A lone rose growing out of bracken pile
Rusty tent pegs
Freshly opened packages
Winter fruit on a eucalyptus tree
Dried roots of an overturned date palm
Last season's reeds dried and fading
"It was the kind of experience that matured me and personalized the abstract"
From Robert D. Kaplan's The Arabists
I've got a Zen thing going today. Describing the weave of the daily fabric of life in this land torn by conflict, and being stiched back together with hope and blood is difficult. The garment tailored from this freshly woven cloth is both hair shirt and silken morning coat. Getting our sense of this place, Iraq, from television or newspapers, in my opinion, grants only a cheap knock-off version of the genuine article. In certain instances the result is a set of "emperor's new clothes". The news is so focused on the political, the statistical and the sensational. (And, I suspect that the underlying purpose behind the mass media is to fixate us to the flat TV screen or the pages of print with an eye to advertising revenue, rather than on genuine informing.) Granted, these are part and parcel to reality, but they're also like surface tension on the expanse of the ocean. Alot is covered horizontally, but there's no sense of the depth. In the news things are happening to someone else, somewhere distant and alien; a place where the laws of nature and physics fit more neatly into simpler equations and concepts. Apples fall from trees differently, the dirt at your feet is not the same, and if you study people real close you'll perhaps find minor anatomical features missing. The lives and physical worlds of far off people are somehow not as complex; their impoverished inner lives not as nuanced and footnoted as ours. For your edification I give you a small photo essay of seemingly minor yet omnipresent things around Camp Fallujah. These could be the very things that might catch your fancy were you to suddenly find yourself here. And finding yourself wandering about the camp fascinated, despite the obvious dangers, by the novelty of even the smallest of details. These pictures, taken today, represent some of the small threads and strands that the Marines, without even knowing it, weave a new day from.