Friday, December 2, 2016

Familiar and yet Unknown




Do you often revisit the same dream landscapes? To a point that you feel that they have become a real neighborhood in your life, not just one in your mind? I do. 

There are train stations, vaguely New Yorkish, where I have memorized that I need to go up a certain staircase if I hope to make my connection on time (make of that what you will) and mysterious houses, vaguely Victorian, that recall my childhood homes more than the actual structures ever could.

All this to say that I am not someone who is, at any given moment, one hundred percent certain if I am dreaming or awake. It isn't practical, but it is a part of who I am, certainly in the present circumstances.

For they are hazy and there is a lot that I can't quite share with you in order to respect the privacy of this particular transition. Parsimony is required. So I am not lying nor hiding, just doing what I can, when I can. It has been nearly an entire year of unfolding, waiting and seeing while clasping the reins of action nonetheless. 

I know where I am without knowing at all. The surroundings that I recognize so well and yet that are not mine for the taking confirm that, mirror a bit mocking if I take it so. At best, I observe and enjoy. And I am aiming for the best, no matter where that path will take me.

In an hour, I will leave for a real not dreamed train station for a trip of short distance. There will be a 45 minute wait in which I will watch the passerby and wonder if they ever feel the same about their lives or if they are tucked up tight in the swathes of certainty. 

The sun is bright. I feel it on the tops of my hands as I type in a way that reminds me that I am wide awake. Right in this very particular moment, I don't need to look to the past or ahead. Can I just hold it like an inbreath, this croisement between dreaming and reality? This sweet gift of now?








 Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.
Thank you so much for reading along with me during what is admittedly a quiet time.
But there is still much beauty to be found...and revisited.
I am grateful for that, always.



40 comments:

  1. lovely photos and meditative prose. My all your journeys lead to serene and happy destinations

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  2. This is ripe for Jungian analysis as he mentions these areas we revisit! I have dreamscape 'hoods too. I have certain houses that I see and they obviously mean something but it could just be me doing imaginary decorating...I think train stations meant more to Freud if I am not mistaken.

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    1. I don't think that you are mistaken at all, Naomi! ;) Especially in that I am always late for the train...oh dear.

      And yes, I do a fair amount of imaginary decorating myself! Sometimes I wake up and think, "Wow brain, good job!"

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  3. Beautiful photos and I know what you mean a bit about those places that were yours and then weren't and then are again but not...
    I'm sure as the girl on the train you'll make better stories than The Girl on the Train :)

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    1. But not nearly as exciting! I knew you would understand what I was trying to get at with this post. xo

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  4. The attitude of gratitude is so empowering...
    these images and your words mingle together so brilliantly today Heather.
    XO

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    1. Yes, love the importance of the attitude of gratitude.
      Thank you for the fine compliment too!

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  5. Such strong writing, Heather! It made me feel as though I was in a dream myself as you flit through the story, not quite landing anywhere firmly. Anyone who feels they have their hands on the reins of certainty is in for a rude surprise, as life is anything but that. And while I appreciated the warm sun in most of your photographs, I loved the last one the best for its overcast sky and the sheen of water on the cobblestones.

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    1. You always seem to appreciate the more atmospheric photos, Judith and I am so grateful for it! And yes, life is so uncertain...but look what beautiful surprises you have had of late...gives one hope.

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  6. Your pictures are, as ever, sublime.
    And I have some sympathy for the feeling of being here-not here-there-not there. As Ram Dass said, we're all just walking each other home.

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    1. One of my favorite quotes for this time of my life, Emm. Thank you.

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  7. Your photos are amazing. You should do calendars or something.
    I've also had the is-it-real-or-a-dream thing. I dreamt many times of a dark, dank place, feeling good there despite the fact that I could see almost nothing. And there was another place, usually in the same dream, that was all glass and filled with sun. Then I went back to Africa a decade after having lived there. And I realized the dark place was a little seed shop with no windows (and no lights--just the sun from the front door). And the sunny room was at a hotel. They were real. It made me wonder which other dreamscapes were just lost memories.

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    1. Wow. I love this! But I have also had the experience of dreaming places before I encounter them too...which freaks me out a bit! My memory is so rotten, if I had known that you lived in Africa, I had forgotten and would love to know more...

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  8. Beautiful pictures Heather! Simply lovely - makes one want to go traveling - with you setting the photographic itinerary! Xoxo from Northern California

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    1. Shireen, if I do manage to stay here, that is actually something that I would like to make happen. :)

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  9. Heather!?!????....Now, what the hell is all this about?...I thought expatriates-with-blogs were supposed to make me feel dissatisfied with being me-here rather than you-there.

    In any case (and quite sincerely)?.....you do seem to be deeply in "Four Quartets" land. that's a not bad place to be in, of course; I've been there several times, myself, over the years.

    Do take time to read the following.....:

    “…So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
    Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres-
    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time...”

    “Trying to use words, and every attempt
    Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
    Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
    For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
    One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
    Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
    With shabby equipment always deteriorating
    In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
    Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
    By strength and submission, has already been discovered
    Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
    To emulate - but there is no competition -
    There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
    And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
    That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
    For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business...”

    “We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    Through the unknown, remembered gate
    When the last of earth left to discover
    Is that which was the beginning;
    At the source of the longest river
    The voice of the hidden waterfall
    And the children in the apple-tree
    Not known, because not looked for
    But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
    Between two waves of the sea….”


    ----T.S. Eliot. From “The Four Quartets”

    fondly,

    Uncle David

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    1. Oh dear Uncle David. That is so perfect. I wish that it wasn't which is just further proof that it is. Thank you so very much for sending it to me, especially as I have still not attacked T.S. Eliot, thinking myself too foolish.
      With much Love and Gratitude, h

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    2. Heather! You "too foolish" to read T.S. Eliot? Plaisantes-tu? (No, no ,no!)

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  10. heart too full to know what to say, how to say it.

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    1. Just that much is more than enough, Joan. xo

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  11. "swathes of certainty", if only. I don't think life works that way, even though we think it does for others. Be gentle with yourself, lucky for us you are absorbing and sharing. Thank you

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    1. Your kindness is always so appreciated, Kathy. At times I am gentle with myself but I also have my days, unproductive ones, where I scream at myself, "what are you doing?!" in frustration. I will try to stay on track. Thank you.

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  12. Those dreamscape streets & houses are something quite familiar to me also. Probably based, in part, on our longing for a sense of place that is secure and familiar. Elusive and mysterious as these places are, they still hold answers if we are willing to listen.
    You are obviously paying attention and answers seem to be unfolding.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos and thoughts with us today.

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    1. Laura, you hit the nail on the head. I long for security and familiarity in this time when the world is still rather upside down. No answers yet, truly. Will keep listening.

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  13. Dreams and reality are complementary. Then there is the present where we have to begin again.
    Wonderful photos.

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  14. You catch the light always so beautifully! The eye can penetrate through the pictures and see their meaning beyond these

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    1. Oh, I appreciate that Maria. The light here is so exceptional though, it takes care of itself, even with an iphone!

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  15. Yes, you can! Enjoy the now and your journey on the train!
    Beautiful pics as always! xx

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  16. Heather, Your place in time is so familiar. When I was in it I would dream of being in places that were no longer mine, rooms vivid and me a voyeur in a place that was once home, now inhabited by a stranger. Once during one of my nocturnal dream visits, I was staring at all the personal items in what I used to call my room, and I was about to turn over a piece of paper, curious to know what transpires there now as new life. All of a sudden she was there, gently stopping my hand and her voice said to me, "This is not for you." It stays with me still, a gentle nudge as I've needed so many to get beyond. I've learned that all we have is this moment, and my heart and my mind have joined to consider looking forward to consider the new, to collaborate as only they can together in the process of manifesting the new. The most important piece is to know that all is happening now, so you have come farther than you may think. Thank you for taking in the beauty around you and sharing with us. I love your photos. The light is bewitching. ~Nicole

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    1. Nicole, I have read and reread your beautiful response several times now and with each I am caught up not only in the beauty of the imagery that you have so generously shared but the through line of Hope that it offers. I am very, very grateful for it, thank you.

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  17. Ah the gift of now. The only real moment that counts. I often wonder who those people are that are "tucked up tight in the swathes of certainty" ....

    Clare xx

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    1. I know that you have been and are on the path too, Clare. Let's keep going...

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  18. At first sight I thought that last picture was Rue de la Roque in Arles which I liked a lot. It is not...but has a similar feeling of quiet and privacy.

    My dreamscapes are more dreamapartemts not at all to confuse with the "dream apartment" in the sense of beauty or space. ;-)

    Usually they morph into different shapes while I am dreaming.

    Well, I guess nothing and no-one is swathed in certainty.

    Thank you for sharing your precious thoughts! Happy to see you moving quite a bit. Taking a train, visiting people, changing perspective!

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  19. Hello Heather,
    Your images are breathtaking and the light is incredible.
    Sending you fondest wishes.
    Helen xx

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  20. I like that I was in Arles this Spring...so things looks very familiar to me. I think we all need to stay in the now Heather. I am attending a meditation class where they are teaching us just that. By the way, my pictures of Arles do not look this good. I hope you have plans for Christmas.....being with friends at least. I am so happy that you are blogging again. janey

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