Hands on Flickr.
I have studied faces so deeply and seen the stories that they told in all of the wrinkles… the scars and the folds…
Hands can tell us a story too.
They can read like an open book the tale of how one’s life has been lived.
They can indicate patience or perseverance…
anxiety or calm…
They are to each of us a part of a much greater story.
A Beautiful Day on Flickr.
I love meeting people…
getting close to them and photographing them.
Somehow it feeds and nourishes my soul in so many inexplicable ways.
People can be so beautiful.
Their energy just shines sometimes.
I’ve learned a while back…
you’ve got to be very selective about who you let get close to you.
Their energy one way or another will have an impact on your life.
You want to be surrounded by good and decent people who have an inner light that will shine back on you.
There seems in this world to be two kinds of people.
Those who would consume your inner light and bring darkness to your world in return…
and those who will add their inner light to yours creating a brighter world.
I prefer the company of the second sort.
I’m really fortunate that I seem to find myself in that place so much these days.
Life can be such a warm and wonderful thing if we just let it be.
Let it be.
It’s A Beautiful Day
Smokintexting on Flickr.
People watching has changed since the advent of texting.
People look like they’re ‘alone’ but so often they’re engaged in conversation with others that you just can’t see.
They become somewhat ‘oblivious’ to what’s happening around them.
They ‘tune out of life’ and into their little machines.
I’m guilty too.
I’ve had to shut my phone off or turn it to silent when I’m out shooting the streets.
The distraction is too much.
It takes me away from observing what’s going on around me.
Everyone is so ‘connected’ these days.
Each of us like a single ‘neuron’ in an intelligent system firing off bits of information or receiving them throughout our day.
I had bigger dreams than being a ‘synapse’ in life.
More and more I see ‘freedom’ as tuning out of all of the bullshit and the disruptions.
I wonder sometimes…
is all of this technology making life better…
or is it taking something away?
I Don’t Care
Far Far Away on Flickr.
I spent some time looking out the window this morning.
Sometimes looking out the window can be cathartic in letting us listen to the background noise of our minds I think.
Like sitting on the seashore listening to the lullaby of the waves.
I was thinking about that theater shooting in Colorado.
It’s such a horrible and senseless thing.
I read that the Whitehouse and a number of other state and local governments ordered their flags flown at half mast as a symbol of mourning for the victims of that barbarism.
I can understand that.
But further reading of the news points out that on average forty five people are shot and killed in the United States every day.
That’s about one gun murder every half hour.
In Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend there were forty people shot… ten of them were killed.
Chicago they say, has become the ‘murder capital.’
As the economy remains stagnant I’ve seen the streets get a lot ‘dicier.’
I’m horrified at what that asshole did in Colorado at that movie theater.
He murdered fourteen people… one of them was a six year old girl.
It makes me think of some prick hurting my daughter.
If he hurt my kid I’d steal a bulldozer and ram it through the walls at that jail and there wouldn’t be a trial… for that dickhead at least.
And I’d probably get off on a ‘technicality.’
So our leaders order the flags flown at half mast in mourning for these victims.
But it almost seems disrespectful to all of the other people who are often solitary victims to gun violence to not recognize their plight.
I’ll never take advantage of these situations to espouse some political view… that guns should be banned or that we as Americans have a fundamental right to bear arms.
I don’t think that those things are even relevant.
I still believe that people have ‘free will’ even though that seems to be on the decline.
People who hurt other people and commit acts of violence are self centered and barbaric individuals.
That’s the real issue.
And it becomes an issue on the day a child is born… how they’re brought up… the morals and the values instilled within them.
Mom and dad are at the center of it all.
At least half the time.
The other half of the time children are brought up in single parent homes.
The media… the schools… video games… music… peers and popular culture can tear away at what even the most careful and conscientious parents strive to help their children become.
That kid just didn’t wake up one day and decide to go shoot seventy or eighty people in that movie theater.
Some evil was brewing in him for a long time.
‘What causes this evil’ should be the question I suppose.
And while we’re all wondering…
since that shooting…
two hundred and twenty five people have been gunned down in the United States.
Maybe we should just keep the flag at half mast.
Killing Someone Else is Your Own Suicide
Bookman’s Corner ~ Chicago on Flickr.
Stop Number 3 on the ‘Six Coolest Used Bookstores in Chicago Barefoot in One Afternoon’ tour…
Will Viewminder make it through all six bookshops without getting thrown out for not wearing any shoes?
You can check out the whole expedition’s series HERE ON FLICKR as I keep adding to it.
Six Used Bookstores in One Afternoon ~ Barefoot in a Zookeeper’s Hat on Flickr.
Like a lot of the stupid shit I come up with I don’t exactly recall where the idea had come from.
It wasn’t an ‘exbeerment’ because it came to me right after I’d woken up on Saturday morning.
My daughter… an avid ‘bookworm’ had asked me to take her to a few used bookstores in Chicago.
I’m always trying to teach the chillins how to plan things and formulate an effective approach to conquering whatever it is that they wanna conquer so I told her to do a little web-surfing research and find a half a dozen or so of the best used bookshops in the city and then jump on mapquest and figure out an effective route to hit them all up in one afternoon.
She came up with the top six and hit me up on Saturday morning with an itinerary and maps and everything.
I asked her if she wanted to combine this quest with something I’ve been wanting to do… hitting the ten best coffeeshops in the city all in a day.
It seemed like a good idea but then upon further consideration it just didn’t seem practical.
Out of nowhere I decided that just to see what would happen I’d not wear shoes and spend the day perusing these bookstores barefoot.
It would be like a little ‘social experiment’ I thought.
And given that it’s my birthright to embarrass my children the whole thing came together really quite nicely.
‘Where’s your shoes dad’ she asked me when we went to get in the car.
‘I’m not going to wear any’ I replied.
‘OK’ she said and we were off.
‘You’re going to need a tetanus shot’ she added.
Maybe it was last week’s discussion on the prohibitions of Myopic books that did it to me.
We were off on a quest nonetheless.
Six of Chicago’s coolest used bookstores.
Broken Hearted Cowgirl on Flickr.
When in this world we speak of true love I think that there are two kinds.
There is ‘true love.’
And there is ‘a little girl’s love of horses.’
I don’t consider myself an expert on either.
But today I took my daughter to her first day of ‘horse camp.’
She was so unbelievably excited.
It was as if it were a ‘dream come true.’
She couldn’t contain herself as we drove nearer to the camp when she saw a horse crossing sign.
She was in ‘little girl heaven’ I could tell.
We had a wonderful talk and I dropped her excited self off… kissing her goodbye where nobody could see… because she’s getting ‘too big for that kinda thing now.’
When I went to pick her up this afternoon I found a cowgirl with a badly broken heart.
She’d fallen once from her horse…
and she was thrown from another.
She’s not injured… although they were two pretty good falls the way that she described them…
‘you know how your lungs are sticky inside dad’ she said… ’ I hit so hard on the front that they stuck together and I couldn’t breathe.’
She has no idea how much that woudda hurt if she was ‘a big people.’
This little cowgirl is hurt in a deeper and much more serious way.
It’s as if the ‘love of her life’ has betrayed her.
She looked at me with those big blue watery eyes like she just wanted me to pick up the pieces.
Horses are supposed to be sweet and shiny… with sparkles and rainbows and glittery stuff.
‘They knew I was on their backs dad’ she blurted out in tears… ‘why would they do that to me?’
The tears came and went for the next hour and she told me that she didn’t wanna talk about it anymore.
I asked her if she was angry and she said yes.
I asked her how it all made her feel and she answered quickly ‘nervous.’
She doesn’t want to go to horse camp tommorow.
‘I’m ok with brushing and grooming them dad… I just don’t wanna ride them anymore’ she exclaimed tearfully.
It seemed as if the love that this little girl had for horses only hours earlier had vanished.
I knew that this was a very delicate situation.
For gahdsakes a little girl’s love of horses is on the line here.
‘Situation critical’ I thought… accompanied by the sounds of a submarine’s diving alarm in my head.
I told her I’d be upset about it too.
Maybe even scared.
I told her that every cowgirl gets thrown.
‘One more time my little cowgirl and you’ll be an equestrian’ I advised her.
She didn’t see any humor in that at all.
‘I’ll tell you what kid… I’m proud of you for getting on that horse again’ I said.
‘But the second horse threw me off when he got water splashed in his face… I don’t wanna ride horses any more’ she sniffled.
I hugged her repeatedly.
I did my best to be a ‘mommy’ at that moment… I knew she didn’t wanna hear any ‘dad advice.’
But I couldn’t stop it.
‘It’s ok if you don’t want to ride horses anymore sweetheart… but I don’t want this to be the thing that makes you quit’ I told her ‘if you go back tommorow and ride out the day and you don’t like it you don’t have to go anymore.’
She reluctantly accepted the deal.
Probably to get me to shut up more than anything.
I told her how in flight school sometimes I was scared to get back in the airplane after something crazy had happened… after I bombed a landing or let the plane get out of control…
and I told her how good it felt when I’d conquered that fear and gone on to become a pilot.
‘I know what it’s like to be scared sweetheart’ I admitted…looking up and remembering the terror of spin training… ‘and I know how good it feels to beat that fear.’
‘Can we not talk about this anymore dad’ she whimpered as she broke into tears looking out the window as we drove.
I Will Fix You
Sushi Fire on Flickr.
That’s some killer spicy tuna right there.
When I was in college in Japan I ate sushi for lunch every day.
I miss it sometimes.
It tastes like Japan to me.
I hope you’re adjusting well to the workweek.
The Rain Came Softly on Flickr.
The desert skies had filled with clouds of all sorts and sheltered the metropolis from the burning rays of the sun for the first time in a long time.
It seemed as the first drops fell that all of the plants and the dirt cried out in celebration…
the earth was parched and the water fell and it was like you could see each and every blade of grass turn a more joyous shade of green and stand a little straighter just then.
The leaves of the trees became a happier color and seemed to open wide to the sky and embrace the heavens.
It felt good on my bare feet as the rain drops struck them and the sidewalk became softer and wet.
Momentarily I’d thought about my shoes.
The man made things that insulate me from the connection with the earth that people have had for millennia.
I don’t know why it felt so good to walk barefoot in the rain down the city sidewalks where it’s denizens were scurrying and scampering to avoid the tiny drops of life that fell on them.
It was almost a guilty pleasure.
I can’t explain the feeling of ‘connection’ that going an entire day without shoes gave me.
Towards the end of the afternoon it seemed like I’d forgotten that there’s this ‘boundary’ that society has in that way.
It made me wonder why in this world that there’s this prohibition against going shoeless in a city.
Wouldn’t everyone want to feel this?
It was like a whole new layer of sensory perception had been opened up to me.
I thought it might be uncomfortable… that the soles of my feet would be scraped and scuffed on the rough pavement.
I was wrong.
Not only did my feet feel fine after a couple of miles of walking like that… my body itself felt good.
Shoes let you dismiss the connection with the surface on which you walk.
They in so many ways make it irrelevant.
Wearing shoes allows the body to walk in a sloppy manner… with bad posture and misalignment of all sorts both mental and physical.
Early in the day my gait was different… my steps shorter.
After I’d adjusted to being barefoot something happened to the way that I walked.
Being more conscious of every step I thought more about how I carried myself… how my feet landed on the ground when I stepped.
My body felt different.
I was surprised.
I thought that I would have sore feet.
I thought they’d be all dirty.
But at the end of the day really my feet had never felt so good… and they seemed no dirtier than having gone to the mailbox barefoot.
But I felt the world in a very different way that day.
As if I’d been granted a ‘seventh sense.’
When I tightened the laces on my shoes to go out that night I couldn’t help but feel constrained… as if I were denying something to myself… the feeling of a freedom lost.