Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ephemeral Beauty - for the Autumn I pray he has seen

Spring and Fall: To a Young Child

Márgarét, are you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah!  ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow's spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

                        Gerard Manley Hopkins

      I won't delve into the popular interpretation of this poem in this post.  I just feel like posting it since I felt like I was hearing some of the lines as I took pictures of the beauty of fall by our apartment complex around November of 2010.

     That afternoon was a bit chilly, but still good for walking around the complex.  There were kids enjoying the beautiful weather and they were in the mood to be taken pictures of.  The colors of the leaves of the trees were poignant (simply put) especially for a person like me who didn't grow up to see such deviation in climate and color every year of her life.  Alas!  I had witnessed the real changing of seasons!  And all it took was to come to America. ;p In truth, I did feel as if I have now witnessed the symbolic cycle of life and death that has permeated many a book and poem about life.

     Seeing all these bits loveliness right before all the leaves are plucked and swept away to land on grass, on cobblestones, on playgrounds, on canals, on shady corners, on places both seen and unseen, and maybe forgotten, I have to believe in one thing.  I have to believe that every ephemeral beauty in our world is seen at its height, at its finest, at its splendor, right before they are taken away forever.  I want to believe this.  I have to believe this.  I have to have faith, that as my father lies unconscious, suffering in every part of his skin, feeling only pain at maybe the last few moments of his life, that there is still beauty and reason to it.  That maybe, though I cannot see and feel anything good in what he is going through, in his mind that I cannot speak to anymore, in his unseeing eyes, God is there ---showing him a different scene.  A different place.  Showing him beauty more beautiful and wondrous than the fall I had witnessed, and that only he can behold. A beauty that is NOT ephemeral, but is lasting and serene and at peace.  And that when he goes, he will remember only this, only the wonderful, only the happy and laughable. Only the ephemeral, fleeting yet great, memorable and valuable things his life has had...and not the life that sickness has taken away from him.   This is the greatest hope that I raise wtih both hands to the Creator of this cycle of wondrous beholding. This is my hope and prayer for you, Tatay.  With all my love. 

I love you Tatay.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jumping Over Cows

     In 2010, when I first started using our new DSLR  camera during our trip back home to the Philippines, I chanced upon some kids and my sister-in-law's nephews playing in the street.  They were playing "Luksong Baka" which translated can be said as 'Jumping Cows' or 'Jumping Over Cows' for that was the point of the game.  It starts with the "IT" or the 'cow' crunching on his/her back and the others jump over him/her.  When a round was over, the "cow" still bends over, but this time not crunching too much so as to make the height of his back taller, and he/she does this for the next rounds.  It ends when someone can't jump high enough and makes a mistake like hitting the "IT" with the jumper's foot/leg or falling back over cause he couldn't jump the height.  Come to think of it, Jumping Cows was definitely an accident-happy (like 'trigger-happy') kinda game.  And as an adult, I thought I probably wouldn't play it anymore for fear of hurting myself, or the person who was the 'cow'.  Nevertheless, these kids didn't care and were just having so much fun playing in the middle of the street that I couldn't resist taking out the camera to start taking pictures.

     I just had the basic lens kit and had to go nearer the kids who were playing to get a shot because the range of the lens wasn't long.  I told the kids I would take pictures and they just shrugged.  Many turned out blurred as I was just using the "auto" mode, for I hadn't explored how to use the camera yet.  I was able to take one almost decent shot before I was kicked in the shin by a kid who walked right in front of me, one who was watching the game and not looking where he was going.  (You'll see part of his hand in the picture.) I almost got angry with the kid, thinking about how the camera (the expensive camera that I was still paying for in bestbuy!) almost fell, and I haven't even used it for a month.  He apologized and I let go of my anger. 

    I realized that that was part of taking photos. Sometimes you had to go closer where you'll sometimes run the risk of being knocked over. Unless, you want to take the picture from the same safe angle where you won't feel the gush of the wind, nor see the panoramic view...from above the cow. 

Nah!  I think I just need better lens --- to be on the safe side.  Haha!  ;-p

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Behind the Viewfinder

""Can you See anything?" "Yes, wonderful things.""
- Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter

I saw this quote about photography once and it didn't mean as much to me till I looked through the viewfinder of a DSLR camera which my friend Tina, made me use.  I had just begun taking nicer pictures of people using my 12 megapixel digital camera and it felt good to see people looking younger, skinnier, and lovelier.  But when I first tried out Tina's Canon DSLR camera, I was just mesmerized.  

Since I was on my way home to the Philippines then, and we wanted to document our stay there better than before, my husband and I decided to get a DSLR.  And that was the beginning of seeing such wonderful things behind the viewfinder. 

Yet I feel my photography story did not begin when I got my first DSLR.  I believe it began with my Great Uncle, Manong Cading and the wonderful photos he took of my family and my childhood.  Here's a favorite photo he took of my 8th birthday:

He did not need a fancy camera, all he needed was the eye behind the lens that can see beauty even in the most commonplace and mundane of locations and occasions.  This photograph seized in a single moment, some of my happiest memories as a child.  And I'll always be thankful to him for all the other moments he preserved.

Looking back at this, I reckon that maybe the love for the lens is in my blood.  But I'm not sure if I can capture what Uncle could.  Maybe one day.  For now, all I have is my enthusiasm to see and wonder from behind the viewfinder.