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Monday, December 03, 2007

Black Coffee Blues

Black Coffee Blues

Finding myself up well before the sun
stumbling through the confusion of darkness and silence
before consciousness tricks me into existence
with the accompaniment of a bitter cowboy ballad.

Black coffee and Gram Parsons at 5 o'clock;
as the lights come on inside
I sit shivering the first day of December
and begin to contemplate the blackness outside.


The darkness holds the potential of forms. It is full of them...
sometimes there is an escape ...

...and then things begin to happen!

Text and Photographs Copyright 2007 by David H. Roche

Friday, September 21, 2007

Disappear With Me

I went outside at twilight. A balmy late September evening. The air and the colors were so very soft. This mood came over me as I walked. Disappear With Me

The Night Comes

I'm disappearing into the September twilight
but the road just keeps going on;
the colors and eternal contours attending evening
hint at something.

Disappear with me, you have no choice, you will.
We'll sleep though winter,
waking to the 'purple-dee' cacophony
of red-winged black birds returning to fill the trees again.

Text and photographs Copyright 2007 by David H. Roche

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Few Minutes With A Sunrise

I arrived home just in time to see the sun come up over the horizon.

It took just a few moments for it to rise and be entirely free from the obscurity that the earth had provided.

Below is a link to a slideshow of the event.

Text and photographs Copyright 2007 David H. Roche

The Stone Fence

The Stone Fence

Made of irregular,
strategically placed pieces of slate
positioned in precise relationship to every other piece,
the fence manifests a time proven technique.
In it a chipmunk has found a niche
and sits watching me while I eat.

The simple construction leaves gaps
and when tiring of watching me
he scurries through a labyrinth of interconnected corridors
and small chambers within its core;
returning intermittently into the dapple of sunlight
to sit and watch me again.

Text and photographs Copyright 2007 David H. Roche

Friday, August 03, 2007


August 2nd 2007. I got up at 6 and went to the park at the foot of the lake. It's a good time to go as there are only a few people there at that time.

I had been there a day or two before and had taken some photographs. When I saw how they came out with the colors and the light making such desirable effects I decided to go back again at the same time of day to get the same kind of sunlight. I'm pleased with the way it came out.

Owasco Lake is a tranquil place in the early hours of the morning. Being a life long resident of the area, this is a familiar scene and the smooth natural contours have impressed themselves into my mind so that they are at home in me and I with them.

Standing at the end of the East Pier looking south around the bend and straight down is Moravia.

The lake begins about 11 miles south at Moravia. It is one of the Finger Lakes, gouged from the earth by the activity of glaciers long ago. This knowledge that we are not in control and that something else makes things happen above and beyond all we can do is sobering. It is also illuminating.

Back at the beach, in Emerson Park there is the pavilion. A place where 3 or 4 generations of young people have come to go through the courting ritual of the dance, end up married and raise families. It offers a ballroom style ambiance in a rustic setting with a fantastic multi-faceted mirrored chandelier that reflects the light in colored splashes all over the dance floor. Local bands play.

Some return to collect their memories

This photographic slide show finds me thinking of all those things.

Photographs and text Copyright 2007 David H. Roche

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rose Garden in the Moonlight

'I have a rose garden'; she said.
The petals opened as
I gazed.
'There are no thorns at all,

'It's a mystery, come in and see' she whispered,
as I lingered at her gate,
but at her invitation

I entered without wait.
(click to enlarge photograph)

Text and photographs Copyright 2008 David H. Roche

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fellow Travelers

When you take the time to look into the sky for a few hours, especially the night sky, and you observe the moon you know that it is not hanging there, you know that something is moving. When you think about it you know it is always moving and if you think further you understand that everything is always moving. The conclusion is that we are traveling together.

There is a commonly accepted view that who we are is determined by the sum of our thoughts and confined in a bag of flesh that is given shape by our bones. However careful scrutiny has revealed this to be an illusion. Accepting this illusion as genuine results in the troubles that we have in the world today. It results in wars between people and it results in isolating the individual and hiding him / her from him / her self.
This destruction of the self replicates itself in the world at large as people join themselves into groups, societies and governments, resulting in greater widescale destuctive activity. This is all derived from the illusion of a seperate self.
What is genuine is that everyone and everything is interconnected with everything else to such a degree that if you step back far enough it will become clear that everything is the expression of one living organism i.e. the universe. Once this is understood there can be a genuine caring for those we consider others because they, the others, are in reality our own self. Christian thought requires us to love others as we love ourselves, and this construction of reality allows that to happen as a matter of understanding the nature of life. It also opens up the door to a genuine ethical base that requires no artifice to make it work.
This is an idea that seems at first glance to be unusual: I think it is true. So I look at the sun and the moon and the stars and feel the breeze on my skin and I see it all and I see myself within the same setting they are in and part of it as well. I see myself moving with it endlessly, independent of this bag of bones and small collection of thoughts and ideas that are clamoring to identify me and chain me in one spot.

Step back and get the whole picture.That was the underlying idea in my mind when I took these photographs.

Enjoy the slideshow.

Text and photographs Copyright 2007 David H. Roche

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Take a walk out the end of the driveway with me and around the corner to Silver Street hill.

There's a lot happening here on the hill over time, and time just keeps on being here.

We'll look at just
a little bit of it. There's a lot more.

First of all let me show you the hill in winter. It's not an inviting place.

But in summer. It's much nicer.

In between a lot happens. In the slideshows you can see some of what goes on.

Beginning at the end of my driveway is a field of buckwheat with a barn about a mile away in the middle of the photograph. Next there is a view of two barns. The older of the two has been the subject of a lot of my photographs and can be seen in earlier blog entries. Looking down Townline Road to the west my dog Boo is doing whatever it is she does. She's an old gentle dog with a quiet spirit.

Around the corner on Townline Road and onto the crest of Silver Street hill a panorama comes to view. Most of the photographs in the slideshows were taken about 8:30 on the evening of July 18th 2007

Along the roadside there are many marvels. Mostly flowers that make me smile. Here are a few I saw this evening. Some experiences have made it hard for them, but they have taken it in stride. No matter what, they have survived and will continue to do so. Let's take it from a place close to the beginning. We call it the beginning, but in forever there is no beginning.

We start with Day Lily shoots in April and looking at how they have progressed and the neat things that accompany them. It's all blossoms from that point on. We're walking together along the roadside. An interesting feature of the Day Lilies is that their tubers, which are small fleshy white nubs, and their petals are edible. The tubers have a mild onion flavor, and the petals can be used as a colorful and edible garnish for salads.¤t=68d9b426.pbw

On the way back up the hill we find these beauties.¤t=6a82eb17.pbw

There are ways but the Way is uncharted;

There are names but not nature in words:

Nameless indeed is the source of creation

But things have a mother and she has a name.

The secret waits for the insight

Of eyes unclouded by longing;

Those who are bound by desire

See only the outward container.

These two come paired but distinct

By there names.Of all things profound,

Say that their pairing is deepest,

The gate to the root of the world.

The above passage from the Tao Te Ching - The Way of Life is
Translated by Raymond B Blakney 1955. The entire text is available at the link below.

Except for the passage taken from the Tao Te Ching the photographs and text are produced by David H. Roche, copyright 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Forest Path: a kind of faith

Below is a poem I wrote after examining the photograph I took of a forest glade and path. The camera catches what 'is', the mind makes something else of it. I made the poem.

Forest Path: a kind of faith

There is more than one way out of the woods.
One way says that black does not exist without white
anymore than 'I' exists without 'Thou'.

The path my feet are on cannot be seen,
it winds beneath the undergrowth
while the random splattering of sunlight hints at revelations.

I never know where I am;
but knowing that the forest, the sky and I are one
means that I am never lost.

Text and photograph Copyright 2007 David H. Roche

Monday, June 25, 2007

Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Portland Oregon

Upon entering the Vietnam veterans memorial in Portland Oregon be prepared for a change of perspective. There is a sense of peace and somberness that meets you.

This is what will meet your eyes as you climb the steps

The memorial is slightly larger than three acres. It is an open park like atmosphere that has trails which spiral slowly up to the black marble memorial slabs containing the names of those who died in the war from the Portland area.

1969 seemed to have the most names on it.

Above each list of names on each marble slab was recorded what was happening back home at the time these young people were dying.

This aspect made me stop and wonder ... made me see clearly how unnecessary their deaths were.

Why did they have to go there and die?

The last marble slab before leaving the memorial is dedicated to those who went missing in action.

Upon leaving the memorial you find yourself on this path. It winds up and down trails in a heavily shaded forest like atmosphere.
It is a good place to meditate on what you have just encountered.

Someone recently said to me that the Vietnam war was justified because communism represented a threat to our 'way of life' by challenging our economic philosophy ie: our consumer driven corporately contrived way of life.
What do you think?

Photographs and text Copyright 2007 David H. Roche

Monday, June 18, 2007

Approaching The Catalpa

The Catalpa tree in the photograph is in sad condition. The power company trimmed it and reduced it to a shell of what it was last year.

Regardless, the life force, the 'spirit' in it keeps on going.

The leaves are large and heart shaped, approximately 9 inches from top to bottom and at the widest point 5 inches across.

Their seed clusters resemble vanilla beans in shape and color.

In mid June the Catalpa blooms in buoyant clusters of flowers that are predominantly white.

They have a soft sweetish odor.

The leaves gather energy from the surrounding environment and work to nourish the entire tree producing a lush dark green appearance.

In this photograph it can be seen that the blossoms have a design of different colors that begins in the throat of the blossom.

This photograph brings your right up close enough to enjoy the designs that are in their opened throat. They are wine and gold, predominantly white.

As you come this close the designs appear as if they were in a traditional Chinese nature painting.

You are tempted to put your nose into the bloom and savor the faint sweetness, which on hot June afternoons when the breeze is nonexistent, will spread through the yard from their abundance.
They are a part of a progression that begins when the crocuses appear in March and which continues through November when the asters finally signal the entering into dream time.
Enjoy it.
Text and photographs Copyright 2007 by David H. Roche

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Shapes of Things

I have my eye caught by shapes and designs where ever I go. Sometimes I am lucky to have my camera with me. I hope you enjoy seeing them. I enjoy them. The bridge below is at Filmore Glen State Park in Moravia N.Y. the rest of the shapes are found in the vicinity surrounding my home.

A bridge in the forest,

... the grace with which it impresses the mind as viewed through the trees from a distance. It possesses a grace, an almost impossible concept of stones suspended in the air. 'Can't be!' But there they are

The bridge presents many shapes depending on the perspective in which is it viewed, but all are elegant and graceful

The apple tree has seen some hard years,
it will probably see some more. My eye was caught by the tortured shape it had assumed, and my thoughts were of how it refused to give up and continued on

Mother Earth:

The shapes appear randomly. I find this one intriguing and evocative of the fecund sensuality of life.

Tranquility in the wee hours of morning.

The gentle colors of the night sky
evoked by the light of the moon, the peaceful outline of the barn someplace in the universe, nestled together they are partners in an eternal waltz in the ballroom of the moon.

Photographs and text by David H. Roche Copyright 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thoughts on the 'Tao'

The 'Tao' as revealed by Lao Tzu in the 'Tao Te Ching', represents a conception of the way things are that makes a lot of sense if you take the time to consider it. The wisdom of the 'Tao' is something that has nothing to do with wheeling and dealing or with the artifice that is generally displayed in 'polite' society. It is not what people ordinarily call wisdom. Many times in the 'Tao Te Ching, the author explains that the 'Tao' appears to be not much at all in the way things are customarily judged.

What is comprised in this 'wisdom' is that those who see the 'Tao', pronounced 'dow', most clearly, understand that by allowing it to work it causes things turn out right. Conversely they understand that by interjecting good intentions and 'corrections', conceived of as solutions, something is added that will not work out the way that is best. In other words they know that by interfering with the processes and wisdom of the universe they will 'screw it up'.

When one is 'wise' with the 'Tao' he is at peace with this answer. He walks purposively, in the shadows sometimes, but into the light.
The Tao Te Ching translated by Raymond B. Blakney can be read at this site:
A really delightful translation of the Tao Te Ching, 'the 'Way' and its characteristics' can be downloaded at no cost from the Internet Archives at this link. This is an audio book in mp3 format.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


The passage of seasons is the timepiece of the universe. It is also a teacher and if one takes the time to go to class, that is if he stops to think about what it is that has happened in the years that have passed and what is happening in the present that is in directly in front of him, he will be able to make the most of everything and invest that passage of time with meaning. If he doesn't he will find it bewildering and pointless.

Society is geared to make this passage seem meaningless. It is designed to make you see your life to be nothing more than that of a consumer of gadgets and in the end nothing more than profit for the healthcare industry.

Don't settle for that explanation. You are worth more than that.

Life is a spiritual situation. I have been reading a book titled 'Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest' by Ella E. Clark. I bought this book on a trip out to Mt. St. Helens in July of 2006 at one of the observatories along the way to the summit. What speaks to me is that the natives of that area understood the land to be alive and regarded it as a person.

Many of the tales recounted begin something like this: 'Long ago, when the mountains were people'. For them every aspect of life and their environment was invested with a significance beyond that which was seen. For them there was something else. There was a great spirit that superintended the life on earth and made all life sacred. The environment was animated.

Many of the tales recount how the people got greedy and wanted more than the environment could provide for them and that they began to behave in a way that was not in accord with good manners and that they suffered for it. There are tales of what we understand now to be geological disturbances but which they ascribed spiritual significance to in much the same way as other people in other parts of the world did to similar events. And who is to say that there is not spiritual significance in the geological functions of the environment? The 'Spirit' is deep and infused in all life, certainly so it is in these details as well.

It is my belief that spiritual significance abounds in the mundane unfolding of life and that these people, no matter how primitive they may appear to 21st century standards, had a vital spiritual connection that is not available through conventional religions. I would go so far as to say that it is precluded from the conventional monotheistic religions that depend on moralistic teachings and cultic prohibitions to enforce modes of behavior designed to eacape the wrath of the prevailing deity.

How much better it is to be in accord with the flowing of life than with rigid words and pointed threats printed in books to which you must bend your will. How much better to take what is given than to reach for more than is available.

So I have this small poem in accord with these thoughts and a few photographs to illustrate what I understand life to be about.

The Colors the Birds the Way, Me and You

This May morning is the pew I sit in today,
the spirit of the earth and universe blowing over my skin
while robins, bellies swollen, flit from yard to tree;
grasses gripped in their beaks.

The colors that have appeared
one after the other from below
as they have done year after year
tell me more than the Book of Revelation

about what is to come.
They came before,
they will come again.
The colors, the birds, you and me.

The photographs that follow were all taken in my yard beginning with the very first crocuses to blossom in March and ending with the first blossoms of lilacs that I took today. In their entirety they show how life and time flows naturally and they indicate that the only way to find a step in tune with what life is all about is to go with that flowing.

Beauty to be perceived in so many ways as the Moody Blues said in their 'In Search of the Lost Chord' album. Check that out. It's right on!

This is a sunrise as seen from the end of my driveway marking the beginning of another day. Another step in the life process. Part of the whole. Glorious isn't it? What can you buy that can compete with something like this?

At this time, in late March there were lilacs that did not appear as lilacs. But I know better than to think otherwise . I have seen them come and go for 33 seasons in this place without change. They are lilacs! Believe me! They perfume my yard every May and I look for them to do it. And they will!!

It's hard to see these scrub branches as lilacs isn't it? They look like dead branches. Don't be fooled.

In between March and May this is what happened.

Daffodils appeared in the snow right on time.

In the snow! And they just kept on going....

...and then the tulips came...

and more tulips ...

and wind flowers ....

and violets.

But last, the lilacs that were so dead in March show themselves ready to live again.

Such is life and if religion or spirituality are to be real they must conform to it.

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A practitioner of the art of living with the intent of learning how to die without fear.