I tend to operate as a sleep camel, waking early during the week and then having marathon sleeps at the weekend, which collapse into deferred dreams. Recently, some of these have involved us living in versions of my parents’ house and this morning I was in the back garden, noticing new desire paths cutting through it, angling across the footpath beyond where the fence used to be (the official path now falling into disuse I noticed), making new routes through other gardens, dissolving boundaries… Awake, seeing a clearing blue sky, we resolved to go for a walk on Formby Sands, but frittered away so much time on chores and errands that it was gray and raw when we got there.
This is very near where I started the walk just over a year ago, and I was struck by how little exploring of my own area I’ve been doing, something to rectify this year.
Trying out my new camera (a Panasonic FX500 for those with an interest) we walked towards Southport with the wind behind us. Occasionally the remnants of buildings can be seen, scattered bricks and stones being steadily worn.
The wind, grass and sand make stark but sensual forms.
Death has washed in and out of view this week. Some famous people died, some friends-of-friends died, some online writers (such as Forest Wisdom and Solitary Walker) wrote movingly on dying. I suppose the sum of all journeys, including this one, is a death-point so it’s probably worth reviewing it, as part of the general routefinding task. (I should check… perhaps my camera has a [FUNERAL] setting in a sub-menu somewhere, along with [PARTIES] and [SNOW]). When it comes to death I have no answers or fixed concepts – whether “I” am eternal, ephemeral, only actually existing at this moment, any or all of these… dunno. When we pass, do we change from having a particular identity to being part of the generality? Deceased, are we ‘held in the mind of God’ assuming God is or has a kind of vast supercomputer that stores all possible things, including our lives and thoughts, like a camera with infinite pixels stored on an infinite SD card? Maybe this isn’t even a religious concept: if, as Barry Allen (The Flash) says in this month’s Final Crisis comic, ‘At relativistic speeds…space, time, light, it all runs together and becomes one thing. Beyond the superluminal barrier, matter converts to pure information’… then such information-realms could contain all kinds of things…and…
But maybe it is better, even necessary, not to try to hold it all together.
Enough perhaps to be a wave that rises and subsides, living out one’s waveliness in a fine old style.
I’m remembering now (at home having with a cup of tea, warmed by our actual fire and also the universal campfire of stored pixels) a quote from Captain Beefheart: The stars are matter, we are matter, but it doesn’t matter.
We turned and walked back, into the wind now, sand whipping our eyes. An elderly couple were collecting sea coal. Things blew past in the wind – a feather, a strand of tinsel (recalling that this date, 17th January, was Twelfth Night under the old calendar.) Back at the starting point of today’s stroll, I was strangely delighted to find hundreds of dead Christmas trees being used to make windbreaks, holding the dunes in dune-form. At least for a while.
Technical postscript, FAO the living mainly
The FX500 camera seems pretty decent. It has manual controls (aperture, speed, ISO) as well as automatic functions. In terms of lens quality and capacity it leaves my old Fuji in the shade. There’s a massive zoom, eg from here (no zoom)
(max of digital zoom with ‘film grain’ effect added in Picasa. There are fewer pixels in the digi zoom mode.) It also has all sorts of comedy functions and presets which may actually prove useful. It’s about the size of a packet of ten Number Six and not much heavier (though considerably costlier.) The LCD on the back is about the size of a cinema screen – the one you get when you see a film at the end of its run and the multiplex have put it in their smallest theatre, the one usually used for Tuesday afternoon pensioners’ screenings. And it’s just as well as most of the controls are touch screen.
Another new thing is switching from Flickr to Picasa. The upload speed is much better, the option to convert to a web-friendly filesize during the upload, and user-friendly geotagging (using Google Earth) all seem preferable.