A flashback to my time in Barcelona late last year (loved the sheer style of this old building!), on account of hearing on the news of lockdown restrictions lifting in Spain.
The country has suffered more than most with Covid-19, but it brought some joy to see footage of children who had been prevented from going outside for weeks, finally playing in the spring sunshine.
When I was there, there was an entire week of Catalan protests, culminating in marches involving over 500,000 persons. I had never seen so many people in one place in my life, let alone such purposeful and agitated crowds!
Contrast that with the deserted Spanish cities under lockdown currently.The television shots of the main centres have been emphatically eerie and quiet.
But the laughter of children running around in parks is a small sign that maybe are heading in the direction of our dreams, rather than being haunted by with a nightmare.
There are no people in my picture, but I hope that those cooped up inside the fantastical building right now, and all around Spain, and elsewhere , get some sense of normality and freedom soon.
Stay safe until then!
‘The Devil Is In The Detail’
Just when you know something is an unholy, sprawling mess, you then have to deal with the prickly, spiky devil that is the detail of the solution to that mess…
I was binge watching the second series of the Ricky Gervais Netflix series ‘Afterlife’ during the weekend.
Wickedly funny, but also filled with pathos and ruminations on our common mortality.
Right at the end of the series the soundtrack featured Iron and Wine’s song ‘Passing Afternoon’ from the 2004 album ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’.
“There are things that drift away like our endless, numbered days”.
The photograph above was recently taken looking over a coastal cliff on a walk ( I haven’t spent all of lockdown on my arse watching TV! ).
The gradations of colour, the deepening sea and the pattern of the waves held me in quiet thrall.
As I took in the view below me; as I watched Gervais’s character grapple with life and death; as Iron and Wine’s gorgeous song played, I found myself drifting….
‘Now To Spread Yer Wings’ April 2020
If, right now, you more time than usual to contemplate your lockdown self, consider this:
“You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling. So don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly”.
(and try not to shit on others from great heights when you get there)
‘The Skies Over Your House’
A view of the ever changing tidescape on the Tamaki, laid out in muddy, shelly, watery strata.
It is my awa(river).
I have lived my entire life within minutes of it.
It calls me to sit with it, to observe its gentle happenings.
There is no sudden jarring event; it has a continuous and relentless rhythm of its own.
If the mudflats at low tide have a certain bleakness to them, they are broken up by a cavalcade of feeding and resting seabirds: gulls, terns, shags, oyster catchers and herons.
The shallows harbour cockles, oysters, crabs, eels, and flounder.
Life teems forth at the awa, but in a subtle way, revealing its many layers in all the time you can spare it…
‘Gothic Arboretum II’
More dark in the park; see also Gothic Arboretum
Fronds, boughs, leaves…and shadows.
They don’t last forever though, and they serve to give perspective to light.
You can’t grow without them both.
The final tranch in a mini-series of local cityscapes.
This older art deco specimen is a real favourite of mine and the shot shows its facade captured in the last rays of sun.
And as with the buildings shown previously, there is much glorious repetition to be had in the many windows and grids that form the facade.
Mention of repetition is as good a way as any to leave things, with my days on continual repeat in lockdown. I will aim for something different tomorrow, I promise…
(carrying on from where my last post Urbanities I left off ; still unresolved in my mind and even more stark in black and white).
Enough nature; I feel the need for some good old fashioned concrete and steel today.
I shot this picture of a downtown apartment block on the way to work a couple of months ago, back when I could still freely commute into the city.
The man made extreme repetition of the building is mesmerising in its own way; cubes – all harsh lines and angles – stacked high against an opaque cobalt backdrop.
Somehow, for all its sterile design perfection, I am left with the nagging feeling of something not completely resolved…
‘The Bend In The Water’
Time and tide move slowly at the mangrove-lined creek; there is an almost imperceptible sense of being connected to the motion of all things, as I stand at the water’s edge and when my mind is as still as my surrounds. Listen, watch, for it is there….
‘Sandstone And Sea’
…the view over a nearby cliff on one of many, many pandemic inspired (forced?) recent strolls in my locale. I am grateful, as always, for beauty in the mundane…
Shaggy dog story (definition, Wikipedia): ‘An extremely long winded anecdote characterised by extensive narration of typically irrelevant events and terminated by an anticlimax’
The border collie’s story:
“I love waves. It is my life’s ambition to catch one. If I did, perhaps I would take one home and perhaps proudly display it next to my food bowl. I found a new beach that seemed a likely spot to catch a wave. There were plenty of them to be found there. In fact, there was a succession of waves. Wave after wave, rolling on to the sand. Some were small. Others were larger, especially those created by the wakes of ferries sailing by on the way to the islands in the gulf . There were white ferries; red ones too. I didn’t get to catch a wave the first day; nor the next day; or the day after that. My owner didn’t seem to mind. She is incredibly patient like that; sometimes I wish she would actually show some disappointment and lose her rag. She doesn’t even get angry with my male master. Never. Don’t you think that’s weird? Maybe if she got angry or disappointed, perhaps she wouldn’t bother take me to the shore to catch a wave. The day this picture was taken I had high anticipation of chasing waves and actually securing one. You can see it in my eyes if you look closely. I didn’t catch one.”
‘Korari In Silhouette’
‘Steps Down To The Sea’
steps down to the sea
rusted out old bastards
purpose all served
tread then with care
alight the last
walk on water
or thought for depths
cross ocean’s sheen
and twisting tides
‘View Over The Old Town’ Edinburgh, October 2019