Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Circle

Street photo, Madrid, spain
The longer I live, the more often experiences come that make a circle in my life. For instance, I happened to be on YouTube the other day, and arrived at a video of Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) and The Doors. Somebody had commented that Morrison had taken inspiration from the poet Arthur Rimbaud (French, 20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891). I have always liked Rimbaud, who remarkably made his work before the age of 21 and then quit writing. I did a Google search and found a movie about him called “Total Eclipse” a 1995 film directed by Agnieszka Holland and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I watched the whole film, and this brought me to my memories from twenty years ago, when I read a biography of Rimbaud. So, a circle was created from my interest in The Doors, the influence upon Jim Morrison of the French poet, back to my original reading of poems by Rimbaud and his biography, and then the closure of watching the movie depicting Rimbaud's meteoric rise and tragic end.

In the film, Rimbaud says to his fellow poet Paul Verlaine, “I understood that I was to experience everything in my body—it was no longer enough for me to be one person. I decided to be everyone . . . I decided to be a genius . . . I decided to originate the future.”

Street photo, Florence, Italy

I relate to the notion of finding oneself by losing oneself and becoming “everyone”. This is something that happens when I go into the “zone” and lose my self in the streets of the world photographing people. The photos become my poems.

In the blue summer evenings, I will go along the paths,
And walk over the short grass, as I am pricked by the wheat:
Daydreaming I will feel the coolness on my feet.
I will let the wind bathe my bare head.
I will not speak, I will have no thoughts:
But infinite love will mount in my soul;
And I will go far, far off, like a gypsy,
Through the country side-joyous as if I were with a woman.
-A. Rimbaud

Street photo, Barcelona, Spain
To see more photos: Artistic Photography by Steven Boone

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Private Sanctuary Of Love

“Nothing do I perceive, but I perceive God within it, God before it, and God after it.” -Baha'u'llah, (Persian,  November 12 1817 – May 29 1892)

I stayed in a spare bedroom while I visited my mother in her home in Santa Barbara, California. She is weak with a slowly failing body, but her spirit is strong. Her caregivers, noticing a sudden decline, urged me to visit—yet, what was to be my final farewell trip across state borders to her bedside was nothing of the sort. She revived, was glad to see me, and we took advantage of the visit to reaffirm our eternal bond. My trip lasted one week.

Simultaneously with my mother's precarious condition, I have another serious issue pressing upon me, so I am compelled to pray far more than usual. Twice a day for a month now, I have been reciting The Long Healing Prayer of Baha'u'llah. Although the pain is not taken from me, I find my mind shifting enough that I clearly see the difference between temporal and eternal. My strength is in the eternal . . . where the discerning mind sees reality.

My last day in Santa Barbara, the weather was perfect—balmy, sunny and serene, with slight caressing breezes. My mother's home is on a corner lot, and surrounded by an immense hedge so that it is completely private. Birds are always present at the feeders, the grass is green and kept trim, and a lovely rose garden holds eighty bushes that bloom most of the year. It was my custom to walk around outdoors and pray, and as I did, the fragrance of jasmine and orange blossoms filled the air. The beautiful roses bloomed beside me, and I heard birds singing. The great trees sheltered me from above and as I concentrated on the Creator,  I felt I was in a private sanctuary of Love.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Jig

A few days ago, I received a phone call from one of my mother's caretakers who sounded urgent and exhorted me to think of going straightaway to her side at her home in Santa Barbara, California; although I live 900 miles away in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Immediately I became troubled and doubtful. My mother has had close brushes with death in the past. How could I be sure of the right time to be with her when she passed away? I asked the other caretaker as well, who concurred that my Mom had suddenly declined and might be on the way out. She suffered irregular heart beats, and her body was retaining fluids, although medication helped somewhat. She was on oxygen as well. I explained that I could not be going back and forth, but that I would come if the opinion was that I might not see her again.

I booked a one-way ticket, not knowing the course of future events. In one day, I arrived at my mother's side. She was sitting in her favorite chair at the dining table, next to a big picture window where she can watch the birds in her yard. Beautiful roses were in vases on the table, fresh from her garden. We hugged and she said, "Steven, I am so glad you came!" By the evening, we were playing gin rummy—and she beat me.

Sometimes, her sentences wander off into nonsense, but most of the time, her mind works normal.

My daughter Sarah was concerned enough that she has also arrived to pay last respects . . . but maybe my mother will be doing the jig next. She barely walks, but I don't put it past her to dance at her own funeral.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

You Must Do Something More

I think that the reason I am still alive, is that I am continuing to work through the veils that are between me and God. And I have things to do yet, although I might not know exactly what.

After my daughter Naomi died in 1999 at age nineteen, I often slept in her bed, where she took her last breath. It comforted me and I felt nearer to her. One night I had a dream:  
I was on a wooded hillside, and below, in a valley, was a little village. I could see that festivities were occurring. The next thing I knew I was at the carnival, and holding the hand of a little girl. Then I was alone, and jumped on a carousel that was slowly spinning. I watched the landscape going past and as the big wheel turned, suddenly I saw a door in front of me. I realized the door led to another dimension beyond time and space, and I thought “If I hesitate, the opportunity will be lost!” I had a moment of trepidation, but nonetheless, hurled myself forward. At the same moment, a voice spoke into my ear, “If you wish to go beyond the door, first you must do something more.” At that instant, my body lurched up from bed, and I banged my head against a textured plaster wall, cutting myself and bleeding.
The dream could be interpreted in various ways, but I can see that perhaps I was anxious to get off the big merry-go-round of life and enter the realm of pure spirit, leaving the mortal world behind—and Spirit warned me that my wish was premature . . . I had more work to do.
Since then, I have had so many valuable experiences and my soul has deepened. My fruit is not ripe enough yet to fall from the vine.
I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go,
-John Lennon, from Watching The Wheels