Monday, July 30, 2012

Late July

Bright sun-drenched days broken up by a day of rain are of the best times to be alive.  For some reason, I find that July seems to be filled with, even heavy with, an extra dose of hope in the air, and some years it seems to get  stronger with every passing day of the month.

At the tree tops, there is a very certain, resonating, even wild, kind of hope that floats up there.  Some years in the monts of July of my life, I embraced it fully.  Sometimes I couldn't find a way to.  There is one July day I remember when I worked downtwon and I kept catching glimpses of sun spilling onto the streets throught hte windows.  All day I desperately wanted to go walk in the sun, but when I finally made it outside late in the day, it slipped behind a high rise and the clouds quickly covered it up.  That was the kind of summer where I was so wrapped up in my fears, and my worries, and the daunting stack of paper in my inbox that I almost forgot how to embrace the wild hope. 

This wild, resonating hope comes when the sun pours down as the rain evaporates.  It comes when the sun has warmed up the soil deep down into the earth.  It's the kind of hope that comes when you've been desperately looking for it - and it's the kind of hope that comes when you're not looking for it at all.  It's the kind of hope that you might want to consider fully stretching out your arms to embrace, and it silently waits and washes over you if you'll let it...especially in the middle of an afternoon in late July.

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved


Saturday, July 28, 2012

2012 Summer Olympics

We are fortunate that we have friends from so many different cultures.We are always learning new things, and we are always learning new ways to perceive the world around us. 

We had a get-together with some friends where each person or family brought a dish from their various cultural heritages.  The plan was for my little one and I to make the flags together.  She helped a little, and then decided she wanted to watch cartoons instead.  I had a ton of fun coloring these little flags...

We watched the amazing 2012 London Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony, and enjoyed good food to go with it.  The buffet opened up and we made short work of the pizza, Santa Fe style salad, baba ganoush, tzatzki, American green bean cassarole, Swedish meatballs, Scottish Shortbread, British trifle, and other very good stuff.

Something about watching the Olympics, especially when the opening ceremonies artistically and dramatically show the progression of a culture through history, gives us all a rush, and a certain hope in how we all have the potential in us for something great - both individually and collectively.  Within this sense of hope, the distance closes between us all.

That's the part that anyone from any culture experiences and remembers when we watch the Olympics - both the ceremonies and the sports - that greatness within mankind.And the more we learn from each other, the more this becomes possible.


(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Player One

Two recent blog entries I did this month discuss the astounding and the miraculous.

The Most Astounding Fact in the Universe from 7/6/12 discusses how the very atoms of our bodies originated from the guts of stars that went super nova and exploded.  It is astounding to know that we can look up at the universe and see the universe reflected in us.

The Miracle of You from 7/16/12 discusses the mathematical odds of your existence.  To look at these numbers and to try to wrap your mind around them should cause us to see everything differently.  It should cause us to see every person we have ever known differently, because this shows us the profound value of every person we pass by every day - from the person in the cubicle next to yours that you may only know just a little bit about, to the homeless man we pass by on the corner who is struggling for his daily existence.

And when we can begin to see even more of the value, and the beauty, and the miraculous in others, we can begin to see even more of it in ourselves. 

Today, I want to begin to ask this question of myself and of every Gen Xer who reads this...
In light of the astounding and the miraculous that has brought us to this place in history, and in light of what constantly bombards us in the news about all the horrible and appalling we now must  think about why we are here at this time and place...

So, Player One, what will you do at this crossroads?

What if this generation was given the name X because it actually symbolizes a crossroads?  We have an enormous responsibility to take the world forward by our present and future decisions.  What if X marks the spot on the timeline of modern history where things began to really get better?  Every experience of your life had prepared you for the amazing things you are about to do that will make the world better now and for the generations that follow. 

There is probably something that you can do today.  You probably already know what it is.  No matter how seemingly small, it will propel us all forward.  Even the smallest thing can alter the timeline of history. 

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Miracle of You

You are a miracle.  Every one of your direct ancestors - going back through all the generations before your generation to the beginning of humanity as we know it - lived to pass on the DNA that became you. 

Author and blogger Dr. Ali Binazir did the actual calculations and the probability of your existing at all is:

 1 in 102,685,000

Various analogies can be given to try and wrap your head around this number.

One example is this: two million people getting together each day to play a game of dice with a trillion sided die...and they all come up with the same number.

Another example comes from Buddhist teaching: Imagine there was one life preserver thrown somewhere in some ocean and there is exactly one turtle in all of these oceans, swimming underwater somewhere...the probability that you came about and exist today is the same as that turtle sticking its head out of the water - in the middle of the preserver.  On one try.

Here is my analogy: Let's say there was a factory that makes confetti cake sprinkles and of all the millions of sprinkles, there is one that has been marked with your initials on it.  Let's say every employee in the factory takes all the lids off every container in every case of sprinkles in the whole building and throws them up into the air as high as they can simultaneously.  Let's say someone is walking around in random patterns all over the factory and this person  lifts up his hand in the very moment the sprinkles are launched...only to catch the one piece that has your initials on it in the center of his palm. 

A recent article on a Catholic web site does a great job on explaining the sanctity of this...

You landed in the palm of God's hand.  Live your life like it is a miracle.  It is. 

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ground Kontrol

My husband and I recently went to Ground Kontrol, a well-loved retro Portland arcade.  The place was full of Gen X and Gen Y people, and a lot of familiar classic arcade games like Tetris, Donkey Kong, Tron, Pac-Man, Centipede, and others.  I noticed a few priceless Gen X images around and I decided I would have to snap a few shots to share...

This image will forever be ingrained in the visual memories of  Gen Xers.   

Mappy?  I don't remember this one.  

Very cool under-lit tables bring ambiance to the restaurant/bar area.  

Friendly, bearded people drinking unpretentious beer, a prominently displayed
 recycling center, and a menu with gluten free options on it..what could be more Portland than this?  

For slide show interior design award winning images of the place that include pics of the fiber optic lighting, and restrooms that have to-the-pixel Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man tile mosiacs on the bathroom floor, click here:

In addition to regular video games, there are also a lot of pin ball machines on the upper level.  Here are some images from an a seriously old-school early 70s game:

As Gen Xers lived a nomadic existence in their growing up years, an arcade was a place that they could go that would more or less be the same from one town to another.  Video games and pinball machines have truly become part of the landscape of our collective experience.

Thanks for reading, and may you have the kind of week where you unexpectedly get 1000 points 
all at once....

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Trains Under a Big Sky

Trains in the Portland, Oregon area...

The silver train car: Willamette and Pacific Railroad

The Western Pacific Railroad

Empire Builder: the train than runs from Chicago, Illinois to the Pacific Northwest

When I hear a train go wailing by in Portland, I am instantly connected to the trains I have heard in the distance
 in all the places I have lived and visited in America.  

It is hard to say what stirs my soul more - the image of a train under a bright blue sky holding the promise of a beautiful day and warm breezes ahead, or a train under a dark sky of heavy gray clouds holding the promise of rain for the thirsty fields below them.  I have always felt  a strong connection to the landscape of wherever I have found is amazing the way it all becomes a part of you.

Whether it comes from the empty train cars that have been slept in by wandering souls, or from the air conditioned train cars that have been sat in by people watching the landscape change from one coast to another, trains are familiar with the weight of the human experience.  Because trains are always moving through the dawn, and dusk, and all hours in between, they have an intimate understanding of time and space.

Whether we watch the landscape moving through glass, or whether we feel it come alive as the wind blows on our face, and whether we are thinking of  some schedule that we must be on time for, or whether we are letting ourselves just be, one way or another we are all transients.

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Most Astounding Fact in the Universe

"We are all made of stars..."    - Moby

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved