe things in life. How to stop a feeling that disturbs and even hurts? There are two ways. One way is to write a poem, or in my case, write a haiku, short and terse. Then I put away my unwanted feeling into the 17 sounds/syllables. For example, here is my haiku based on the above stanza from the famous poet.
go not a day long
vacant stare waiting forlorn
train not arriving
Another way of stopping an unwanted feeling is to pack it into a box. Label the boxes into perspectives. A dictionary’s definition (not exhaustive) of perspective includes: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. A picture drawn in perspective, especially one appearing to enlarge or extend the actual space, or to give the effect of distance. A true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion. You can name it whatever (just fill in the blank). And then put it aside.
Actually the key is “put it aside”. Can you do it?
Can I? Well, I have the haiku as a backup plan B. So one day if I find it real hard not to hear from you for a long long time, I may choose one of the two ways like a DIY dispenser of feeling numbing/removing fail-proof actions.
He has no idea how she has felt after all these decades, 29 years in all. He once thought they would have a long long time together and be happy ever after. In real life their time does not work that way. Time is not exactly a master but it influences. Like the fashion influencer today in the digital virtual realm. It would take herculean efforts to conquer the insurmountable hurdles set in the race of time across oceans and mountains.
Unlike today’s generation, communication was costly then. They could hardly meet or even talk on the phone. He wrote a letter daily after a long day’s work and posted it the following morning through his office boy. She later told him that her postman only delivered a stack of outdated mail once in a while. He spent his daily travel allowance calling her long distance and burnt away cold cash just for a few minutes of hearing her voice. He can still recall the time after each call. He would walk to the bay beach outside his hotel, sat on a rock and watched the sunset. He would hope, as he scanned the distant horizon, to sight a seabird or two, often in vain. The city was one of the most developed in the world, and there was hardly any space or free sky left. The bay was beautiful but it was not a home for any wild creatures.
What was on his mind? He cannot remember now. Perhaps he was imagining that somehow a strong courageous sea bird had flown to her window, perched there in the warm sunshine, at the other end of the ocean, and now came to him with a touch of her fresh air, carrying a slice of her vibrant life for him in that cold, misty, gloomy city of the lonely. Yet, today he suddenly remembers a quote about a higher kind of love. “There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence?”― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead.
All in all, he has no regret. Whatever they have spent together and held on in time for each other. Today is an ordinary Sunday. He stands in his garden and thinks of the time that he still has. The garden is fresh and sparkling in life after a Spring rain. Yes, Spring is here. And the day is February 14. So he decided to write this missive and like old time, post it by snail mail. She likes to hear the ring of the postman. He remembers.
Many of us have a soft spot in our hearts for our pets, e.g. a dog. My family and I have kept dogs as companions for generations. Today I found this old poem about the power of a dog. I also sighted a random news about a golden retriever stranded on a freezing mountain for two weeks being rescued by two doctors finally. The two were were hiking Lugnaquilla, a mountain in the Wicklow range, on Saturday, far away from their jobs on the front lines. Near the summit, they found the dog, 8-year-old Neesha, who’d fled from a family walk nearby two weeks prior. The retriever was so cold and weak that she could barely bark. The doctors put some clothes on her to stave off any remaining cold and then ended up carrying her back down the mountain—some 10 kilometers.
“The Power of the Dog” a poem by Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936
There is sorrow enough in the natural way From men and women to fill our day; And when we are certain of sorrow in store, Why do we always arrange for more? Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy Love unflinching that cannot lie— Perfect passion and worship fed By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head. Nevertheless it is hardly fair To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits, And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs To lethal chambers or loaded guns, Then you will find—it’s your own affair— But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will, With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!). When the spirit that answered your every mood Is gone—wherever it goes—for good, You will discover how much you care, And will give your heart to a dog to tear.
We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way, When it comes to burying Christian clay. Our loves are not given, but only lent, At compound interest of cent per cent. Though it is not always the case, I believe, That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve: For, when debts are payable, right or wrong, A short-time loan is as bad as a long— So why in—Heaven (before we are there) Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
A haiku by Kainotes, 2021-02-11 (on “a lost friend“)
Same as last year. Goodbye and farewell, my friend. One day, if perchance, we shall meet, let’s pay for each other’s cup of kindness…and we will take a right goodwill draught, for old times sake. Just this once.
for Auld Lang Syne dear
I sing this cup of kindness
blue sea yonder clear
Dougie MacLean was awarded the 2009 Tartan Clef Award for his song Caledonia. In 2011, he was invested as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth, and in 2013 he was awarded the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Lifetime Achievement for Contribution to Songwriting.
As she Shines
One day he passes
shinning water full of life
transformed in the light
Genesis 1:3-5 The Message (MSG)
God spoke: “Light!” And light appeared. God saw that light was good and separated light from dark. God named the light Day, he named the dark Night. It was evening, it was morning— Day One.
my front yard’s sunset floating
I took this photo on 20151229 again in a hurry one evening in California. The place is a must see site because of its famous reflection of beautiful and colorful houses on water. The panoramic view did not turn out well as I was using an older Samsung then. But the static single shots were good. This one is my favorite. Will I want to live in one of these mirrored watery homes? My answer is, “No, thank you.” I still love my own little park with the trees mirroring my life as they stretch upward towards the blue sky where eagles soar.
couples in love just dating
frame framed and framing
One day we went to this place for a brief break. It was a normal day with families and couples around taking their normal meals. I found the framed ceiling structure interesting for no particular reason and took some random photos. I remember we went at night but the photos now seem to show otherwise. Puzzling. Like life. Frame
find the little fox
She is back. He is back. They are not relatives. But the two humans are not together. And yet they love each other.
It is like looking at this photo. You never know whether the photographer is climbing up the mountain or going down the slope. There is no clue. Perhaps you can detect the lonely depression induced by the season from thin trees with bare branches, the snow covered plants shaped like little animals scurrying on the ground, against a grey bland sky and the an overall mood of foreboding of the scene. But you will not know why the photographer went there and took this picture unless you were him. When he took this picture he was actually climbing uphill. It was mid-January.
They did not meet that time. She was too far away and otherwise engaged. He went alone and spent his winter like a lone wolf.
Now they are both back to one place. Same city. Same street. Same house. He is alone. She is alone. He is not married. Neither is she. They love each other. But they are not together. Why are they not together? A complicated riddle.
(I decided to post this blog after leaving the unfinished draft for a month or more. The shape of a lone wolf is too striking to be ignored. Other shapes of animals too. I like seeing living things in shapes formed by nature. I also added a little riddle here to ponder upon on sleepless nights.)
minding our business
looping comes from flying tram
motion froze in frame
I took this shot at a train station. The two “photographers” appeared suddenly while we were waiting for the train to continue to the next stop. While they were setting up their gears on ground I took this photo. I never knew what they were preparing to shoot. But it is a reflection of life. Whilst we are busy making art (or substitute any word you want) we become the art (do likewise) itself. Frame
This dawning alone
flying solo not forlorn
painting world beyond
This picture is unedited. I used a Samsung Galaxy and set the scene at dawn. It came out like a painted picture. The bird at the right corner is a bonus. We never know what we shall get in life until we receive them. There is a gap between getting and receiving. I receive this picture without much effort. I woke up and thought it would be a good idea to take a picture of the scene outside my hotel and WhatsApp to my friend. And here is the picture. (Reduced from the original) A good start for the day!
Neither you nor I
musing poets to define
sky water divide
I took this picture last January in Reno. The sun, the cloud, the water and the grass were in quite a spectacular harmonious formation. Narrow and yet broad in the limitation of my phone camera. Quite a poetic inspiring place. My hair turned to gold in some pictures. I did this little haiku only when I look at the pictures now and recall the solitary moment without adequate words to describe then. Narrow
alien here I dread
print upon print I now thread
deserted I read
(After I wrote this little poem of a scene I took in US last January, I suddenly realize now of somewhat similar perspective in terms of man and nature left alone, expressed in two previous movie stories, both of which I had not watched. I googled and saw their brief reviews. The Revenant and Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I would add that the ‘loneliness’ can also be felt in virtual space perspective. The word ‘thread’ is deliberate to bring out another kind of desert effect. Not a misspelt.)
Sad sky with glum sign
many pauses many sighs
heart forlorn desires
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~”Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” He never wants to be a hero even though he recalls this famous first line from a text book of his childhood. This is a duplicate of an English town in the middle of the States. It is strange that a quaint little town brings back such a lot of memories of his very young days in England, or to be precise, London. He has often dreamed of that city after leaving her. He did not have a choice then. There was no provision for him to stay on after he returned from Paris to encounter a brief but very cold winter in London. He always remembers that winter morning. His boss called him in and announced the good news, “Here, have a cup of tea, one sugar? a spot of milk?” The boss was exceptionally civil that fateful morning. He had a spotless glass window room which signified his status. The single tree outside his window was bare and its friendly branches were leaning over and gently tapping the glass pane. “I must say that I am envious of you, going to such exotic and interesting places. But of course I have been to many in my own days…” So he was selected to go to his first posting overseas in a nation beyond many seas and oceans with limitless opportunities for a young executive. What better choice did he have staying in London? None. He stepped into the street as the boss decided to let him off for the rest of the day to sort out his thoughts and perhaps other matters. He was scheduled to travel a week later. He decided to pick just one priority, and took a metro to Charing Cross, the Foyles Bookstore. He collected all the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome and Collections of Giles’s cartoons. Then he left and had a cup of coffee next to the bookstore. That was his personal Brexit. Did he ever return? Yes, several times. But London was a foreign country by then. His childhood friend left and chose to live in a tropical city with her husband. They left for health reason. Will he return again? Perhaps, when days are brighter after the real Brexit. Is there any other city he wants to go back to? Yes, perhaps Paris. Not now though. He has just returned from San Francisco. Not going back for a long time. Is there no city he can go? Not Shanghai either. Not the big ones. Sad, but true. To be accurate, it had been: Lonexit, Paexit, SAexit, Shanexit…and to sum it all, Cityexit.
word dictionary: forlorn adjective
1 he sounded forlorn: unhappy, sad, miserable, sorrowful, dejected, despondent, disconsolate, wretched, abject, down, downcast, dispirited, downhearted, crestfallen, depressed, melancholy, gloomy, glum, mournful, despairing, doleful, woebegone; informal blue, down in/at the mouth, down in the dumps; rare lachrymose. ANTONYMS happy.
2 a forlorn garden: desolate, deserted, abandoned, forsaken, forgotten, neglected. ANTONYMS cared for.
3 a forlorn attempt: hopeless, vain, with no chance of success; useless, futile, pointless, purposeless, unavailing, nugatory; archaic bootless. ANTONYMS hopeful, sure-fire.
none better than love-passion
seldom with ration
“It has to be love, doesn’t it? In however many of its infinite permutations?” “What lasts? Is there anything you’ve made in your life that will still be here 150 years from now? What does not last, if they are not retold, are the stories.” How true these words from a recent reading are. He ponders. When he thinks of all the events that happened before in his young life and hers he knows there is no explanation except love. Love binds their two hearts and spurs them to do things beyond their wildest dream. The union of their hearts and minds crystallizes into something dazzling and brilliant. If he is not telling their stories now whatever that they have together accomplished for which they have given so much of their lives would not last after they are gone. He wants to leave a legacy to his loved one. A legacy of their story.
Concealed and revealed
interspersed with love and pain
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~He decides to dedicate today to the subject of LOVE. On waking this morning he observes that the snow has melted and revealed dark foreboding jagged black rock, like he is suddenly going through a lesson on the description of rocks, including their color and surface shape, plus characteristics such as size, shape, and arrangement of the grains or crystals in each rock. The partially melted snow has cleansed the rocks. It is as if a giant painter has walked through this patch of the mountain and used his gigantic brush and drawn a pattern for the snow to turn into liquid and flow away so that the rock may appear and assume its place in time. He think of his own life that it too has been drawn and brushed and patterned by an invisible hand from birth to this dawn of the melting snow. He wonders what each rock had been before it becomes a rock. He wonders why he had not found a love patch in his own heart until he was twenty and met her, a young smart mature precocious girl of ten. He thinks of the eight years they have had mostly on an intellectual and spiritual connection and comradeship, relying mostly on technology to link up. She lives with her very exclusive folks and travels extensively for her study of draught and underground water. He lives with the convention, also traveling extensively round the globe to all premium conventions held and hosted by the Midas hotel chain. His friends deride him, “What kind of love is that? Love in the virtual world?” He has taken her advice and started to study building. The two of them are going to take care of two major concerns of the world’s poorest and most disaster-hit people groups: water and shelter. His boss taunts him by singing the Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha with daily rendition in full*. Is he taunted? No. Remember? He is a star gazer. He sees and focuses on one star and he is going after it, and he knows it is not unreachable. The name is called LOVE.
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star
come rest upon my heart now
gentle tender flow
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything is something it isn’t. He read this somewhere. People feared the unknown and worried about uncertainty of changes. A wall might not be a wall. A door might not open at all. Yet he knew in chemistry there is a state in which a process and its reverse are occurring at equal rates so that no overall change is taking place, for example, ice is in equilibrium with water. The boss worried that he had gone over his senses when he decided to quit his successful career and go after an illusive dream. “You only see the tip of the iceberg. You never know what lurks beneath the enchanted emerald ocean. Use your superb grey matter, young master, weigh the pros and cons.” The boss warned (possibly quoting from some oriental movie scripts which became his latest craze). He looked at the snow on this mountain and indeed he could not summarily conclude what really lied underneath the white cloth. Should he step on it? There should be a scientific way to gauge the reality of things hidden or supposedly revealed. On the other hand how can one judge love by scientific way? How would the trees know that the snow was coming and would cover the empty ground? But the trees continued to stand their boundary position when the snow came in the night. When the dawn arrived the mountain was demarcated by two colors: white and black, a beautiful natural equilibrium. No, he would not worry about the unknown. He knew her worth. She knew his too. Their love was in a state in which opposing forces or influences were balanced. (to be continued)
snow clothing with might
authenticity that tied
love so pure in sight
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.* He suddenly recalled how he used this line and wrote his first prose. He did not have access to this book then and read it as a quote somewhere. It invoked imagination now of what he would do when he re-visited his own life in time in the different dimensions of space like a layered cake through which he sliced, exposing its various perspectives, colors, smells, textures and ingredients: sound, sight, touch, feel, appearance, love, hate, happiness, sadness, success, disappointment, fulfillment, failure, good, bad, loving kindness, mercy, charity, selfishness, delusion, indifference, warmth, coldness, passion, hopefulness, disillusion, credibility, integrity, wretchedness, lowliness, lacking luster, mediocrity, grandeur, majesty, magnificence, clarity, excellence, stupidity, brilliance, despondency, desolation, elation, jubilation, celebration, melancholy, exuberance, blissfulness and contentment. At twenty-eight he had gone through far more than many of his peers. He was at least happy. He sometimes wondered what was beneath the thick cloth of snow on the mountain. What the snow tried to shield and protect. His life too had been a shield for many things. The convention service too was a shield for many. The participants came and allowed the artificial environment and near real technological simulation give them a pretense of greatness and well-being. Then they left and went home with a fully charged life battery for another year on their respective fast track. He never looked for reality in the convention hall. His verisimilitude was in her. There was no need for simulation or artificial intelligence. Life was not simulation despite the money bags in that game. Life to him was authenticity. Often he and his love exchanged audio recording of each other. He listened to her laugh. They were fresh and sparkling like the mountain spring that rushed down the steep ravine as he trekked up the mountain. He could hear her smiling as she talked, exulting optimism, expectation, expectancy, confidence, faith, trust, belief, conviction, assurance; promise and possibility. Love was a reality between them. (to be continued)
(*the one line quote is taken from Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye).
conspicuous sheer renowned
crystal clear for now
~~~~~~~~He did not know whether his story was going to be celebrated or regretted when it happened. it was certainly a love story which had a noble beginning. As a child he had always dreamed of grandeur, the austere grandeur of mountain scenery. That was why he became an amateur mountaineer when he was not conferencing and conventioning (his coined word). He bought his first set of mountaineering equipment at ten even though he was not allowed to use them. He did not get to climb a mountain until he was fifteen. By then it was a bit late as he was already involved in a distant uncle’s booming business of catering for large hotel chains. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics and took a second bachelor’s degree in physics. Instead of pursuing a phd in astrophysics he changed course to food science while doing a master degree in business management. That was how he landed himself in the convention profession. What had his first love astrophysics got to do with mountaineering? He was a star gazer. When he first met his love, he had the feeling that he was gazing at the brightest star, ever. Here are the adjectives that filled his mind when he thought of how she imprinted herself on his heart: graphic, evocative, realistic, lifelike, faithful, authentic, clear, detailed, lucid, eloquent, striking, arresting, impressive, colorful, rich, picturesque, dramatic, lively, stimulating, interesting, fascinating, scintillating; memorable, powerful, stirring, moving, telling, haunting. (To be continued)