Contemplation

…The reality of diverse timelines

I continue to capture moments suspended in time on my morning walks. This time, a man and his dog stop for a breather. The little dog was acutely aware of his surroundings and his endearing peek at me from behind his human’s legs was irresistible. The man seemed transported by the morning to another place.

Our time lines synchronized as I drew level and we exchanged “good mornings”.

Noises in the night…

I’m starting to realize that haiku is a way I capture the feel of fleeting events. Mostly I’m attentive to my world when I’m outside and walking. I’ll grab my phone camera and snap a shot, and then spend the walk home mulling over or reveling in what I’ve seen. However, sometimes memorable events happen at odd times….

Digital drawing of a thrasher in the moonlight with haiku

The first birds to start the dawn chorus here in the desert of southern Arizona are the thrashers. They are a sleek blue/grey bird with yellow eyes, long tail and a large curved bill. They are great mimics and once they get started their range of calls is quite remarkable. First thing in the morning, as warm up perhaps, their calls are less melodic and more squawk like. What I don’t here is thrashers calling in the depths of the night, but two nights ago I was awoken by the loud cries of what I believed to have been a thrasher… Too dozy to get up and investigate but awake enough for my imagination to wander.

This image is another of my early explorations of Procreate, a digital drawing/painting platform on my ipad. It may seem strange, but I import a preliminary pencil sketch onto the digital platform and then, using that as a base, start to explore Procreate’s capabilities. I’m feeling like I’m in a bit of a no-man’s land on the one hand trying to stay in the bounds of my watercolor expertise and on the other, letting the wonders of procreate take over…Definitely a work in progress.

Haiku musing on my walk this morning

Here in the desert of Southern Arizona, we are blessed with sunny skies and crisp mornings this time of year. As soon as I step out of the house in the morning I feel the energy of this place. There is evidence of javelinas from the night before who have been rooting in the gardens, the birds are establishing their territory and there are certain plants, notably ocotillos that have tall spiky limbs that occasionally droop such that they make perfect perches for birds to sit and capture the early morning rays. I call these the warming perches and they are occupied by the same crowd of birds each morning.

For the last few weeks I have challenged myself to develop a race walking style for my morning exercise. It is an amazing gait that frees tension in my back and the aches and pains of the early morning rapidly dissipate. I find that concentrating on the physicality of the gait, frees my mind to daydream about paintings and sculptures that are some place and time in the future.

I watch other walkers too. My route includes familiar faces of people that I do not know. We share a wave, a smile and “good morning”. It’s a comfortable, companionable sense of community amongst strangers.

Today however, I was struck by a few solitary people, who seemed to be bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders. There was no lightness to their gait, their eyes were cast down, shoulders hunched, teeth clenched, a grim determination marking the progress of their walk. No bird was seen, no acknowledgement of the rugged beauty that they were marking off with each plodding step. What anxieties or worries were overwhelming their spirits? Will the walk eventually penetrate the grim wall that seemed to surround them? Greetings bounced off these walls and fell to the ground un-noticed. I have been there, it’s a self imposed, cold, inhospitable place.

As I continued my walk, the vision of these people lurked amongst my daydreams. Unwanted memories of sad times emerged from the depths:

“Plodding steps mark time,
Life passing between shuffles,
Once past, forever lost.


I was forced to re visit the strategies I have used to drag myself out of that world.

“Look upward and smile,
Smell life, taste air, feel the wind,
Reframe that inner voice”

I’m looking forward to greeting the world in the morning.