Black and White
24 October 2017
When I think of that particular phrase several things ~ P0P ~
Opposites – A Yin and Yang of sorts. The kind that says there is no gray here. The Chinese considered that all things exist as both inseparable yet contradictory opposites. Male-female, dark-light, old-young. There is no middle ground. There is no average or fair. Yet all things circle one another in one great whole. Peacefully intertwined. The yin is the dark swirl, associated with shadows, an encroaching wave, curiosity, the unknown. The yang is the light swirl that represents brightness, passion, growth, anticipation. And on any given day – where am I in this spectrum of living?
Chessmen on a board – Opposing sides in a contemplative yet philosophical battle of wits. The question always hangs unspoken in the air before the match begins: Am I better? Am I smarter? Am I patient enough? Can I refrain from rash and snap judgements that will lead to my undoing? And what are the answers to those questions regarding my opponent? In my relationships whether they be brief, business, personal or lifelong pursuits – those questions still shroud my inner being like a silent mist. Sometimes, most times, I do not remember that they are there. I do not pay much attention to them. Yet if I am honest with myself, I must admit that they carry more weight than that silken mist that carries them.
Pianos – The instrument that is both a primer to music mastery yet a masterpiece of glory to my ears. I have a friend who I consider to be a master here. I find when I hear her play I cannot help myself but to lean back, let my eyes drift to a peaceful close and absorb the beauty she offers as my ears translate the artful blend of sounds, nuances, cadences, the sheer variety of passion that simply draws me in, wraps around me like a comfort to my soul and I float away until the last note sounds and the stillness fades into living again. Breathless. Time in suspension. A much-appreciated pause button for my often frantic life.
Starkness – Contrasts so vivid and obvious that one cannot help to see and either appreciate or bristle at. Sometimes it is a turn in the conversation. Sometimes it is something I witness as a mere bystander. Sometimes it is an unfair dose of grief that seems cruel, hurtful to my soul as undetached from their reality as I am. Starkness can either be severe or an opulence. It is not always a negative for me. The bright night sky with stars ablaze, the deep hues of a glorious sunset, joy so full it spills over into tears that bathe my face in an internal reverence that escapes out of my soul.
Elegance – Classic formal attire that bespeaks affluence, grace, elegance and a sense of status, importance, stateliness. In our daily travels, elegance in our dress is a rarity at best. Much of our wardrobe choosings revolve around comfort, functionality, ease of care. We often sport a jab at the dress code of Walmart goers. But when we see something out of the ordinary – a well-fitted suit with an impeccable tie, a woman who has a flair for fashion that so stands out from the everyday, the ordinary – we take pause and admire the skill, the courage, the power that that image invokes. Do we somehow crave an elegance to living that has faded from our modern scurrying of life? Are we so accustomed to the hurry up of life that we have allowed an elegance to living to become a bygone era?
Photography – Oh the days of old black and while films, right? Given today’s technology impact on film making complete with CGI options and the fast-moving pace of things, when we watch films from decades gone by with their grainy frames and fake night time shots – it humors us! They sped up the horse, they slowed down the river crossings, they kissed passionately on the cheeks. Some are impatient with old films. Some of us just adore them. And what of still photography? With the absence of the distraction of color, one must carefully consume the details, the drama, the subtle nuances of the subject matter. And if it is crafted with a provoking thoughtfulness it can move you to a higher plane, remain with you and nestle down deep into your soul.
Parting thoughts ~ Is anything simply Black and White anymore? Was it ever? Do we really want it to be? I submit that there is great value in the Black and Whites of our world. And I love them.
28 December 2017
I was reading today and came across this sentence that I lingered over for quite a while. It struck a pondering chord deep within my soul actually. It was this: “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones.” It got me to thinking about the reality of that thought. Bricks are an okay building material – they are generally uniform and easy to work with. Another plus? We can alter their appearance at will. They are easy to maneuver, stockpile and apply. They appear to be sturdy at first blush ~ likely, but upon further inspection we note that they are not all that they seem. They are constructed with tiny grains of sand – the tiniest fragments of stone that there is. To a microscope they are majestic ~ but in reality, they can flake apart and weather away bit by bit. Seemingly imperceptible, but erode away they do almost from the very beginning of their lifespan. A far greater building material is a solid piece of stone. Stronger, less flaws, better for foundations, more pleasing to the eye, longer lasting – that is a hewn stone. Stones are built tough Mother Nature style. Durable, purposeful. A masterpiece really. Much more difficult to obtain, to work with. How does this apply to us? Sometimes we settle. We settle for what is easy, what looks good for the onlookers in to our lives. We use the lesser quality things perhaps out of necessity or maybe it is out of trying to pull a fast one in our fast-paced lives. Sure, bricks look good. Tidy. Uniform. Looks like everyone else. But stones are heavier, tougher to wrestle into place. Stones are permanent. Sculptors favor them for their long-lasting works of art. But isn’t that what we hope our lives wind up being? Lasting works of art that inspire others to be better, live better, strive forward despite the daunting odds that face them? What are the stones in your life? Is it your family? Your character? Your habits? Your goals? Which of these life builders ~ bricks or stones ~ which one endures greater stress, has better longevity, is more desired? Stone. Rock solid.