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.


Ellie's friend from canada said...

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

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

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.

Stephen Andrew said...

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 :)

Jackie Clark Mancuso said...

you can. enjoy the journey.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

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

Judith Ross said...

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.

Emm said...

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.

francetaste said...

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.

Shireen Eckhardt said...

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

david terry said...

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)? 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”


Uncle David

Joan McKniff said...

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

Kathy BF said...

"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

Laura said...

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.

simpleimages2 said...

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

Maria Anagnostopoulou said...

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

Trudye said...

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

Nicole Blais said...

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

Clare M said...

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

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you...

Heather Robinson said...

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!"

Heather Robinson said...

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

Heather Robinson said...

Trying, friend, trying.

Heather Robinson said...

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

Heather Robinson said...

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 one hope.

Heather Robinson said...

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

Heather Robinson said...

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...

Heather Robinson said...

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

Heather Robinson said...

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

Heather Robinson said...

Just that much is more than enough, Joan. xo

Heather Robinson said...

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.

Heather Robinson said...

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.

Heather Robinson said...

...and again. Thank you, Edgar.

Heather Robinson said...

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

Heather Robinson said...

Merci, amie.

Heather Robinson said...

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.

Heather Robinson said...

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

Silke B said...

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!

Silke B said...

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

helen tilston said...

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

Janey and Co. said...

I like that I was in Arles this 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