Another holiday is upon us all, for good or ill. A vaguely disconcerting end to a vaguely disconcerting year for me.
Even though my online presence hasn’t reflected it, this has been a year of growth. When I bring a camera to my eye, I find myself asking why. I began to fall back in love with bicycles. I have road maps crisscrossed with future road trips, and the start of the year will bring them closer to asphalt, gravel, dust and dirt.
Among my gifts I got a fantastic trifecta of books this holiday, that say something about me in an odd way.
Doc Daniels “Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth” is a must read. The personal history of high weirdness in the desert around the loneliest phone booth in the US gives a great window in to the sort of folks one runs in to out there under the big sky. Not familiar? I think everyone should know about this phone booth, and what J. G. Ballard called the “strangely poetic business” around it.
Robert Adams “What Can We Believe Where?” is a series of fantastic images of my beloved home state. Someday I hope to learn how to pack as much in to an image using as he does. Concise and yet powerful and complete at the same time. As the liner notes say, these are images of “a fragile beauty that endures despite our troubled relationship with nature and with ourselves.”
Ourselves. That dovetails nicely with the last book, “On Landscape and Meaning” by Richard Misrach. I haven’t seen much of his work, and I look forward to what this book teaches me. One of the images leapt out at me.
It is striking.
The series “Border Cantos” captures disasters along the border, everything from pits full of dead animals to nuclear sites, this was just the cusp of this disaster. Nearly 20 years ago, people were worried about migrants. Now they are subject of hatred and cruelty.
Supposedly, this holiday is to celebrate the birth of a person who preached peace, raising up the poor, welcoming the stranger, and comforting the needy. The contrast is, as I said, striking.
Hope this holiday brings you happiness and peace. But take a moment and sit with discomfort. Think about a position before you take it. Question things before believing them. See where that leads you.
The best and brightest thing about the future is that we can choose what it is. I hope we choose well.
I’m going to leave comments off on this one. I’m sure that will lead to someone finding me elsewhere and calling me a coward, but that’s not so. I have limited patience these days, and I am still trying to be my better self. One who does not rage or get violent any more. My own personal peace has more value than your opinion, which I am not obligated to listen to anyway.