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Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Offer You The Spirit

(click on highlighted text for additional information)

The way I see it this life is a mystery and something designated as 'SPIRIT' is the cause. If not, 'oh well'.

What I sought to convey in this picture is 'God' the center figure delivering the 'Spirit' in the form of a bird to the natural world.

This is of course using a juxtaposition of images that refer to something but are not literally representative of what they actually are pointing to. In their entirety they represent the infinite state of existence.

In our finitude defined by our mortality we need to conceive of something like 'God'. We use the designation 'God' to explain the 'Unexplainable'.

I would agree, in that context the 'Unexplainable' is 'God'. We just don't know how this thing we are experiencing came about and what we are trying to know dwarfs us.

Maybe the Buddhists are right about the primacy of consciousness and maybe consciousness and its perceiver together make up 'God'.

(click on photograph to enlarge for detail)


All the work except the song in the video by the Waterboys was done by me.

Friday, November 26, 2010


This is a great old ballad written by Merle Haggard and performed by the Grateful Dead. Right click and open in new tab then you can simply listen without having to watch the video. "Sing me back home, a song I used to hear, make my old memories come alive, sing me away and turn back the years, sing me back home before I die." (right click on the highlighted text to open in another page and listen to the song while you watch the video. The song is a little longer than the video.) Click here for a shorter version with a series of appropriate photographs by Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers. It's time to sing me back home.
(Click on photos and highlighted text)

Jason sent me over a thousand old family pictures. The picture above is a composite of three photographs from different years. I believe I was between 10 and 12 years old at the time. The picture of my mother and father in the background was taken at their 50th wedding anniversary in 1976, the tint, is the glow of the sunset on the Pacific Ocean at Sunset Beach in Warrenton Oregon taken earlier this year.

(Click on the video to open in you tube for full screen.)

The old pictures are nice to look at for many reasons. I enjoy the mysterious sense of the unreality of that which I know was as real as this moment typing on the keyboard. I have the feeling I may yet understand it all. If something so concrete as your own personal reality can simply vanish and at the same time remain the same, what does it mean?

Copyright 2010 by David H. Roche

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In The Beginning: BEING

(Click on photograph and highlighted texts)

The origin and therefore the meaning of life depends on how we regard the fact of our existence. I prefer to regard that one indisputable fact that 'I am' in the light that something greater than me supports this whole thing called life. A lot of people call that God. Designations have always been important but not always accurate as meaning becomes obscured and lost in a wilderness of words. Gods have taken on many different characteristics, but fundamentally remain the same. They are represented as those which impact our lives and which we must reconcile ourselves with because they are the ultimate source of our existence.

Paul Tillich referred to this indefinable something that supports everything as 'the ground of being'. I like that, it suits me. God, for me, is that which upholds and gives the impetus for everything to keep on keeping on. I do not feel separate from this alchemy. Not since I traded theology for experience anyhow.

The creation story in Genesis is just that, a story. It is not a blow by blow account of God going through the details of creation. A little bit of dust, a little bit of breath, presto Adam and Eve. No wonder people don't believe in God when they're told this is how it has to be. Six days, 144 consecutive hours that's it and that asking follow-up questions is inappropriate.

None of us can remember a time when we were not here. We can remember those who are not here and we fear not being here. But there is no record of those who are not here ever having knowledge of not being here, or of complaining about not being here. It is as if creation is eternally present.

Copyright 2010 by David H. Roche

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


(Click or right click on photographs for enhanced detail and highlighted links for additional information)

Below are some photographs that I morphed using image altering software. is a free software product produced in association with Microsoft. It is first class and it is absolutely free.

The ability to use layers is like opening a door that leads into another dimension. Getting used to it is like adjusting to a new interpretation of everyday events because you found out you were wrong.

I have a series of photos in mind under the title of "Dreamscape". Some of them are included here. I put them together and they seem to allude to something altogether different.

Rapping at your window.

The Shaman calling forth forms from the vast potential of possibilities.

At one point in the days experience I discovered a snail crawling up my window and took about 40 photographs. I deleted at least half of them.

Immediately below is the original picture of the snail and a second photograph. The changes made are seen in the photographs at the bottom of the page.

This is the same snail showing more of it's features. I got the idea the black fiber like thing was food. He seemed to have some kind of interaction with it in different photographs that I took. Maybe it was just in his way. But I did watch him for a while and got the impression he was eating.

Below are altered photos of the snail. I got some good effects. When I do this I have in the back of my mind the idea that I am drawing from the unlimited potential of the 'Tao'. It's a way I have come to live with every passing moment.

I wanted to see if I could make something out of it if I reversed the image and then placed it with the original. For an early attempt I was glad that it came out the way it did. I expect to improve in the future. is not Photoshop, but it is a very good tool.

All photographs and text Copyright 2010 by David H. Roche

Saturday, September 25, 2010

7:02 A.M. September 25th 2010: a one time event

Title picture at the end of the page. Click on the highlighted texts for explanations of persons or books referred to. Click on photograph to enlarge it.

While you read through this, links and all, here's a concert for you. Rolling Stones from 1972
courtesy of Sugarmegs. If you need longer to contemplate these things here's a live concert courtesy of the Grateful Dead and the Internet Archives with the Grateful Dead at Richfield Coliseum in Ohio near Cleveland on 1991-09-04 to smooth things out. I happened to be at this concert.

I can't find anything more important to do than engaging in the present moment. As a matter of fact I never could sing while I save. These days I find myself watching the ducks and migrating waterfowl to better understand the life I am part and parcel of.

I see they mainly need food and sometimes I feed them when it gets cold and food is hard to get. It's my 'widow's mite' of $12 dollars a month for cracked corn, my attempt to serve my companions within the source of my being.

If another creature grabs them and eats them, well is that reality or not? It is a reality that cannot be denied,it's how 'Being' has unraveled. I cannot see myself separate from this scheme of things. I'm just a player in the moment. A lot of people make a big deal out of it and they end up not enjoying it.

In many ways I see it the way Saint Paul stated it in these passages: Acts 17: 24 - 28 KJV.

"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."

It's hard to believe Saint Paul deliberately separated man from his environment making him supremely important while denigrating the rest of creation after the reading the following statement. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;" Romans 1:20 KJV.

The sentiments involved in uniting these relationships of the seen in the outside world with the eternal are convincing to me. Who can watch 60 seasons come and go without assimilating something from the flow of time that reveals the imprimatur of the source of 'Being', most call it God. I prefer not to. Each passing year brings a deeper realization that something really big is going on?

The various ecosystems explaining the unseen make more sense explaining life than the Seventh-Day Adventist description of a 6 day creation week of 144 straight uninterrupted hours from start to finish.

Today the black magic of language is used to obliterate the perception of the self evident unity that is apparent in the processes of nature. Contemplating nature enables a person to contemplate himself apart from any name or title he might be designated by. When the linguistic boundaries erected by convention do not influence him, man is able to understand that he and nature are not able to be separated. Proposing such a separation would immediately be understood as absurd. It follows then, that if we are out to conquer nature, we are at war with ourselves.

I see a strong connection to the Hindu thought and the Buddhist thought that we, everything, comprise a unity, all one. Paul specifically represents the 'Christ' figure in his gospel in this way as being a universal factor unifying everyone as 'One Blood'. One family. Saint Paul made special note of this unity of the human race and the meaning of the Christ event as "peace", and "good will toward men."

I recommend 2 books. "Love's Body" and "The Denial of Death". These two books influenced me decades ago. They gave me a way to appraise human history.

The book of Revelation in the new testament
suggests an economic totalitarianism to come. Economic systems are made by man. They tend, ultimately to nullify the spiritual nature of humankind's relationship with God through creation. Jesus referred to the processes of nature as the means by which his father provided for his children on earth. It is the divinely appointed means of knowing God. The understanding of the monetary system in the 1st century as an incipient and growing obstacle between humankind and his source of being is an idea that could only have been an immature plant in the soil of the human mind at the time it was written. We will very likely see the blossom shortly.

It takes a blind man not to see the ultimate conclusion of the capitalist experience. Humankind's decision to irrevocably conquer and separate itself from the source of life and replace it with a factory, is like a prisoner hanging himself in the prison whose construction he superintended.

In the bible God is represented as bringing seed time and harvest with the coming and going of the seasons, and rain. This is what God does, he,she,it, whatever the combination, is involved in sustaining the life process. That is how Jesus referred to his father and his kingdom. God is that which is responsible for life continuing. Compare that to the current debacle of the American food supply due to factory farming required by the monopolistic impulse of the free market.

I'm not religious. I've got no axe to grind. I don't care what you think is gonna transpire, you and I have no details we can rely on. We may have a foreboding, a premonition rising up within us, telling us something is about to happen. I think it's grand that we don't know what it is.

But ultimately, whatever happens, well it happens. I can tell you this with certainty; those that have, are not going to let go of it, they are not going to share it with the 'have nots' without killing a lot of 'have nots' first.

Everything I decide in a moral or ethical sense I attempt to do, first of all, in a Taoist / Zen influenced context. These influences ground me in the present.

After the existential confrontation with Taoist and Zen thought I place Jesus first because he was the first spiritual teacher that I was introduced to. I gained from Jesus the realization that we should look out for each others needs on the same ongoing basis that his Father sent the rain to grow the crops that fed everyone. This visible providence of the source of being is analogous to the 'way' that can be named. According to St. Paul we are capable of understanding the most profound aspects of God by contemplating the natural world.

Buddha is not second except in the linear way I have to express myself with language. The concepts of Impermanence and Emptiness are not out of harmony with the application of life experience or Jesus' teachings.

Krishna corresponds to a concept alluded to by the eternal quantum flux described by quantum theories and the present experience of impermanence that is called 'living'.

Krishna's dialogue with Arjuna reveals that life is eternal and that not to engage in it the way you feel you must is to suffer loss. Fight he says. Do what is required of you where you are.

I place the Taoist / Zen interpretation first because I am confronted head on with experience I have to deal with.

Paul Tillich, perhaps the last century's premiere theologian, redefined the concept of God, the source of our existence, as the 'ground of Being'. I am being led to recognize as myself. After that I have to react to this conception with the moral and ethical guidelines I impose on them. That I believe is the humans moral responsibility

Finally my stream of thought has wound down to a trickle. The pictures below are what I did today. I'm satisfied with my labor.

Photography Copyright 2010 by David H. Roche

Friday, September 24, 2010

As The Geese Fly: Discussions of Mortality

(click on highlighted text and photograph.)

The title is from a poem I began as many as 5 years ago, maybe even more. The poem has changed over the years. However the idea or concept that made it appear did not change, it was refined to this point. It is representative of a theme I contemplate.

I tried to put all the images that affected me into the composition. The geese I understood to be a symbol of eternal return. I recognized an association with the 'Tao'.

Time is the medium in which we experience things in the face of certain mortality. This adds a Zen / Taoist capricious melancholy when it has wine added to it. Li Po 701-762 AD Tang Dynasty. At the link is a brief look at his life and delightful poetry.

I chose some rock songs that describe the human condition in a way that reflected reality and yet find hope.

As much as I like the Doors for their celebration of the human condition. Representing a unique way of thinking that appeared briefly and blossomed in the late 1960's and early 70's. The Doors expressed an irrepressible, lustful out of control way of engaging life in the moment through their music that was representative of the life around them . Many others at the time were baptized with the same spirit expressing it in their own particular way.

But 40 years hence my priority is to be left the fuck alone. The power is there, avoid the power. You are either free or not free. Because this is what we're dealing with. A great song by Robin Trower on this horrid condition of life

A wise man in the bible had these words of advice:

"saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."
"Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity."

The Preacher comes to terms with his existence in the book of Ecclesiastes. This is similar to the literature in the book of Job.

Both men, the Preacher and the writer of Job attempted to take on some way of understanding life. While completely different in content and approach, both old testament books speak directly to the topic of how to relate to being alive without delving in a unrealistic supernatural state of relating to what is in front of his eyes. That way of thinking just complicates the process of dying. Ain't that right Ma?

it's inevitable. All you can do is play the game the best you can and try not to worry about it.

In Krishna's well known dialogue with Arjuna in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita the heart of the human condition is explained. "The soul that with a strong and constant calm Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently, Lives in the life undying! That which is Can never cease to be; that which is not Will not exist. To see this truth of both Is theirs who part essence from accident, Substance from shadow. Indestructible, Learn thou! the Life is, spreading life through all; It cannot anywhere, by any means, Be anywise diminished, stayed, or changed. But for these fleeting frames which it informs With spirit deathless, endless, infinite, They perish. Let them perish, Prince! and fight!" Krishna speaking to Arjuna who is questioning the value of fighting if it results in killing members of his own family. Krishna's response is not the usual response a westerner hears to such a situation.

When you take it all into account, all human experience we are victim of the fury who are always trying to break on through to the other side.

This goes to underscore the underlying human predicament: "What do you do about dying while you're alive?"

Photography and poem by David H. Roche Copyright 2010

The only image that is mine is the initial photograph.

Monday, September 20, 2010


(Right click on highlighted texts. Open youtube videos by right clicking and choose watch in youtube or they will not appear as they were made.)

I find it strange that people in so called democratic societies want self determination and then get together in groups and decide who will make the most fundamental life affecting choices for them. In my understanding a 'democracy' is a state of affairs where people decide for themselves and if it is a personal decision no one can interfere without committing a crime against them. The decisions others make for them include sending the voters children off to wars they had no idea needed to be fought, or placing their own bodies off limits to them via drug prohibition, or prostitution laws etc.

I suppose this phenomenon could be considered a mental illness if some outside observer were to analyze their behavior. The observer might also conclude that the people had come to the conclusion that they were completely incompetent and needed a 'great white father' in Washington to decide things for them.

The way it is now with the congress of the U.S. leaving it's voters hanging out to dry it seems reasonable that some of them might get the idea they can do a better job.

I'm sure not many people along the Gulf Coast would be willing to kiss the ass of the people that destroyed their way of life. There is some talk that the behavior of those causing the catastrophe was reckless. The elected governments in the area however seem content not to raise a fuss about it. The people gave their power to those officials. I hope they take it back and find justice.

Most people do not rationally make that decision. In fact if they do they should be understood to not be rational, intelligent beings capable of running their own lives. So you get what's coming to you. Keep choosing others to make decisions for you. See if it goes the same way it has so far.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


(Right click on images and highlighted text)

The ocean, rivers and mountains of Oregon speak to me at a spiritual level. Sometimes right out of the blue when I least expect it something subtly, quietly, spectacular appears that takes my breath away and makes me say, "Oh".

When photographing nature lighting is important to the goal and idea behind the impetus to take the picture,'coming back later' to the same place will not work. A few hours later on the way back the incandescent blanket of fog was gone and the scene did not resemble what had made me stop in the morning.

Thoughts like that speak to me of the impermanence of life. Impermanence is what keeps everything going. It is good news if understood correctly. When we see change we are seeing the processes which guarantee that the process will continue. It's good to feel a part of the process as if I belonged. Perceiving change in nature has immense possibilities for contemplation. I try to examine change with my photographs.

I was on the way to Portland on U.S. Route 26 about 8:30 in the morning and a valley expanse opened. I pulled over.

The valley was almost filled with a frosty white fog illuminated by the sun. In the distance the peaks of the Coastal Range stick up over the tops of the cloud of white fog contained in their hollow.

I tried to arrange the images in the video to give a sense of looking out over the fog covered valley in one direction and then the other. Allen Ginsberg's poem "Wales Visitation" came to mind. You'll see why when you read the poem at the highlighted text. I had heard him read that poem at Hobart College some time around 1968. He had written it a short time before and it had not been published yet. You can see him read it for William Buckley on national television here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Columbia River

(Right click on highlighted text and photogaphs)

I fell in love with the Columbia River the first time I saw it at the Bonneville Dam. It had long been neutered by 450 dams and brought to its knees, as rivers go, by the time I saw it. But still the river focuses my attention and holds me in awe. It continues to be a mighty statement of endurance and continuity in a human world where all that is held dear may vanish at the stroke of a pen in an office on Wall Street or Washington.

The photograph below is of the Astoria-Megler Bridge in Astoria Oregon, (eight miles from the mouth of the Pacific Ocean)and is my attempt to represent the eternal nature of the river and the creatures that live from it. Long after man is washed off the shoreline out of existence this river will keep rolling and the life that remains will regroup and reorganize itself by virtue of the intelligence that brings life from inert materials. Some may think this gives them the right to pursue activities that harm it. Others see the river as a moral responsibility that begs them to treat it with respect. Thankfully the river is going to outlast the 450 dams and anyone that may build another dam. I’m gonna sit here and watch it as long as I can.

The Columbia River has quite a history.
The gorge was formed after at least a hundred pre-historic floods the size and cataclysmic violence of which the world had not seen before or since. These floods are now known as the Bretz floods. This designation is for the geologist Harlen Bretz who proved to the satisfaction of his scientific rivals after decades of debate, how the area got its topography. These floods came and went during the last ice age over a period of more than two thousand years. The result today is one of the most breathtaking places on the planet. Not only does the gorge offer spectacular vacation sights, but it allows you to see how it was swept clean and easily inspect layer upon layer the rock formations as they were laid down in lava flow after lava flow. I recommend buying this book.

“Did you know that the largest floods to occur on the planet happened here? During the last ice age, ice sheets covered much of Canada. One lobe of ice grew southward, blocking the Clark Fork Valley in Idaho. This 2,000 foot (600 meters) high ice dam blocked the river, creating a lake that stretched for hundreds of miles. When the lake was full, it contained 600 cubic miles (2,500 cubic kilometers) of water. How much is that? Imagine a block of water a mile high (as high as the mountains around Bonneville Dam), a miles wide, and stretching from Bonneville Dam to San Francisco!

Eventually, water traveled under the ice dam. The water drained out of the lake in two or three days, flooding eastern Washington. The flood, moving up to sixty miles per hour, scoured out hundreds of miles of canyons called coulees, created the largest waterfall to ever exist, and left 300 foot (90 meter) high gravel bars. At Bonneville, the water crested at 650 feet (200 meters). If you look on the cliffs southeast of the dam, you will see a transmission tower (the one with three poles) that is 200 feet (60 meters) above the high water mark.

During a period of 2,500 years as many as 100 of these floods scoured the Gorge.” Quotation from the USGS at the link above.

In the United States, the Columbia River is rivaled only by the Mississippi / Missouri river systems. The Mississippi, however, does not offer the spectacular signs of the geologic past that the Columbia River gorge offers even the casual tourist

Traditionally designated "The Great river of the West", scientists who think about these things categorize the Columbia as an endangered river. Its huge flow of water has been harnessed by as many as 450 dams. No other river system in the world has as many dams. At one time the area was an almost unlimited source of food and fur products for the entire world. Now those resources are inconsequential at best when compared to what appeared to be an inexhaustible quantity.

The witness in the diaries of the Lewis and Clark expedition tells of an amount of fish so staggering that it was almost beyond comprehension.
Today the fur trade is negligible if not absent, salmon fishing is reduced to the point that the salmon is endangered, and the river itself, choked with more than 400 dams bears no resemblance to the river that carved out the 3000 foot walls of the Columbia River gorge through which it passes.

This land is our land. Let’s not shit in our own bed anymore. If we do we have no reason to ask why it stinks.

This is a
Never forget, never again
4 / 20 / 2010

Copyright 2010 with thanks to the sources referenced by my links and in quotes.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whitman's Dog

(right click on photographs and texts for enhanced information)

I wrote this poem while thinking of the Walt Whitman reference. Click for reading of Whitman's poem. I was thinking how stupid it is to hope for more than the present on the basis of a Christian explanation. If anyone doesn't love this world they would hate 'heaven' too. Both are said to be made by God. To sing this world is not my home seems to be the ultimate sacrilege from my point of view.

God, the universal principle, did put us here. I doubt that the universe changed it's mind and cursed us to extinction. That, I believe, is a 'religious' explanation for our circumstances. Religion has always been the refuge of governments and kingdoms. But religion bears no resemblance to the world seen with the eyes and experienced with the senses. Some say the religious have their heads in the clouds. I suspect they are doing a visual search for hemorrhoids on themselves.

The ultimate mystery is the alchemy of sunlight, moonlight and the response. That response is seen in my garden.

Whitman’s Dog

I would rather live and die as a dog
going from one thing to another collecting,experiences
senses full of all around him,
who, knowing his time has come,
finds a place to lie down alone
without fears of judgment and hell,
thinking only of closing his eyes one more time.

Whitman reference below

"I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and
I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania
of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands
of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth."

Friday, June 25, 2010

If You Want to Dance ...

you have to pay the fiddler.

(Right click on highlighted texts and photographs)

The 'fiddler' and the 'devil' have a scam going. It's called capitalism. It is characterized by placing profits at the top of the list of priorities while placing human well-being way down on the list.

I keep thinking of Jesus and 'the Kingdom of God'
in which the eternal process is set up to keep on keeping on. The 'Father' sees to it that everything gets what it needs to keep on keeping on. That is how Jesus describes the 'Kingdom'.

The interlude we are experiencing now in the Gulf of Mexico,
caused by people whose sole purpose for existence is the acquisition of 'mammon', wealth, stands in direct contrast to the 'Kingdom of God' which Jesus spoke of. Luke 16 seems quite applicable.

There are crazies in this world who have suggested that God blew up the Gulf because the President indicated U.S. policy would not approve of everything that the Zionist state of Israel does any longer.

How crazy can these whacked out evangelicals get? They are used to magic people and hearing voices when no one is there and they kill people on command. Now they want us to believe that no longer kissing a Zionist ass has lead to their God precipitating the Gulf crisis. They seem oblivious to the information in Luke 16. For them profit and gold are good, and what the bible said about those things does not fit into their way of looking at life.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Trip to Crater Lake

(Right click photographs and highlighted texts)

My eldest son came to visit. We hadn't seen each other since Christmas in NY. He arrived on the 11th of June and left today the 16th. June 13th was my 1st anniversary here alongside the side of the pond.

It is anniversary of another kind as well. In 1993 on June 13th both of my sons and I were here. I asked them both to truck on down to Buffalo and see the Grateful Dead with me. My youngest son and I had gone the previous year, this year all three of us went. It was the last time I got to see the Grateful Dead. We had a good time.

Matt came out last year right after I moved, this is the first that Jay has been here. I had anticipated his arrival since the end of winter when he said he was able to make it. I had wanted him to see how gorgeous the area was and how comfortable my new home was.

We set off on a trip that had too many goals in relationship to the time allowed us. This resulted in changing plans on the fly. We had set out to drive down the coast from Warrenton, stopping to see the sights and taking photographs when we saw something interesting. Truth be told there are many interesting things, far too many to be seen in the time we had to allot to this activity.

We left the driveway thinking we would ‘drift’ down the coast on Highway 101 and see the different lighthouses along the way. But after two lighthouses, an idea we had earlier and had not been able to accommodate in the time we had, came back. Crater Lake!!

Two lighthouses were enough, we could always come back. We decided to go directly to Crater Lake. The decision wasn’t made because the drive was boring, but my son had wanted to see the lake. So we went.

It’s a long drive. We left Warrenton before 8 and arrived at Crater Lake at sunset. All by chance we stumbled onto a scene that blew my mind.

It was the middle of June and there was a lot of snow still on the ground. Behind us on the ’rim’ drive was Crater Lake.

Finding this felt like a serendipity. We didn’t know where we were going and then it was there! That was my impression . But my son has a gps thingy and in retrospect I suspect that played a part in getting there. I was unaware of it being a factor at the time as he was driving and I was lookin’.

We took a lot of pictures and saw a lot of scenery that left me feeling humbled.

We came down from the lake on narrow roads that lay in front of us like a long series of ‘S’ curves in the dark, mountainside on the left, a sheer drop-off on the right. We were tired and exited onto route 62 fully expecting to drive another 50 miles to Klamath and the nearest motel. But about 5 miles from the park entrance we spotted a sign that said ‘Wilson’s Cottages’ and decided to stop.

Wilson’s Cottages turned out to be one of the pleasant surprises of the trip. It is an authentic 1930’s style tourists camp.
It has individual cedar shingled cottages placed well apart between tall trees. The cottages are authentic because they were erected in the 1930’s and remain pretty much they way they were when new; you can’t get any more authentic than that.

I experienced the old wood work with a sense of nostalgia having been brought to places just like this by my parents as a child. Clean and neat and a hell of a lot better than driving another hour and then another hour back in the morning.

When I woke in the morning I discovered that we were in a forest of very tall trees.

There’s a path, if you look hard, down to Annie Creek which exit’s the park and runs behind the cottages. I heard it before I saw it while walking the path in the morning. The air was fresh and sweet, the only sounds I recall were those made by myself and then as I drew close the sound of water gurgling rapidly in Annie Creek.

One thing that struck me was that the 1930’s comforts acted as a catalyst to put me into a slower pace, a pace disconnected from the hyper fast society demanding more than can be reasonably expected. This is a good place to ‘get away’ and find your bearings. About five mile from the entrance of the park is a real plus too.

Crater Lake sits over 7000‘ above sea level. It is 1900‘ deep at it’s deepest spot. We went back up to see it in the daylight. There was still a lot of snow on the ground and it had snowed the week before. The sky was clear blue and the lake was as pure a blue as you can bring to mind.

It's a strange experience looking across the lake to the other side while realizing that at one time the 7000' peak rose to a height of 12,000' and that a third of it was literally blown up and scattered to the winds. The tranquil blue lake that remains is the empty shell of Mount Mazama that has quietly refilled itself with water over the intervening years. It sits there as one in meditation.

I had gotten some sore muscles from all the walking, but by my return the soreness was a memory, and it was a good soreness in that it awakened my sedentary body. Nothing like walking in the sand, over rocks and leaping rivulets to take it’s toll on a body that has done nothing but sit around for a year. It gave me the idea I had better keep walking.

On our drive down the coast we passed Cannon Beach and stopped first at some of the Neahkahnie view points overlooking Manzanita and the Pacific Ocean. Today it was overcast and it remained a sodden gray not quite daring to rain until mid afternoon when the skies became higher and gave way to broken patches of blue and white allowing sunlight to shine.

This is not abnormal weather behavior. It keeps the North Coast from getting boring.

I took a lot more photographs than I posted here. Way too many to post here. But on the way back to Warrenton we discovered another really pleasant surprise called Yachats. I'll have some pictures of that next time.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Consider the Lilies

(click on highlighted text)

Black scud, sun, hail
and sun again
all in a few minutes;
such is coastal weather.

“Sparing indeed is nature of its talk:
The whirlwind will not last the morning out;
The cloudburst ends before the day is done.”

Ducks, sparrows and doves (video click)
appear unperturbed
whether pelted with ice
or warmed by sunshine.

Having abandoned the ‘Kingdom’
fearing the future has become a way of life,
while those secure in the province of the King
are carefree.

Quotation from Tao Te Ching Translated by Raymond B. Blakney 1955

Title taken from Matthew 6:28

Most people, even Christians, think Jesus is foolish when he encourages people not to worry about the future. When he encourages a life that does not envision tomorrow most are prone to laugh. Believers will explain the words away declaring he does not mean what he says.

Jesus came teaching about the kingdom of God in which natures processes were Gods method of maintaining life and order.

Do the lilies grow, are the birds fed? Does God care for you? Well according to Jesus God cares and has a system that shows it.

For most Americans this concept is meaningless. Common sense says there is a future to prepare for and that gold, the symbol of creature comforts, is the solution to the fear of the future.

The God of Jesus,which he called 'Father' has become irrelevant to most Christians because they have accepted the explanation of modern society whose confidence relies on politicians and manufacturers to provide the needs of life.

The God of Jesus is the one who brings the seasons. Seed time and harvest are his province. However present society populated by Christians and atheists alike have abandoned trust in the 'Father' of Jesus.

Jim Hightower has shown just what some of the consequences of abandoning trust in God are.

America claims to be a Christian nation. When it organizes itself the way it has is it possible to maintain such a view with any credibility? The result of lacking faith in the 'Father' results in the consequences Jim Hightower has pointed out.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Way of Life

(click on photographs then click again for expanded detail. Click on highlighted texts for reference information)

A fledgling on the grass is brought to the cracked corn in the yard and fed by his caretaker. Then it is left alone.

The little bird is one who survived ravens, eagles, cats and other dangers. I imagine a number of hatchlings did not survive. This one made it to May 17.

As I watched the scene seeing it left there by itself I wondered what it was thinking; clothed only in it's fluffy fledgling feathers. I am certain there was an intelligence within it and it's caregiver that is directing its future.

It's a big world now little fledgling, you've got a life to live.

Despite all the mating activity of the ducks I have yet to see one duckling in the pond, but I did see a mallard hen leading a number of ducklings down the banks toward the pond. Never saw them again. There are coons, cats and coyotes that find ducklings desirable as well as ravens and eagles do. Out the window now grackles are still chasing ravens from the pines on the far side of the pond.

Some christian teachers have said that nature is a lesson from the creator. What is the creator trying to tell us? The American mystic, Ellen White had this to say in a book titled 'Education':

"Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity. Nature testifies of God. The susceptible mind, brought in contact with the miracle and mystery of the universe, cannot but recognize the working of infinite power. Not by its own inherent energy does the earth produce its bounties, and year by year continue its motion around the sun. An unseen hand guides the planets in their circuit of the heavens. A mysterious life pervades all nature--a life that sustains the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, that lives in the insect atom which floats in the summer breeze, that wings the flight of the swallow and feeds the young ravens which cry, that brings the bud to blossom and the flower to fruit.

The same power that upholds nature, is working also in man. The same great laws that guide alike the star and the atom control human life. The laws that govern the heart's action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of the mighty Intelligence that has the jurisdiction of the soul. From Him all life proceeds. Only in harmony with Him can be found its true sphere of action. For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same--a life sustained by receiving the life of God, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator's will. To transgress His law, physical, mental, or moral, is to place one's self out of harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin."

Lao Tzu many years before Ellen White wrote these thoughts down on the application of the lessons of nature:

Verse 37 Tao Te Ching, Translated by Raymond B. Blakney 1955

"The Way is always still, at rest,
And yet does everything that's done.
If then the king and nobles could
Retain its potency for good,
The creatures all would be transformed.

But if, the change once made in them,
They still inclined to do their work,
I should restrain them then
By means of that unique
Original simplicity
Found in the Virgin Block,
Which brings disinterest,
With stillness in its train,
And so, an ordered world."

I know some who would say nature teaches us that life is cruel. However I don't fault the predator; what would it do if it did not eat? I know some who will say the Creator has shown us the beauty of nature and be unwilling to make further conclusions.

What I see is an entire process able to keep on working and an intelligence that guides it despite the interference of humans. The mystery is the process. I call this process God for lack of a more comprehensive description. Lao Tzu understood observations such as this as to be analogous to a correct concept of God.

God is a process I am glad to be part of. As far as I am concerned there will always be spring after winter. The sun man has depended on will turn on him. In a few billion years it will evaporate all the water on earth and eventually go out. Until then the seeds fall onto the ground and die. But they will rise, as seeds do, from the ground, to become what they are ultimately destined to be.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

I'm A Drop Of Dew

I wrote this poem in the context of the transience I understand the present experience to be. I have never found anything to remain permanently. All that exists will cease to exist. Show me one thing that is not like this.

Do you know of another reality? Can you imagine, something that never changes? Something that is the same all the time? If you can refer to something like that I want to know about it. (click on photograph for detail)

Consider Indra's Net when you look at the spiders web.

Photographs and text Copyright 2010 by David H. Roche

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bird Watching

Click highlighted text for feature length PBS documentary about ravens.

Ravens are fairly common here. They tend to be slightly larger than the crows I left in New York. They're fun to watch. Their movement is hilarious, sometimes they will leap sideways or backwards. It almost looks like the bird is attached to an invisible string that is yanked suddenly, jerking him. But his movement is done with precision, timing and bounce in his legs. The raven is a a genuine acrobat on the ground or in the air. I have watched one chase a small hawk and steal its prey. It is quite a sight.

They are always inquisitive. When I throw corn out for the ducks they will often show up in pairs within a few minutes. Not much goes on they are not aware of. I guess its their business.

In the last few weeks I have seen a raven being pursued in the air by 6 or more grackles on several occasions. They pursue in what appears to be a well thought out attack scenario; they dive bomb from above, strike from all angles on the sides and come up from underneath simultaneously and always end up chasing the intruder off. I imagine they were guarding their homestead.

Today I videoed a pair of grackles on the ground harassing a raven. Their persistence tells me this is non ordinary behavior. Ordinarily they would not associate at all.

I know the grackles have been building nests and I think that is the reason for their unrelenting harassment of the ravens.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

King Bee

(click highlighted texts and photos.)

I didn’t pick your cherry
but I’ve buried my face in your blossoms

where the nectar is sweet;
I’m your king bee.

Text and photograph Copyright 2010 by David H. Roche

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Heron Illusion

(Click on highlighted texts and photographs for further information)

I saw the heron alight on a partially submerged tree. I got my camera and went out.

The light was muted. It was cloudy and even though the sun was up it was not a large presence. (a feature I find desirable about the area is the way the weather creates different light scenarios.}

The pond is connected to the Skipanon River, which is affected by the tide as the Skipanon is connected to Youngs Bay and from there to the Pacific Ocean. As a result there are smolt to feed on.

This is what I found. A hallucination of ripples in the water; heron and ducks going about their business at sunrise.

The ripples in the water speak to me of time passing and of my own impermanence.

Copyright by David H. Roche 2010

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