What if you were caught up in something that threatened your very being? And didn’t have the means or motivation to conquer it by yourself?
A fellow blogger (very talented!),whom I only know by her blog name, Beadberry, told of her escape from New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Katrina. See the previous post Five Iron Fleurs-de-Lys
The fleurs-de-lys motifs reminded her of symbols of the French-influenced Crescent City (the Saints football team amongst other things )and, in turn, those memories of fleeing the town before catastrophe struck. Someone she knew had pushed her into getting the hell out of there.
I too had a narrow escape from tragedy a couple of years ago, avoiding death only because someone passing by raised the alarm for emergency assistance as I lay prone on a sidewalk.
I still don’t know who that person was, but I consider him or her as a guardian angel.
There really are saints and angels, human, or otherwise maybe, who look out for us, I reckon. You don’t easily forget a brush with tragedy or death; you count yourself lucky for those who actually gave a shit about you in those times.
And symbols bring those memories back home to us, just when we might forget.
Lions, of course, are symbols of courage and bravery.
Courage features in the second part of The Serenity Prayer:
“Courage to change the things I can”
I think about that which I can change at the start of the day. Whether I act depends largely on whether I have the guts to do so.
Some leonine musical inspiration comes from Irish singer-songwriter in one of his more extended songs:
” I shall search my very soul
for the lion
inside of me”
(Mr. Morrison really rips loose with the vocal chords on this number; the repetition too, as he hits full trance and utters the phrase “listen to the lion” over and over again at one point in the song. It makes for one of his more challenging listens, but that’s possibly the point. I still marvel that Van, well into his musical work by then, was still only 26 or so when this track was recorded – it sounds like someone with way more time and miles under the belt).
The ensign of The Royal Akarana Yacht Club furls in the breeze at Auckland’s Okahu Bay on a fine Sunday afternoon.
Simply, ensigns are naval flags.
I do enjoy a good flag, and especially the value they have to groupings of peoples as symbols and signifiers of their commonality.
Elsewhere on this blog I have discussed how symbols boil down to the essence of what is important to someone and lay that out in simple, readily understandable terms to others.
“This is who I am”; “this is what we are”.
This one ticks a few boxes with its triangular, sail-like shape and crown composed of sails and boats.
On the day I took this picture, there was practice for some international regatta, and I saw young Irish and Italian sailors at work . I could first tell where they were from by their flags!
Footnote: Akarana is a Maori transliteration of Auckland, using the phonetics of that language to spell out the English word. There are no “l” or “d” sounds in Maori, so the closest Maori sounds are used. Also, Maori words resolve in vowels.
Have you passed by a place a thousand times and never noticed something, and then suddenly you do?
I had one of those moments during the week ,when I had a few minutes up my sleeve and stopped on the way to my work shift up at the marae.
Okaku Bay is a lovely flat beach on the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland and the seahorse statue atop a column adorns the art deco changing sheds there. How I had never spotted it before I don’t know.
In my recent travel overseas I filled my photographic boots with all sorts of animalistic symbols – lion, wolves, and unicorns, to name a few, so perhaps had become attuned to seeing such things. Travel in new places causes us to look at home with fresh eyes, too.
It’s all about the magic in the mundane, where ordinary buildings and spaces come alive with images of fantastic creatures. The seahorse discovery transformed my routine day!
Just behind Bastion Point in Auckland ,and up the hill by the marae, sits a trig station.
One of thousands over the country ,on often high vantage points ,acting as geodetic reference points. Once, and sometimes still used by surveyors for precise bearings of latitude and longitude.
It caught my eye this morning, with its stark black and white markings against the cobalt blue sky.
As a child I thought they were totally cool and somewhat mysterious. Maybe aliens had planted them there.To ascend to the top of a hill and then clamber up the trig was to be lord of all you surveyed(excuse the pun).
A symbol, a signifier, a marker. Like a compass, objectively true.
Sometimes its enough to know exactly where you stand…
The bloom of the NZ-endemic toetoe grass feels right as my non -religious symbol for Easter time – soft and feathery but standing defiant in the crisp breeze, flexing and then returning to position -incandescent gold in the late afternoon sun. Gorgeous….something about them lifts the spirit.
Freemasonry is heavily steeped in ritual and the use of symbols, such as the compass and square ,and is shrouded in secrecy. You can only see the exterior of this cool building, not what goes on inside , if you are an outsider like me.
Factoid: Apparently the extensive use of symbols amongst Freemasons goes back to ancient times when many members were illiterate .Symbols were used as a communication tool instead of writing. I have talked of the power of symbolism elsewhere in this blog. Love that stuff. I don’t have a whole lot of other factoids( as I only know one avowed Freemason) but I am okay with that – why take away the mystery?
This is the first of a series of posts where I have photographed places of religion and spiritual belief buildings .Not that I regard myself as religious, but we are all spiritual. The use of symbols and styles of architecture always intrigue and interest me.
Factoid:Tucked away behind the simple wooden church is a little hall where I sometimes meet with others of like mind. Curiously, it has nothing whatsoever to do with religion but there is a spiritual bond there for sure.
Another stained glass roof panel from the entrance atrium of the Auckland War Memorial Museum – a quartered shield tells a story. Quite what the symbols mean, I’m not certain; a red lion atop a castle tower, a tropical palm tree, a plant or vine, and a sailing ship on a voyage to a new land of mountains and hills. The story of a person or people spelt out in bold abstract signifiers and ours to ponder.
Many of the pictures I post are symbols of something else to me, the essence of the image through my own personal prism. They may mean something different to you, or nothing at all .I love the use of symbols depicted in older stained glass windows and panels(and in other art) – in this case the sun and a star – as they cut to the chase and deliver the essence of something important to the creator of the piece in abstract, simplified form. There is also at sense that ancient and universal symbols transcend time, place and culture and the rendering of them like this is immediate and compelling to anyone who views ,and has viewed,them.