A New Year to Let the Awe In. (There’s No War in World)

My favourite capture of the year.

My favourite capture of the year.

 

We’re 15 years into the millennium!

Wondrous. Wonder. Awe. Reminders of LIFE.

I rarely leave the house without my camera, even if I’m in a cranky mood, or just walking to the supermarket or taking stuff out for recycling (a fairly complicated process in Japan that requires a fair bit of walking – well worth it!)

You never know how the sky is going to turn, or whom will be suddenly be doing what, or how the sun might lighting a flower to look like a fairytale, or what visual feast might appear before you.

Life is full of momentous occasions, the kind you expect and prepare for, and also the kind you can’t possibly anticipate — and we’re doing ourselves a great service when we can make a point of being present for every last second of it.

This doesn’t mean having a camera strapped to us at all times, of course. Image-making just happens to be one form of expression that gives me a great deal of joy. I’m always infinitely happier, it should be said, when I manage to carve some time to sit and observe my breath, when the only universe I have access to exists behind closed eyes. There’s nothing “only” about this, in my modest experience!

But most of life is lived with open eyes, and this is no small opportunity to have them open with full attention to the moment at hand, so we can see that behind/underneath our desires for how the world should look/be/appear/treat us, there is a humming, thriving, perfect world just as it is.

And just as we are.

It exists whether we have the thickest cloud or happiest rainbow filtering our view on any given day, and it’s our privilege to be able to find it.

I took the photo above on a crisp, sunny winter day. I walked by, at first absorbed in one interior drama or another, and something about the scene caught my eye. I turned and saw this man sitting on a bench at the park closest to where I live. From my view, he was caught in the “frame” of this ancient, strange play structure, and instinctively, before I reached for my camera, I took a few steps backward to frame the man in the center ring.

I couldn’t help but think: how happy we would remain if we seized every opportunity to make any of the infinite, small adjustments that are fully in our power to make, to manifest moments of always-beautiful and always-changing perfection.  It could be as simple as remembering to take a long, deep breath; or opening our eyes just a little wider with a heart that is just a little more expansive; or expressing gratitude for the air that gives us life, and the people who give us the great honour of practicing love.

Happy New Year, dear everyone, and may 2015 bring you a world full of joy and passion, peace and magic.

Tammy x

 

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Memories are Yesterday’s Delights (There’s No War in World)

Tammy T. Stone

Tammy T. Stone

 

Memories are Yesterday’s Delights

(Thailand, India, Laos)

Memories, like the time we rented a motorbike and rode for an hour to Udon Thani so we could try to flatten the silver we bought in Bangkok under the passing trains at the tracks, and how it didn’t work at all, but we sat there for hours waiting for the train to pass, keeping an eye on the silver glinting under the sun, wrapped up to protect it from the crushing weight of the train.

I went to the nearby 7-11 to buy us sweet breads and chips and a Sprite to share while we waited, and thought about how I used to have no taste for sweet bread but how tastes can change and how everything changes …

… and how we discovered a Daiso – Japanese Dollar Store – on that trip, and how we didn’t really find any reason to like Udon Thani until almost a year later, when we spent the night at a charming guesthouse and discovered a night market and food court and a desolate, huge modern shopping centre which we explored after dark …

… or the time we met the eccentric older lady during our 39 hour bus ride from Manali to Leh, in India now, and she offered us apricot seeds while we were waylaid at an army barracks somewhere along the way after a landslide blocked the road, and how we took such great photos at the barracks under the perfect bright sun after drinking chai coming from the mess hall, and how, sometime later or earlier, I don’t remember, the lady came to sit next to us while we ate lunch in one of the several canopied tents offering rice or noodles, and we were already queasy from being at 4,000 feet and were made more so from the blue pallor cast on us from the impossibly bright sun poring through royal blue tarp …

and how the lady looked at my husband and asked if he was an artist because she saw so many bright colours coming off him, and she saw him as an artisan, working with his hands, which is true, and one of his great many talents …

or the time we met a Spanish girl who introduced us to the sauna in the centre of Vientiane’s tourist district, tucked away in an alley, and how we extended a trip there for days so we could visit the sauna, where we could sweat it all out and talk about everything and anything while sipping tea at tables full of Lao locals and monks alike, in a courtyard with no roof so that we could follow the tree planted ages ago right up to its highest branches and suddenly find ourselves in the sky, sometimes cloudy and sometimes a perfect sunny blue,

and how everything felt possible then; or the time, almost exactly a year later, when we watched schoolchildren in Chiang Rai perform a traditional dance they must have practiced for, for ages, while we rang in the new year, in the delightful swarm of intimate strangers.