Oh the wind the wind is blowing
Freedom soon will come
Oh the wind the wind is blowing
These film stills from Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” kill me. They chew on every desire, pull at every inspiration, and push me until I am walking back and forth into a wall.
This is a constant in my life.
“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning.” —Stanley Kubrick
Movie stills from: Barry Lyndon 1975
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Director Of Photography: John Alcott
Bjork, yes! Please and always!
They say that there are three parts to the Camino de Santiago.
The first is the fight with your body which takes about ten days to adjust to. The second, the fight with your mind, in which you question your actions of walking for so long, being there, and every single aspect of insecurity that humbly hid away in that head of yours. Finally, there’s the reassurance that you are achieving greatness; the third stage is enlightenment.
Well, I can only say that my whole journey consisted of the fight with my body. I kept telling myself the pain would reside, I only had two days, then one day to reach the ten day mark. But the pain increased, and increased until the last day of my walk into Santiago de Compostela when I realized that I had finally broken in my hiking boots. Unfortunately, my happiness dwindled in between this extraordinary realization and the tropical storm that approached with severity.
There was no self-reflection on my part. I mean, sure I thought about my past, I thought about what brought me there, but mostly I thought about the person I walked with and what brought them there. I thought about how many more kilometers I had to walk to reach a bed, I thought about the terrain that lay ahead. And sometimes, but only sometimes and briefly I might add, did I think about what I am going to do when I came back to what I left behind.
Two years ago, I had the great idea of walking across Canada. The thought was provoked by an intense journey in Greece a year before where I decided, on a whim, to walk twenty-six kilometers. That day in Greece was a profound experience, but now I believe these things come at the right time, the enlightenment creeps in like the sun at dawn.
But surely, I wasn’t going to walk across Canada although I found mighty good evidence of two troopers who did this in the early two thousands which I thought was epic on their part. But I didn’t have a partner.
So in my eager stupor I decided to google “walks” across Europe. I had my eye on the Scottish highlands, but considering it was one of the most popular pilgrimages I chose the Camino de Santiago.
A year ago I could not consider myself a happy person, nor a content one. Life worries piled up and my heart constantly felt heavy. However, if someone had asked me what was wrong, what made me sad, I’d find myself grasping for invisible reasons just to please my ego. I knew I felt sad, I just didn’t have a good enough excuse.
So I turned to fear.
I knew I wanted to walk the Camino one day, I just saw it more as dream than reality. In truth, I was terrified of leaving and being on my own in a foreign country.
In January, my 25th birthday rolled around and I realized I had not done anything significant for myself. I contemplated the idea of crossing eight hundred kilometers. In February, I booked my ticket to Paris.
On August 12th my parents phoned in the early afternoon telling me they’ve just left their house and will be at mine in thirty minutes, I should be waiting downstairs for them with my baggage by then. After I hung up the phone, I ran to the washroom and vomited the coffee I drank earlier that morning. The fear kicked in. I looked at myself in the mirror, tears rolled down my face, I told myself that I didn’t have to go through with it, my parents would understand, in fact they’d be happy and relieved.
At the airport it was time to say good-bye. My father hugged me and kissed me as if it was only another day. My mother embraced me heavily, and I felt tears flood my eyes, but I fought hard to hold them back. I didn’t want her to panic.
I was afraid. I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it. Was it to punish myself? Was it to find myself?
But the second I boarded that plane, I looked out the window and I felt all of the fear release me. I had eight hours to figure out how I’d reach Saint Jean Pied de Port where my pilgrimage would begin.
I gave myself forty-four days to spend in Europe; Thirty-five (in case of injury) to walk the Camino.
I finished it in thirty-two, and it was the most happiest, most extraordinary thirty-two days of my life.
That’s the thing, I have no words, only the ones that led me to it.
The thing about such a pilgrimage is that you meet individuals like yourself and you fall in love with all of them for they embody all that you embody. They walk for the reasons you walk, which are many.
The Camino is like a time machine.
Here’s to all the fellow pilgrims I met along the way, the friends who have shaped me into the person I am today, and for the happiness they have given me which still lingers to this day.
I opened my window on the fast highway. The wind blew in and hit my face, but I focused on the structures ahead. I didn’t think, I just pulled out my camera and shot.
This was on a road trip I recently did with my parents and my brother. We planned on visiting nine states before we reached Michigan.
Six years ago my mother and I visited her brothers in Michigan. For the first time I met the one uncle I only heard stories of. He is an incredible human being, also a photographer. The trip was momentous, and I fell in love with my family.
When we had to leave for home my uncle drove us to the Chicago airport.
But, I have learned to love this city.
Chicago gave me hope.
The Art Institute of Chicago is an incredible place. I want to live there.
This is a series I did on my brother called “The Tourist”.
I am home and am instantly flooded with thoughts, and tears pour out of me. I am a river.
For the whole length of my trip I could not conjure a single sentence. Now in this familiar yet strange apartment of mine I feel out of place, out of space, and there is so much of it. This, however is a continuation of my previous existence.
I don’t want to leap to conclusions and say I don’t want to be here or worse that I don’t belong here, it just simply feels as if I am not meant to be here. It is not a tragedy and I refuse to treat it as one. It is a fact.
Yes, there are so many roads you can run away to but eventually it will lead you to one.
I chose the Camino de Santiago.
IPhone photo, Saint Jean Pied De Port, France
Webiste is finally complete. It is up and running!
I love rocks, I collect them. Specifically, I love rock formations, I love how over many years they form differently without having control over that change. I love that you can see and sense and feel the age of the rock. I love how they are just there, they’ve always been there, always will be there, perhaps a bit smaller or bigger, but they are stagnant and beautiful. They don’t mean to be beautiful, this world does not intend to create beauty, in fact it is quite violent and active, it is selfish, but it does not know that nor intends to be that.
It just is.
I wish I didn’t feel so alone in its presence.
I think I’ve been selfish, but my kindness protects me.
Self-Portrait, Cannon Beach, Oregon
I have always been in love, my whole life, since I was a child I am sure. Even when I did not love a sepcific person I was still in love with love. And it pained me and created a hopeless romantic out of me, but it also created a dark side I can no longer shake off. I have learned to hide it so well that sometimes even I forget it exists. I realize now I am in love with this darkness. I love how it looms over me, hovers, and despises me. It is comforting, and familiar in a lot of my photography. Art is tragic, and I think you need to be strong to overcome the isolation and the darkness of it all because you are the darkness and it is your heart you are painting or versing or photographing, always. Beauty becomes accompanied by a saddness, a sort of nostalgia, I don’t really know what…
All I know is that it all makes me happy, and sad because I miss him, and I wish I could talk to him after all these years because he was dark and beautiful and I was always looking at his hands.
Eventually something you love is going to be taken away. And then you will fall to the floor crying. And then, however much later, it is finally happening to you: you’re falling to the floor crying thinking, “I am falling to the floor crying,” but there’s an element of the ridiculous to it — you knew it would happen and, even worse, while you’re on the floor crying you look at the place where the wall meets the floor and you realize you didn’t paint it very well.
- Richard Siken (includes title of post)
And speaking of all that’s dark here are a few films, my dear reader, I promised to recommend every now and then for your viewing pleasure
1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me – David Lynch
1999 Eyes Wide Shut – Stanley Kubrick
2011 Melancholia – Lars Von Trier
2013 Nymphomaniac – Lars Von Trier
2013 Young and Beautiful – François Ozon
2014 Lost River – Ryan Gosling
“A walk in the park” he said as we headed up a nine kilometer mountain which reached well above 1240 m elevation.
Trekking and hiking with the Russians is always a fun time. We always end up somewhere where paradise flourishes and a place I did not know existed. I’ve known them for a long time now, I’d say about eight years, but I feel like I’m still getting to know them. They encouraged me to go on my first camping trip in Canada, taught me how to set up my tent, build a fire, and have shown me places which made me fall even deeper in love with British Columbia.
Denis is the pack leader, getting us up the mountain through sketchy terrain in his nifty Forerunner, and encouraging the girls (Ksenia and I) that we are just around the corner while we’ve only reached the four km mark out of god knows what. I am forever amazed at his vast knowledge of the woods and everything else in between I manage to ask him, sometimes even to just test his knowledge. He never fails.
Evgueni makes us laugh. And it appears to be a genuine deisre on his end. He will climb trees, do a goat dance, dry hump the air while doing chinups and making unsual grunting sounds, act like a gangster, and surprise you with his incredible dancing skills just so you laugh like an idiot.
And Ksenia is the core of it all, she keeps us in line. She makes fun of the boys in the most honest and silly way, her humour surpasses us all for it is witty and mathematical. She also takes my book reccomendations seriously and has out read me by a dozen books so far, I am sure, and I love her for it. Like a wizard trekking through rural terrains, her ambitions never fail. (Okay, that one is an inside joke Ksenj, you get it?)
Garibaldi Lake, May 2015