Sep 27, 2016

Hiking, Smoking, and Southern California.

Assumptions about smokers...

It is a nasty habit; I shouldn't do it; and I wrestle with quitting, believe me. The fact that I smoke also places me in a unique category in terms of the generally ecologically-minded hiking community.

Crazy haired half naked hiker on a bridge
I smoke.  So what. 

Essentially I am a misfit
There is a natural assumption among Hikers that I am disgusting, have no regard for nature, don't care about other hikers, and put out my cigarette butts wherever I'm done smoking - most likely right on trail. 

Sep 25, 2016

Cloud-Cover in the Cascades

Cloud for ming over the Cascade Mountains
Cascade Cloud Cover

Clouds have the ability to inspire the human imagination like few other things in life.  Just as no two snowflakes are ever the same, so it is with the sky. The ever-morphing protean nature of its primary denizens ensure that our skies are anything but boring.  

While hiking through the Cascade Mountains I happened upon a cloud-birthplace of sorts. For several hours I found myself mesmerized at the constantly shifting churn of fog and and mist at what appeared to be only a few hundred feet from the Trail.  This violent ocean of fierce and foam mothered dozens of cumulo-nimbus children during my watch, and no doubt thousands more after. 

Clouds have lives of their own it seems; some hopeful and happy, others forlorn and disgraced.  As my imagination settled, I stopped fantasizing them to be anything other than what they were: simply beautiful.   

- Justin

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Sep 19, 2016

Apollo at Dusk

Looking through a series of photographs I took in my hometown of San Diego, I came across this pretty amazing tribute to the Sun God.
I keep my eyes on the sky and have for quite a while now. The heavens are changing before us, and I think most people, have noticed.  Never before did I look upon the Sun, Moon, clouds and changing star patterns as I do today.  What once was firm, is no longer. I invite you to do the same, and see what has changed in your mind's eye.

A link to the full downloadable image can be found here

 This sunset  preceeded an incredibly large and bright Moonrise from the opposite horizon.

A risen moon against blue sky and brown earth.
A risen Moon.
The Moon, its history and its mythic proportions, I find utterly fascinating.  I am quite taken with this etherial body and catch myself photographing it whenever possible.  After speaking with a Buddhist, and learning how his people follow a lunar calendar, I realized something rather simple and extraordinary: In the West not only do we not use a lunar timekeeping cycle, we don't use a true Solar one either. Our entire system of timekeeping is based on neither lunar nor solar events, but rather upon arbitrary days whose roots sometimes stretch back to ancent times, but more often hail from modern ones.

While this is may be common knowledge, certainly, I don't believe that the underlying implications of this way of life may be.
For Buddhists, who follow a lunar calendar and honor the moon at each full moon period, are deeply tied to the moon and its cycles in a way that we in the west can never be.  It makes no difference to us whether the Moon is here or there, up or down, waxing or waning.  We have lost our connection to the Moon and with it our connection to celestial events entirely.

Ask 10 people to spot more than a single constellation in the night sky, and you will see precisely what I mean. Completely disconnected.  When one thinks upon our clearly limited connection with the Earth, the point becomes even clearer. As above so below.  In the west we have become so very far removed from both our terrestrial and celestial roots, it is small wonder we treat the world as commodity and would do the same to the stars if given the opportunity.

We have neither Earth nor Sky to ground ourselves.  We toil away within the middle bubble as though the things we do are of any significance whatsoever, when compared to those constants that once anchored ancient man.

In that realization the falsehood to which we have condemned ourselves becomes apparent. Within it lies the key to a salvation, not born of material wealth or egomaniacal lust, from which we drive forward this society, as a master drives his slave. But rather a salvation more deeply rooted in the Universe of which we are part.

It was a mistake to give up the Moon.  She calls upon us to notice her cycles and mark her occulted dance. Perhaps that is what makes my fascination with her so complete. Would that I be an Endymion, in this ultra modern age.

- j

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