asakiyume: (november birch)
These cows are here, winter and summer--under these pine trees. Up the hill from them right now is a huge pile of butternut squash which I think? they must be eating? I like them; they are shaggy.

cows in the distance

Black Cow

BTW... there are two entries before this one that I think possibly didn't make it into people's feeds. I did some hijinks with postdating and initially making private entries and then changing them to public, and I think they may have fallen into a friends feed oubliette.


Mar. 17th, 2018 04:54 pm
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
I really love the work of the photographer James Morgan.** He takes me all over the world--like to a Newar wedding ceremony:

Mr. Morgan explains the photo:
Among Newar people in Nepal, young girls are first married to a bael fruit, as in this image. They will later be married to the sun. The third marriage is to a man
Source on Twitter; source on Instagram

Fascinating! I just can't stop thinking about the possibilities of consecutive marriages like this--it's sparked a story in me, I think. I can feel it tingling to get out.

If you'd like a little more on the Newar marriage traditions, here's a post that goes into more detail about the marriage to the bael fruit, and here's one about the second marriage, the one to the sun. (My story won't be about their marriage traditions; I'm intending on taking the idea somewhere else.)

**You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, if you're on either of those platforms, or just check out his website.
asakiyume: (snow bunting)
[personal profile] duccio took this photo of his neighbor feeding the pigeons, watched over, sidelong-secretly, by a statue of an angel or a saint or a contemplative someone.

[personal profile] duccio and some others on LJ/DW have this thing where they draw each other's black-and-white photos. He invited me to give it a try, and I did, twice (actually many many times, but only twice that I'm sharing), once trying to copy the photo, and once trying to show what I see in it.

It's hard, yo. The photo tells the story so perfectly; I can't represent it any better.

from a photo 1

from a photo 2

In my mind, Davi delights in the birds, loves the sound of their wings, loves their milling around his feet, loves that he can give them this gift. And the angel loves Davi. Not romantically. Angelically.
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
Today I did a creative-writing session using the collection of photos I'd put together, and it was fascinating (and in some cases touching) to see what photos people chose, and why. It'll take me some time to put the stories online, but when I've got them up, I'll link to them.

But here are some of the photos people chose:

That's by Wanda Lotus, who does great photos from the subways, streets, and parks of New York City. Check out her work here or here, and consider supporting her Patreon.

This next one is by Marcey Jacobson (1911–2009), an American who moved to Chiapas, Mexico, and took many photos there during the 1950s. (Her Wikipedia entry is here.)

The next photo, by Federico Rios, is of FARC guerrillas in Colombia. The source is a 2016 photo essay in the British Journal of Photography (Note: All the photos were printed in black-and-white for the prompt)

FARC soldiers

This photo of boys playing soccer is by a Ghanaian photographer, Francis Kokoroko, whom I follow on Tumblr (here). The original, larger version of the photo is here.

And here's one that I took, of a baby contest at the B-town fair in 2009.

Baby contest

There are many more pictures! But the cat is whining, so I'll call it a day with these.

Quick PS--I'm slow to come to songs sometimes, and this Sia song "The Greatest" has been out for a year, but the chorus, Don't give up, I won't give up, don't give up, no, no, no, is a great message.
asakiyume: (Em reading)
The British Journal of Photography has a post featuring classrooms around the world, taken by Julian Germain.

I found them so attractive and thought provoking that I went to his page for the classroom project, which includes photos not included in that article. The international photos start around image 9.

They conveyed a lot not just in what each photo contained or lacked (though my eye was drawn to the stamp "donated by Ogean Energy" on a desk in a captionless photo--donors always having to get their due), but in their side-by-side contrasts. An all-black classroom in St. Louis, followed by an all-white classroom, also in St. Louis:

A class in Peru where everyone is in uniform, followed by another Peruvian classroom where the kids are in ordinary dress:

And, of course, classrooms of all boys or all girls.

Germain says,
We are responsible for the world they’re growing up in ... Despite being absent from the images, adults permeate every corner of every image. I like to think the work is confrontational; hundreds and hundreds of children and young people looking back at us with such intensity. I find that challenging.
asakiyume: (squirrel eye star)

On my way home two nights ago, I passed a church blazing with light, and it was so unearthly and beautiful, I stopped to take a picture.

The picture turned out even more unearthly than the actual scene. Creatures of pure light, with too many wings and eyes, must have been gathered within, flaming coolly in the February night, singing hymns in forgotten languages and in frequencies beyond the range of human ears.

asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

I saw the beautiful image below--straight out of a children's story or a fable--on Facebook, but with no attribution. Some clever photographer had caught this moment of convivial interspecies refreshment, but who?

Fortunately, these days, you can put a photo's url into Google Images and search it out, and by doing so, I found it was by Toshiyasu Morita, a photographer who mainly makes portraits of cosplayers--but who also likes to photograph hummingbirds (and their bee friends).

Its original location on the interwebs is this post on Audubon California's blog.

So now we can make up stories about this hummingbird and those bees, and we can thank Mr. Morita for capturing the moment and sharing it with us.

asakiyume: (squirrel eye star)

This bottle of water comes with Saturn in it:

I wonder if other bottles have other planets. I wonder if any contain Earth. That would be freaky recursive.

asakiyume: (autumn source)
Tomorrow, in the small hours in the morning--the 3:00 am hour, to be precise, I get in the car and drive two hours to the airport, on my way to the Sirens Conference, which this year is on the theme of spies and revolutionaries (awesome). I have some excellent roommates, and will be meeting some LJ friends in person for the first time and other old friends whom I haven't seen since summer--very excited for that.

... I've been even more scarce than I thought I would be, these days. I've gotten notification of entries posted, and been unable to take the time to read them, because Wakanomori's family is here, and I've been kept busy with that. I apologize. When I come back from Sirens, I'll catch up somewhat, though probably not entirely. But I've thought of you all each day.

One thing Waka's mother had been really eager to do was see Old Sturbridge Village, so I took them there. I didn't go in myself, but I took these photos on the outside.

Iris seeds

Iris seeds

They look like blackberries, but they are hard and seedy. A man from Mississippi was marveling at them, and we got to talking. He told me about when Hurricane Katrina came through and knocked down a tree of his, how he planted a replacement tree, and it sent a branch or runner, I can't remember which, scooting along the ground, and then lifted up one blossom, like cupped hands. I loved that.

Dark wood, bright window, red impatiens, lantern


Doesn't it seem very serious, almost foreboding? And yet the flowers. Like a grim old minister who then smiles, like an ogre who lifts a baby bird gently and sets it back in a nest.

Grasshoppers and Butterflies

grasshopper weathervane


They seem metaphoric but the metaphors keep changing, and meanwhile they're real in themselves.



Autumnal abundance, a garden of peace and plenty.

Feel free to just look at the photos without commenting. I may get a chance to answer a comment or two this evening, but then I'm back to silence until Monday at the earliest.

asakiyume: (cloud snow)

Ed Ou: The North

I've been wanting to share the amazing photo essays of Ed Ou--in particular, one of life in Nunavut. Never have I felt I got to know life in a distant place so well merely from pictures as I did from looking through this collection. Warning: There are scenes of hunting and its aftermath in this--which is part of life in Nunavut--so don't go to the link if that will upset you.

Ed Ou: The North

Ed Ou: The North

The choices Ed made in who to photograph, and where, really give such a whole, compassionate, intimate picture of life in the Arctic. I loved them. And we're having our own Nunavut-like temperatures here this weekend, so--well, it's a tenuous sort of connection, but a connection.

Here's my own photo of our bright star, caught in the trees and not conveying much warmth this morning

Rhysling nomination

I was so moved and touched to receive a Rhysling nomination for my poem "The Peal Divers." It's been so long since I wrote poetry--that was one poem that came to me in the midst of my poetry desert. With just one poem to my name in 2014, it never occurred to me to even consider awards. And yet someone, some member of the SFPA, remembered it and nominated it. I'm humbled and grateful.

Pop Sonnets recasts pop lyrics as sonnets. Very fun. Here's "Baby Got Back."

asakiyume: (man on wire)
Train tracks run behind my neighborhood, where I walk. I often see trains go by: long New England Central Railroad freight trains and the Amtrak passenger train--the Vermonter.

On Christmas I learned that in January, the route of the Vermonter will change--it will no longer travel the length of track near my house. We've often talked of riding it, but our chance was fast disappearing, so on Saturday, December 27, [ profile] wakanomori and I bought tickets to ride from Springfield, Massachusetts, to Amherst. Here are some photos of that journey (to see more in the series, or to see any of the pictures bigger, click through to Flickr):

In Springfield, waiting

Springfield MA View of a train at Springfield MA

Long evening light off the old mill buildings

Buildings in evening light, Springfield MA

mural on old building, Springfield MA

a river and a railroad crossing )

ridiculously blurry photos of my haunts )

And here is a picture of the setting sun that Amtrak liked so much it asked to use it--I said yes.

passenger silhouetted against train window

And here we are in Amherst. I heard other people talking about how this was near to the last journey. Others were also commemorating it, as you can see.

Amherst Amtrak station, to be decommissioned others also commemorated the journey

Then we drove home in the deepening sunset


asakiyume: (bluebird)
Yesterday I found this photo of the ninja girl's kindergarten class at the Martin Luther King, Jr., elementary school. Here she was in a minority, racially, but she didn't ever remark on it. The teacher wrote the names of all the students on the back of the picture, and as I read them, memories bloomed. I remembered the ninja girl mentioning some of them, though she herself has no recollection.

She went from this class to a rural school in England, where she was an anomaly because she was from America--and then came back to a somewhat rural school in the United States, where she was regarded as English, initially, having picked up the accent, and was also an anomaly because of having lived so many places (I've posted pictures before of her at in daycare in Japan).

But for all that I characterize this town as insular, it's not entirely so. Some families have lived here for generations, but others are recent immigrants from Russia or Poland. The nearby cities have a large Hispanic population, and some families have moved here. The next town over has a sizable Cambodian population, and there are Cambodian families here. One of Little Springtime's classmates was from Somalia. And so on. Poke around, and I think lots of places reveal more variation than meets the immediate eye.

Still, there's a definite difference between the kindergarten classes in this town and the one the ninja girl attended.

asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
Sometimes the most ordinary of places is beautiful. This parking lot, with those big clouds, in fresh after-rain light.

It's just a parking lot, but there's a big sky up above it and trees on its margins, and even its asphalt seems . . . all right.

(It's another phone picture. My phone takes impressionist paintings. My phone's name is Cezanne.)

I had to pick up the healing angel from a friend's house. On our way home, we passed a bus-hive. All the school buses were there, all yellowy-orange and black, like fancy hornets. We thought we might see the queen, but we didn't; we only saw the worker buses. (A queen, as you probably know, is just a worker bus that has been fed royal petroleum jelly.) I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture, but this picture, though it's from more than a thousand miles away, has something of the feel.

Bus-hive in Ann Arbor, Michigan

And hey, while I was searching for appropriate bus-hive pictures, look what I found: mini edible school buses made out of Twinkies.

Photo by Kendra Arch; recipe at "Stop Lookin' Get Cookin'"

asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
I told [ profile] sovay about this railway bridge--the tracks are gone now; it's a hiking trail--for the Delaware & Hudson line. There are dandelions and sumac growing on this bridge now.

The D&H

I do love its flourishing style and debatable quotation marks . . .

The D&H

Here, the restaurant instructs passersby to Google the chamber of commerce for menus (though I like reading this as "Google chamber"--do you dare to enter the Google chamber?)

Google chamber

But a church in the same town warns that you won't find all your answers through Google

A church opines on Google

Past the church, the coffee shop has its doors open--maybe you'll find some answers in a cup of . . . Java? Joe? What other names for coffee? ("Java," by the way, is used as a name for coffee in The Grapes of Wrath---I didn't know the slang was that old.) [ profile] osprey_archer, I thought of you when I took the coffee shop photos :-)

coffee shop

asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)
You have heard of polecats? (They're actually ferrets--or the word can also be used to refer to skunks.) Well this is a postcat:

From pole to post --like pillar to post--driven from pillar to post--it's like pacing, pacing back and forth . . . and where better to pace than a widow's walk, with its view out to the harbor and the sea. Is that a ship's mast appearing over the horizon? Has the sea returned your beloved to you? A hurricane wind will push anchored ships ashore, and a really, really monstrous wind will fling a widow's walk far inland, into the trees. . .

asakiyume: actually nyiragongo (ruby lake)
. . . has surely got to be working in the sulfur mines in the crater of Kawah Ijen, a volcano in East Java, Indonesia. Stop and think a moment. Sulfur mining. In a volcano.

It's a world of fire, acid, and poisonous gases.

(There is an acid lake in the crater.)

Molten sulfur is blood red, but it burns with a blue flame. The photographer Olivier Grunewald took these photos, which ran in the Boston Globe on 8 December 2010. (Source for the entire photo essay here.) (Hat tip to [ profile] yamamanama for showing me these!)

sulfur flames

image © Olivier Grunewald

image © Olivier Grunewald

molten sulfur

image © Olivier Grunewald

hard work )

In conclusion. If you want to do a Cracked list about working in actual hellish circumstances, don't leave out the sulfur mine of Kawah Ijen.

asakiyume: (Timor-Leste nia bandiera)
Every morning, a bus leaves the market in Dili, Timor-Leste's capital, and six hours later it arrives in Ainaro. Ainaro is only 70 miles away, but the road is rough and mountainous.

Then every night, a bus leaves Ainaro to go to Dili. It leaves at 9:30 or so at night, and it gets in around 4:30 in the morning. This was the bus I rode to get back to Dili, the day before my journey home. One of the local assistants of the program I volunteered with gallantly offered to accompany me on the bus journey, so I wouldn't have to sit in Dili market by myself for four-and-a-half hours until the hostel where I was staying in Dili opened.

We waited on the porch of the house where I'd been staying. Everything was quiet out, and dark, and then here comes the bus, its cheerful music blaring. The bus picks up people all through Ainaro. It's cold in the mountains at night, and people wait for the bus wrapped in fleece blankets. Then, when they get on the bus, they're all ready to go to sleep.

We sat in the first seat after you enter the bus. People ended up sitting on the step up into the bus; they leaned against our legs to sleep. In the aisle, two people stretched out full length, wrapped in their blankets. Under the seat across the aisle were some hens and chicks, as well as one rooster, who crowed periodically to let us all know who was king of the bus.

cigarettes and stars )

daily bread )

Also walking the streets in the early-morning hours were small boys hawking hard-boiled eggs. I remember seeing a little girl in Ainaro, out in front of her house, peeling cassava root with a machete as long as--and thicker than--her arm. Kids work hard here.

Later that morning we walked along the seashore and saw some sights (click on the photos to see them bigger)


a wooden outrigger boat
outrigger boat

boats in Dili harbour

the palace of the government
Palace of the Government

a mural for the Tour de Timor
tour de Timor mural

a dramatic, but unexplained, monument monument to the victims of the Santa Cruz massacre ... makes me wish I wasn't smiling like an idiot...


May. 21st, 2013 08:11 am
asakiyume: (glowing grass)
Over the weekend, I found a portion of a freight train, sidelined, engineless,
going nowhere, and yet with so much to offer, carrying materials to make so many things.


How metaphorical, I thought.

A shiny new padlock on the rusty point-switch prevents anyone without the key from moving those cars onto the main line.


Here's the last car. A person can climb right up onto it, if she's inclined. There's no one to see her do it but the siberian olives, aspens, and black willows.

my perch

If she did, she'd have a high vantage point from which to view a sign, telling her where she is.

view from my perch

Then it would be time to retrace her steps, past the siberian olives and the aspens. They make their home in so-called waste places.

siberian olive

I love those places.


Jan. 14th, 2013 08:35 pm
asakiyume: (bluebird)
It's being whispered that guerrilla blue flowed in, under cover of mist, rolled right by the street lamps, as brazen as only blue can be.

People are nervous. We hear them murmur anxiously, and we knit our brows too, to make a show of worry. But when our eyes meet--yours, mine--we smile. Our secret delight, our secret triumph.

asakiyume: (misty trees)

"STAY ON TRAIL," the sign commands.
Or does it warn?
Or does it plead?

stay on the trail

"Otherwise," it might add, "You will find yourself Elsewhere." Else, Elsewhere


A cold-iron road runs through this land...

the rail in mist

but there are tunnels under it:

tunnel under the tracks

Here are pails of detritus from angelic rail repair:

old rail fasteners

And here are the footprints of a traveler who walks alongside, not on, the iron road:

raccoon tracks


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

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