Time drops by with remembrances of moments skimming the surface of consciousness from deep within the mind leaving signs of a world beyond. The passage of time touches the world leaving marks such as deep erosion in cliffs, stratification of geological layers, and the presence of fossils from distant ages. A branch broken and dying may start to decay and become immersed in the foliage around it. Everywhere there are the signs of impermanence, and the markers of time.
This morning as usual, when I left for my morning walk, I placed buds in my ears and chose music that I felt like listening to: today it would be Santana’s Caravanserai. After several kilometers the sun rose across the horizon as I rounded a corner, and in my ears I heard the words, “…just in time to see the sun.” I marveled at the synchronicity and reflected upon…
A few hundred kilometers south along the coast the ocean gets a little icier with deep cold currents from Antarctica, and along with golden rocks and beaches, the colour of the sea changes to a beautiful sapphire green.
The Mimosa Rocks
Sitting between Bermagui and Tathra, lies the Mimosa Rocks National Park named after a vessel that was wrecked on this jagged coastline. It’s inlets and lagoons are secluded, and beaches often empty even in the height of summer. The Mimosa Rocks are near Aragunnu with its ancient shell middens, and camp sites once inhabited by the indigenous traditional owners of the land.
A golden grain
Bermagui, or “Bermi” as it is known locally is a fishing port, with a farmers market outside the back of the co-op, a fantastic bakery nearby selling cardamon seed scrolls that are to die for, and some decent coffee shops. We…
Another year arrived, and I suddenly found myself shooting 120 film, and bulk rolling 35mm. I determined that it was an unconscious sign, like the purple dawn greeting me on the Myall River, and that I needed to return to 52rolls once more.
Seasons come and go, years drift by, but our political fate seems remarkably out of step with the changes signified by the world: hotter than normal nights and summers, rising sea levels, glaciers retreating, and storm tides reaching heights that have been unknown before.
Perhaps the current political climate is the last gasp of destructive forces, divisive ideologies, repressive religions and environmentally unsustainable capitalist enterprises, that are all deeply out of step with the spirit of the modern world. Taking photographs always gives me hope, particularly when the magic revealed in the salts, are symbolically in tune with the many millions of women (and men) not only…
Everywhere there are reminders of time. The sun rises and sets, tides come in and out at all hours of the day and night, the moon passes through its phases, seasons are marked by solstices and equinoxes, and the movement of constellations across the sky witnesses the passing of seconds and minutes, into days and years. Flowers bloom, leaves fall, life comes and go.
It might have been halfway to low tide that it was abandoned, but when I arrived the flood tide was reaching its peak. Not far from the water’s edge I looked down and espied a wrist watch, neatly fold on its band with mother of pearl face reflecting the sky.
The place was deserted, and the next large wave might cast it into a crevice to be lost forever. I looked out to sea macabrely half expecting that a body might be floating or a person might be swimming distantly to a futile future. Gratified that the sea was empty as the rocks of people, I determined that finder’s law must apply and saved the timepiece.
Temporality and its markers hasten the prescience that mortality means becoming a memory lost to time, like a missing watch suspends our capacity to observe moments drifting past. The possibility of death after learning I had cancer, did not make me believe that life was vanishing before my eyes, but rather that I would wash with each passing year from the memories of others.
Death and its shadow never seems far away. I have been always rushing to do things, or defend things, and have been fearful of passing. Phrases such as “walking on” or “swimming beyond” are more appealing euphemisms to me. I am less worried about eternity’s breath now, although some things make me anxious. It is good to slow and take a breath. The world isn’t going away. Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas will still be there. I might never see them, but this feeling I was fading out of history and would soon become a lost memory troubles me less. I feel a lot more assured that I might be forgotten, but perhaps a little less slowly than I anticipated. Time to let go.
A friend recently wrote to me: “What you will take away from your time at work [and life] will be the satisfaction that you made a difference in a great many lives. There are people who will remember that you once helped them when it counted, and that made their lives possible.”
Recently our son graduated, and daughter earlier this year. He will be 25 in February and she 24 in the middle of the year. I am feeling a lot older and that life passes, moves forward and eclipses us. I am enjoying watching my wisdom seem to grow or acceptance of ageing a bit more at times.
It is time to make some more photos.
All photos taken at Bass Point with a Chamonix 045F1 View Camera, Nikkor-SW 90mm f/8 and Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S 150mm lenses, and Shanghai 100 film and developed in PMK.
Winter comes –
I see it in my face,
days grow shorter.
Light is white
Except when it’s black
– clouds are grey.
Lines, lines, lines.
Lines radiate from my eyes
– laughter lines
All photos taken on the rock shelf at Shellharbour using a Chamonix 045F1 View Camera, Wollensak Velostigmat W.A. Ser. III f/9.5 6-1/4inch lens, on Fomapan 100, and developed in a mix of Xtol(1.3)+RO9(1.160).
Over the weekend we visited Cowra and Canowindra on the western side of the Great Dividing Range. The latter is on the Belubula River which flows into the Lachlan not far downstream from Cowra. It is a prosperous grain and grape growing area when it is not otherwise in drought. Many of the fields have been ploughed ready for spring crops and welcome late autumn storms and rain.
The country beyond the great sandstone curtain in the central west is different to the world experienced on the coast. It is hot in summer and cold in winter. Hills roll out from the mountains into gently undulating slopes which gradually flatten into river flats and eventually plains where the eye can see almost forever. The dirt is a rich volcanic red.
Small ranges rise along the Lachlan River Valley, and caves hidden in their forests once were home to bushrangers. As the river travels deeper into the interior, its banks are home to old river gums and the land of the ancient Wiradjuri people with their culture once of carving trees.
Canowindra has an iconic narrow main street that winds above river flats around a small hill. There are four old hotels in the space of a few hundred yards and the remarkable Garden of Roses cafe with its stained glass windows and rows of empty tables and chairs. At one end of the main street is the small but important Age of Fishes Museum with its rare fossils from the Devonian period. Much as I am committed to landscape photography I force myself to make a few photographs within the streetscape.
We toy with the idea of moving inland where property is significantly cheaper and life slower. The people seem kind and generous, and it feels almost like an agricultural utopia. One suspects the streets are quiet on a cold Sunday morning, not because the townsfolk have gone to church, but because they are sleeping in. Beneath the surface, poverty still dwells but is concealed by the presence of tidy towns, cafes, local museums and galleries. Although time passes by many small towns, freshly painted buildings and window displays in empty shops encourage a sense of hope lighting a path to the future. Bucolic dreams always lead to existential contemplations which tantalise heart and mind as rural revelations question our urban existence near the coast.
All photos taken with Chamonix 045F1 View Camera, with Goerz Dagor 10 3/4″ and Gundlach Radar Extreme W.A. Anastigmat f16 6.5×8.5″lenses, on Fomapan 100 film, and developed in a mix of Xtol(1.3)+RO9(1.160).
Waterfall Creek meanders quietly through stands of salmon coloured angophoras, white scribbly gums and gymea lilies with their towering red flowers in spring, before dropping twice over the sandstone escarpment at National Falls to the rainforest far below.
Late in the afternoon shadows descend quickly under the escarpment, while on the plateau, by chance the sun picks out a tree or lily to highlight with its rays before falling beneath the horizon in the west.
Looking east from the edge, I imagine the early morning glow bathing the sandstone cliffs and falls, as I peer under its shining steps into the gloom.
Fading light only deepens the vertiginous illusion that I too might fall like water to the sun.
Photos taken with Chamonix 045F1 View Camera, Goerz Celor 7 inch f/4.5 (top photo) and Gundlach 5×8 Korona Anastigmat f/6.3 lenses, on Ilford Delta 100 film, and developed in RO9(1.50).