Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hoping no one will notice he's real, and alive

Today was a good day, and I went for a walk with the children after sunset.

(Posting title is from the poem Slide by Umberto Fiori, translated by Geoffrey Brock.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Look for me not when gusts of winter blow

We got more than 10 cm of fresh snow today. I commuted by bus, as the car was being repaired, and it was rather nice to not be driving in the bad traffic conditions. Luxury of having a driver...

Monday, February 27, 2012

The maturity of snow

It is great that the length of day is now well over 10 hours, more than four hours longer than it was at the shortest. Though today I didn't catch any sunshine because of the clouds.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

To take us slowly back to where we came from

We had a sunny day, good for cross-country skiing. Some symptoms of the flu still linger, but slowly I'm getting back to normal.

(Posting title is from the poem Retreat by John Fuller.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Serves to advance an honest mind

Zen in the Art of Archery is a short book written by Eugen Herrigel. I hadn't read it until this week, and was positively surprised. Thanks to Markus for suggesting the book.

Herrigel wrote a modest book, not making any bold claims, but in the modest approach Herrigel stated something which feels deep, beyond words. It is a paradox that this book tells about something that can't be described in words.

Some parts of the book, delving in mystical depths, do not really speak to me, but those parts in which Herrigel describes the practice of archery, the forgetting of the self, those are strong and straight words. And this made me wonder whether photography can work as a practice of Zen - something which I have been thinking once is a while during the last few years. The book The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori seems to suggest there are ways of seeing.

There are a lot of books with the word Zen in the title, most of the rubbish. But I remembered one which is worth reading, despite the misleading title, namely Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing.

Bradbury is one of my all-time favorite authors, and in this book he tells of writing something which is quite profound. However, Bradbury's book doesn't have anything to to with Zen. Or maybe it has...

(Posting title is from the poem Go and catch a falling star by John Donne.)

Wiping my glasses and leaning westward

Here are some more photographs from yesterday, when we visited the WeeGee Exhibition Centre in Espoo. A treasury.

(Posting title is from the poem Clouds by Denise Levertov.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

That soft lost near and distant voice

Today we visited WeeGee Exhibition Centre in Espoo, where there are a lot of interesting museums. We saw toys from different periods, objects from all over the world, and old clocks.

Speaking of clocks, they seem to be a lost art, as almost everyone has a cell phone. Or is there a role for a clock in the world of today?

Well, maybe there is one transient use: those who fly frequently don't love the "Please switch off all your electronic devices" announcement. If you want to know the time during such a time, a clock helps, and you don't need to switch it off even though it may be electronic.

Some of the clocks we saw were rather remarkable, having up to seven different hands: seconds, minutes, hours, weekdays, day of the month, month, and phase of the moon. High techology in the old times.

(Posting title is from the poem In the Museum at Teheran by James Laughlin.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The very wish of water is reversed

Do you use a fountain pen? I use one, and it is the fifth which I have used so far. Three of the previous ones I used so long and so much that they were completely worn out, and one was no good from the beginning, and I soon gave up with it.

My three last fountain pens have been of the Parker brand. I'm sure that there are other good brands, but the fact of having access to ink cartridges has determined the brand for me.

Until this month I have always resorted to ink cartridges, thinking that it is too much hassle to use bottled ink.

But now I'm trying out a converter for the Parker pens, of the screw type, the so-called "luxury" converter. Although I don't know what is "luxury" about it, as the price was about the same that for a slide converter.

My first try with filling the converter from the bottle succeeded reasonably well, with a little bit of spilled ink, some of it on the fingers. But so far so good.

If you haven't used a fountain pen you may wonder why use such a thing? Well, I write a lot by hand, and my hand easily gets tired if I don't have a good writing tool. A fountain pen works well for me.

Now that I have a converter (actually, I bought two) I don't need to go to buy cartridges so often. Usually I buy two packages of five cartridges when I buy them, and one cartridge lasts about two weeks. A bottle should last much, much longer.

By the way, I bought the converters and the ink bottle from a shop in the UK, called The Writing Desk. Seldom I have seen such care in packaging the items; a remarkable thing given the rather modest price of what I bought. The next time I'm shopping for a fountain pen I think I'll look first here at what is available.

(Posting title is from the poem A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra by Richard Wilbur.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Less bigger than the least begin

Wet got some wet snow today, but not much, so there wasn't a great deal of shoveling to do. Well, I moved some of the earlier snow to another place, to have space for the next snowfall. Which happens tomorrow if the weather forecast holds.

(Posting title is from the poem love is more thicker than forget by E. E. Cummings.)