Weekly Journal 2

1. Eye – Window to the Soul?

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2. A Meditation on the Diversity of Leaves

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3. A Museum of the Universe’s Inhabitants

Exhibit A – The Human

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Exhibit B – A Human Decorative Implement

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Exhibit C – Luminous Spheres of Cosmic Creation

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Exhibit D – Luminous Spheres of Human Creation

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Exhibit E – Night

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Assignment 2: The Eclipsed Supermoon of September

Assignment: Watch the Harvest Moon (eclipsed, blood-red, supermoon) on the night of September 27th. Make one picture, and write 500 words describing the moonlight. _MG_6029

Between the moon and the earth lives an ocean of unknown, infinite in depth, infinite in height, and 238,855 miles in width. But a few times a year, the moon is at once 13,000 miles closer, and full. On those nights, the sky becomes a dome with a chandelier of white moonlight at its center, and a gradient of blue frescoed to its edges. All that hides from the harshness of daylight tip-toes out into the safety of this dome. On the Mystic River, the lily pads alchemize into sculpted silver encrusted in jade, the autumn leaves caramelize into a translucent yellow, and water constructs a canal of indigo ink. The moonlight has made the world an unknown place.

In the mythology of India, moonlight is the radiance that emanates from the Moon God, Chandra. He is so tall, bright, and handsome that the women of earth and sky fall at his feet. Perhaps because of his beauty, perhaps because of the groupies, he behaves as certain men of earth and sky do – he is arrogant. It is hard to find evidence of merit in Chandra. Either he is philandering with the wives of other men, like Tara the Goddess of the Stars and rightful wife of Jupiter, or he is mistreating his own 27 wives, or he is mocking Ganesha, the fat, little elephant-headed god that rides a mouse. As a result of all the trouble he causes his fellow cosmic bodies, Chandra is constantly incurring curses intended to curb his arrogance by tainting his beauty – he waxes and wanes and bulges, he is eclipsed, he turns a bloody red, and sometimes, he is bulging and eclipsed and bloody red all at once.

Such was the state of Chandra on this night, as he fell into the shadow of the earth, and the night sky began to climb along the North side of his face, burying him in darkness. The chandelier dimmed, the fresco wore away, the lillies lost their shine, and the water turned back to water. The moon, was no longer arrogant. It was sorrowful.

It was the night of the Mid Autumn Festival, where faraway in China, moon cakes were being filled with red bean paste, and paper lanterns were being lit. In this land, the moon is not Chandra, but a melancholic woman named Chang’e. Once upon a time, a great hero had been gifted an elixir of immortality, but he so deeply loved his wife, Chang’e, that he refused to drink it and gifted it to her instead. One afternoon, a covetous man barged into their house in an attempt to steal the elixir, but Chang’e refused to give in to him, drinking it herself instead. She was immediately thrust into the celestial world as an immortal, and so she was forever separated form her beloved husband. With no way to return to earth, she came to live on the moon, so that she could at least be closer to the one she loved.

As the moon receded away into darkness on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, it looked down in desolation. The moonlight that had been so bright it spilt over the edges of buildings was turning to black. Chang’e moved into the full shadow of the earth, so that she was perfectly obscured from the sun. Here, where the Earth’s atmosphere had separated away the shorter wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, all that was left was red. And so, before darkness could separate Chang’e from her husband, she blushed into a deep red.

In Medford, Massachusetts, the moon is believed to be a conglomeration of dust that is held together by gravity and falls in and out of the shadow of the Earth based on highly predictable revolutions and rotations. It is statistically predictable that anomalies exist, such as the moon happening to be as many times closer to the earth as it is smaller than the sun, so that the moon is covered in red and eclipsed on the precise night of the Half Moon Festival, the night Chang’e was thrust to the sky, the night of red bean moon cakes and red lanterns.

The moon returns from its 4 hour pilgrimage traversed every 33 years to illuminate the unknown of the earth in light. And so the tales of Chandra and Chang’e and conglomerations of dust come to us to illuminate the unknown of our minds with images of arrogance, and sorrow, and objective truth that we alone can see, but no one can be sure of.

Assignment 1: Blue

Assignment: Take a walk at 6:00 – 8:30 and capture the light of dusk in writing and a single photo.

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Few but the roofs of rush hour cars know that the sun moonlights as a cinema projector. The sky becomes its screen, and on it the stories of clouds are told. Some clouds tragically are engulfed by a big, grey witch, and are survived by nothing but a line of breadcrumbs. Some comically bump into one another, turn around, and bump into one another once again like a blue and white Charlie Chaplain. The climax of all tales begins when the sun has hidden below the horizon, and blue and white are stretched to the edges of the electromagnetic spectrum. Fiery red burns the sky from east to west, intensifying as deep blue attempts to douse it. Regal violet holds its court, touching some clouds with pardon, executing some with scorn. And only when there is red, and violet, and the fire is doused, and the court sleeps, and the tales of clouds hit denouement, may there be blue.

The onlookers from land are smaller beings – but like all viewers of art, seeing alters. Red is refracted in the river below the highway, in the ripples of fish hopping through water and air to eat a sunset snack of winged insects taking an evening stroll. Violet is reflected at the edge of a sidewalk, in closing petals falling into dreams, as the leaves ready themselves sustain the fragile life of a flower through the darkness of blue night. Once the theater of the sky has closed, the theater of life opens, and flower and fish must learn the tragic and comic, the red fire and violet courts that lie in the unknown, in the darkness of the infinite blue.

Perhaps tomorrow, when the sun rises, the flower will wiggle open to take a sunbath, and the fish will hop to its insect breakfast. But since the blue is infinite and dark and consuming, only perhaps.

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Weekly Journal 1 – The World View of a Leaf

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The World View of a Leaf

I. Who owns the shadow?

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II. Where do I wander?

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III. Where am I sunbathing?

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IV. Which sum am I part of that is greater than the whole?

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V. Who are you Shade?

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Learning to Capture Light

Assignment: Take one picture that is overexposed, one that is true to life, and one that is underexposed.

Overexposed 

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True to Life

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Underexposed

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Musings at a Highway Intersection

1. The drone of highway cacophony becomes white noise. The sun’s decline is set to the crescendo of wind pulling a truck back as it speeds down the ramp and a little bumper-less car clicking rhythmically as wheel hits asphalt and rises. In the middle of the concerto is a patch of grass, white-washed in westward light on one side, a mosaic of crisscrossing shadows hidden in eastward shade on the other. Translucent bugs click above the daisies to the west. To the east the trees sunbathe, letting their shadows crescendo into a maze on the grass as the truck drives by, and the sun accelerates to the horizon.

2. The leaf’s vessels are bulging with the surge of sugar, moist with evaporating water, and backlit with the sun against its skins, so that sugar, water, and sun can be eaten to make the spine of the leaf resemble in miniature the stalk of oversized broccoli yellowing with sugar, water, sun spread too thin.

3. In a shaded leaf that has worked a hard day, one can see a dimmed version of its active self, like a neon lime lamp in Las Vegas flickering and slowly slipping into sleep

4. Within the ridged cliffs that border the leaf, passing through the weight of its veins, is naked light projecting a movie of little leaf ballerinas plieing along a bar.

5.Is it a cripple or is it an artist? The leaf’s left hip is curved in, translucent in the sun’s rays, the right hip is curved out, dozing in the shade.

6. One side of her face is cast in shadow, one in light. In light all is bright – rosy cheeks rosier, the ellipsis around the eye that meets the cheekbone reflects like a still lake at dusk. In light, the eye is a murky pond of infinite depth. In shadow it is made shallow. Yet even on this side of shadow where sun is scarce, there is a lost piece of light refracted through the pond by a smile.

7. The big human, in its hot pink head gear, rolls the bicycle along, watching the road ahead to beware of any danger. The little human bikes by big human’s side with full vigor, stomping on the pedals by shifting weight from left to right, its little head looks left to right in awe of the world around him – cars along a highway, orange gates of a storage center, barbed fences.

8. The plane swims through the sky at roughly 300 miles per hour, slow enough to leave behind a trail of linear, unidirectional cloud. The cloud is unlike any in its midst – quickly born, quickly buried – diffused into a gradient towards the horizon. And even when the plane tucks itself behind the sky’s clouds and flies into invisibility – its own cloud remains clear, diffusing. It too travels into invisibility, though not quite at 300 miles per hour.

9. Not all journeys to nowhere are infinite. The path in question is perhaps 300m long, and it is a muddy, grass-lined meandering from strip of highway to strip of highway. It is thicker, muddier, rockier where the sun has dried away its edges; thinner, greener, patchier where the hunching beech tree has shared its shade. Few pedestrians brave this land of SUVs speeding, American excess parking in storage, and Drive-thru Dunkin’ Donuts plying its wares. And so the finite path is kept alive by infrequent footsteps.