Friday, January 06, 2006

Warp and Weft

Weathered wall

A lone rose growing out of bracken pile



Rusty tent pegs

Freshly opened packages

Weathered lettering

Eucalyptus bark

Iraqi tumbleweed

Winter fruit on a eucalyptus tree

Dried roots of an overturned date palm

Last season's reeds dried and fading

Downy bullrushes

"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.


Carol said...

Beautiful pictures and thoughts, Mike. Looking at the herb photo, I would say you've stumbled upon something quite "zen" for this looks alot like sage. Sage was associated with longevity and immortality by the ancients. Today it's known to have healing and purifying powers. It also tastes great as poultry seasoning (LOL)... If no one objects, you should snip a few leaves and make yourself some tea, an old gardeners trick. Drinking tea made from sage has been found to promote relaxation and aid in digestion.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful imagery. What amazes me most is the yellow rose all alone. Makes me want to know how it got there and how it managed to survive your recent cold nights. Textures and surfaces are always fascinating. Thanks for showing us that even in the midsts of war, a rose can still bloom.

As always, sending best wishes to you and your comrades.

Beth* A. said...

Carol said it; beautful pictures and post. The weaving theme was lovely.

mdfay said...

Dear Carol and Beth*a., I always enjoy reading your comments and am honored by your visits.

Beth* A. said...

I don't know Carol except thru her supportive comments on this blog (and that she seems to keep somewhat better hours than I do, lol!), but I think she'd agree that the honor is ALL ours, MD Fay!
Stay safe out there and be very, very good to yourself. It seems to be 'heating up' where you are again, according to the MSM. You, and your fellow troops, are in my prayers every night.

annie said...

Beautiful pictures, and Beautiful words. Thank You. I find all of your details and descriptions, of where you are-have really helped me to picture and view things that are often left from the media.

I love the way familiar surroundings the smell of autumn, or your family's favorite dish.

Nothing is like them, and these pictures have the same effect. They are more to there place, and more to their placement-then usually noticed....But when you look at them-as you have-you find their true importence.

Absolutely Beautiful....

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a powerful punch you pack. The pictures, the words, the posting of them here. "Zen" or Walden, what a wonderful depiction of our common humanity.
Both my sons have rotated through Iraq now, and paying close attention to "the news" has always frightened me with the seeming absence of grace in the land and culture there. How can we hope for a yearning for freedom and liberty in people who live in a land which itself is so harsh and unforgiving? But you have shown us an underlying, tenacious beauty. My hopes are soaring for a people who have that as inspiration.
My sons have been about the business of war, and young as they are, may not have seen what was there, or just may not communicate it. Once again, you provide a vicarious window. And once again, it is insightful as through a poet/artist's lens. Thank you and may God bless you, M D Fay!

Renée said...

Hey Mike:

Today I open your blog for the first time in a couple of weeks and see the beautiful pics posted in Warp and Weft.

The shapes, textures, color and tone of those pics speaks to me of the essence of the desert.

Many thanks for posting them...