The Flow of Time (North II)

My first stop on my expedition north was at the Black Rock Nature Preserve, which features sandstone cliffs and, we guessed it, a black rock.

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There is not much to do, but I didn’t ask for it, and the steep climb down the cliffs rewards with satisfying views.

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The preserve borders at the Wabash, with becomes a few hundred miles further south a tributary to the Ohio.

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Unlike time, a river’s past and future are certain. But this certainty has the disadvantage that it nurtures the desire to be elsewhere. If I entrust myself to these waters here, I will be in New Harmony after a while. 

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What certainty was I given when I was entrusted time?

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Certainty and time can both be merciless, each in their own way.

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Introversion (North I)

When I explain 4-dimensional geometry to the layperson, I usually begin with forward, sideways, upward, and, then, inward as the fourth direction needed. It helps a little.

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Earlier this month I went a few hours north to explore places I haven’t visited before, which is may way to begin an introspection.

One of the stops was the Portland Arch Nature Preserve, which features one of the rare arches of this state.

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To move inward, we begin with the broadest perspective, and then slowly refocus on the essential. Aren’t these rocks something?

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What was familiar begins to appear strange.

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The clearly structured 3-dimensional world begins to dissolve into abstract patterns of color and light.

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Are we getting closer to the core of things when we give up our grounding in a rationalized universe?

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And do we merely turn upside down when we walk under the arch, or do we also turn inside out?

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To paraphrase Heinrich von Kleist: Crossing under the arch a second time has helped to fall back into the state of rationality.

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Recursion (Solitaire XXV)

Time for another Isolation Puzzle while the days grow darker. Here are all 30 squares whose sides are colored in four different colors, chosen from five available colors. Print and cut them all out:

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Pick one of them. The first easy puzzle is to assemble it using four of the remaining 29 squares, like so, for instance:

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Notice that the border of the 2×2 square matches the border of the chosen square, and squares that touch must match along their common sides, too. The second not quite so easy puzzle is actually four puzzles, namely to assemble each of the four squares on the right using 16 of the remaining 25 squares. No duplicate usage is allowed! Below is a solution for the top left square. 

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Do this with the other three squares. The solution is by no means unique, and it is well possible that you get stuck and have to revise your choices. When done, you are left with 9 remaining squares. The final not at all easy puzzle consists of assembling them into a 3×3 square so that the sides are in one color each, and again tiles match their colors along joint sides. Like so:

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In the above example (yours might well be very different), can you also have dark green occur on the sides of the 3×3 square? And, has this anything to do with dark green missing in the square we started with? Sometimes the past is going to haunt us…

And finally (but maybe this is impossible), can you make the 3×3 square so that its border is an enlarged version of the square we started with?

Prayer for Water

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The long drought that ended today caused the water levels of our water reservoir Lake Monroe to drop so much that the usual impassable lakeshore became easily walkable, allowing a detour from my pandemic hike, the Pate Hollow Trail.

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I took the last opportunity, and the clouds were worth it. Landscape and soul can become one.

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Heavy rain today and tomorrow will soak the firm beach,

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 but to restore the water to its normal level, we would need more like 40 days of rain.

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The wood seems to be waiting.

Fall Colors

I thought all paintings had colours, actually, he says

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In Jon Fosse’s Septology V, Asle delivers a painting in black and white, in dismay to the friend who commissioned it.

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The lack of color is a misunderstanding, like the lack of harmony in contemporary music. It is not the celebration of an absence, but its recognition.

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We only seem to appreciate this when the absence is more intense than the presence.

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But it has its dark side, too, showing us that there are places that have never seen color, that are sheer absence.

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The consolation? There are still both darkness and light. It could well be all dark.

Three Times Around

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In fairy tales doing something three times usually accomplishes the job — be it with a good or bad outcome. So let’s try it out with Strahl Lake in Brown County State Park.

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We arrive well before sunrise, when both lake and air are shrouded in layers of fog. This is a dream like state where reality is separate from us.

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Color, it seems, is more intense now, but maybe only in our imagination.

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Each time I pause at this iconic view for a few minutes. The sun is up, but not yet able to penetrate the fog. Should we go back to sleep? Of course not, no fairy tale stops at the number 2.

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After the third time, only a thin layer of fog remains, now separating reality from its virtual mirror image.

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We have woken up — what have we lost?

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Patience (Just Trees 4)

A year after I returned to serious photography, in 2009, I came across this archaic ritual:

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Whenever I visited McCormick Creek State Park subsequently, I stopped here for a few minutes.

2010 Winter

Visiting this place became a ritual by itself.

The winter of 2009/2010 was violent, and the tree got a bit dislodged.

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It remained like this for another year.

2011 Winter

But in 2012, the spring flooding carried the tree away.

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Whenever I passed by, I checked how this place had changed, hoping for another fallen tree to appear on the altar stone.

Last year, something unexpected emerged.

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A young sycamore has grown, lodging its roots under the rock.

Let’s be patient.

Just Trees 3

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Living in the moment or living through time is done best in full clarity. But one can also experience life in a less focussed state of mind.

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And by this I don’t mean intoxication, but the conscious effort to admit the obscure.

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In music, this happens when we start to listen to the silence in between the notes.

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Visually, this happens when we unfocus.

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In life, it is a way to accept what is between inside and outside of us.

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Just Trees 2

The tree pictures from Tuesday’s post were taken within a few minutes, exploring more space than time. Their complexity was due to structure and color. 

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This corresponds to one particular way how one can organize one’s life, through moments of significance, lived to the fullest. 

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Today’s tree images were taken over the course of an entire morning. Individually, they are much more simple — there are few colors, and the structure doesn’t overwhelm.

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This sequence suggests another way to consider one’s life, as a process, in acknowledgement of time passing.

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The fog in Tuesdays images was secretive, increasing the mystery of the single moment. Here, the fog is for protection from the penetrating light of the rising sun.

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