Tag Archives: b/w

higher ground – for meditation and contemplation

(after clicking play, click on lower right icon of player to see full screen)

higher ground

i feel the rain come in
the smell before the wind
leaves fold down
those pale green crowns
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

i watch the river rise
both forks are snake eyes wise
set me down on higher ground
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

i’m back where i came from
the trees the old deer run
worn out trails
tucked tired tails
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

i’ll meet you up the hill
your hair it’s falling still
lay me down on higher ground
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

the nights were cold and clear
and every star hung near
reaching round for higher ground
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

— david elias
photographs from windy hill, northern california

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near red mountain in new mexico

it’s all october…new mexico in b/w

I have traveled a lot by myself in all different ways. Maybe you have too. I probably started travelling when I was a young boy investigating a large woods and creek behind all the houses where we lived in Ohio. There wasn’t any development beyond that boundary and so the woods and creek had their places undisturbed as long as I lived there which was until 16.

nm-xmas

Beyond the woods was farmland. As far as I know none of that has changed but believe me when I say I’m not in a huge hurry to go back and find out. I like it the way it “is”. There were easy adventures to make from there since the boundary was as far as I knew and believed limitless. In my teen years it was even possible on good winter spells to cross-country ski back there. And we did.

nm-xmas7

So travelling alone was really an adventure in nature to me then and remained that way until this very day. It doesn’t have to be far and it doesn’t have to have any particular route or destination. It’s an adventure after all. Not remembering exactly where I’d been or how to get back there was half the thrill. it still is.

snow-grass-nm

In these ways I often learned about places in sensory ways. I didn’t care much about maps and never used a compass and just didn’t pay attention to external descriptions of where I was moving through. Instead I would create these catalogs of internal information about how things responded to me being there. This rarely included running into other people. It was very much about the space and how it received me being there.

red-earth-nm

One of my all time favorite songwriters and arrangers as well as singers is Neil Finn from Crowded House fame. But his solo records that began quite awhile back after Crowded House faded away are out of this world.  Anyway, one of his songs says “Birds talk to me. Birds talk to me”. That is very much how I’ve felt many times in the right place on a nature adventure, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with birds, though it might.

red-rock2-nm

So I got in my car one late December day in California up in the SF Bay Area and headed south to LA so I could turn East and go back to Joshua Tree. Or somewhere like that. It turned out I ended up driving 2500 miles all the way out to northern and southern central parts of New Mexico, between Hwy 40 and Hwy 10, stopping in Arizona and the Grand Canyon on the way.

red-rock4-nm

I remember that when I got to the intersection of Hwy 25 that runs straight up into and through Colorado I found out that the entire highway had been closed in the state of Colorado. There was so much snow up there that year at that very time I was travelling that I think they stopped delivering mail in Boulder for a couple days at least. Isn’t that not supposed to ever happen? Life is like the weather. Neil Finn sings “Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you, everywhere you go always take the weather.” Go Neil.

nm-xmas5

So I found a lot of very quiet, snowy, icy, sunny, cold, spotless, rockfull, watery, frosted, thawing, running, frozen, squeaky, silent, spacious, sacred, resting, sighing, bowing, crawling, ancient, memorial, shadowy, brilliant places to walk through, sometimes sleep in, often sit still in, and sometimes photograph. I don’t recall the trail and have only one photo of one sign reminding me that it was Red Mountain I was around that day or two.

nm-xmas2

So Christmas Day came and went through the mostly silent patience of some very beautiful roads and country. I felt like I was taking care of something by paying attention to the right things. I didn’t meet up with or speak to many people overall. It was a silent journey. But a lot was being said to me.

nm-xmas4

I have a song called “It’s All October” that became a video using shots from that same journey.  All the B/W photos were taken in digital B/W on a small 1M Canon Powershot. Instead of converting color frames to B/W later, I feel that setting the camera to B/W (mono) is the only way to see things right when I’m shooting. I also have this tech-suspicion that light and exposure might be handled differently by the digital camera based on the different settings between B/W (mono) and color. Just a feeling.

snow-grass2-nm

“It’s All October” is something of a journey in itself back to those days I was investigating the edges of woods and farmlands in unknown parts of the south boundary of the town I grew up in. I was learning how to pay attention to space. In writing the song, I was also learning how to live with less.

It’s All October

Set my boot on the ice under frozen fields
Took my breath right away
Watched the rings of those vapors fade from the real
It’s all October today
It’s all October today

I looked around to see where all the leaves had gone
But a few left to stay
There to remind me that nothing was really wrong
It’s all October today
It’s all October today

As I fall on those clear and cold autumn blues
Where some part of me stays
I still live through those colors that came with you
On those October Days
It’s all October today
It’s all October today

Set my boot on the ice under frozen fields
Took my breath straight away
I’m still living through those colors we came to believe
On those October days
In those October days
It’s all October today