So, of course, the day we took Anil and Surindar to visit this historic building, it was Thursday (the only day we had) and it was closed, except on weekends. But there were windows (not very clean) but hey, better than nothing. This was the day I invented for myself the useful process of pressing the iPhone camera against the glass; it seems to peer around the dirt grains, or at least not bring them into sharp focus. Anil said it it looks, in its appointments, very similar to many dwellings in her India. It is actually easier to see details in this photo, than it was to see them through the window.
This photo has started me on a train of thought about domestic rituals, economy, habits and necessities of daily life, particularly in families. While not a particularly grateful person I am thankful every time I run the dishwasher, use a vacuum, run the washer or dryer and put away milk and butter in the fridge. When I began married life, in 1955, all I had was the refrigerator. (I bought it for $10 from a pair of fellows who ran a sewing machine store in Gunnison, Utah. It was a GE, the kind with a cylinder on the top, and room for two ice trays.) And while I still prefer a straw broom (the ones I can get now have deeply declined in workmanship, alas) for many tasks, I relish the choice. On the recent front, I am now a fan of Swiffer Dusters, (having sworn I wold never buy disposable dusters, when you could just use an old rag over and over again) Swiffers for floors, and a bigger flat mop with a washable green & white striped washable cover that is swell for cleaning wood floors. Just spray a dilute vinegar and water solution and rub it twice. Bingo! Dog prints gone!
Tonight we had a most excellent program at the Camera Club of Eagle (Idaho) where Don Johnson took us through a serious examination of how slowing down and becoming more "Zennish" might improve our photographs or at least make them different. Slow down, look, take a picture, simplify, look again, and so forth. As much as being photo tips, it was a short history of Zen thought, as it might be understood without 50 years of sitting meditation under one's belt.
I keep planning to give another poet a chance, but Bei Dao gets one more short one (this is sort of like a photo outing!) tonight:
hawk shadow flickers past
fields of wheat shiver
I'm becoming one who explicates summer
return to the main road
put on a cap to concentrate thoughts
if deep skies never die
from The Rose of Time; new and selected poems by Bei Dao, page 107.