Musings with Camera in Hand

Belinda Greb – The Photographic Journey

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Full Moon Rising on Yet Another Birthday

I thought I’d start with one of my poems from 2010, since it deals with age!



Calcified like the old fossil I have become

Stripping down my life to essentials – nature, my dog.

I have arrived at nothing.

I bear no burden

I have become merely elemental.

©Belinda Greb 2010

I’m really not a fossil yet, although some days I definitely feel like it, but birthdays are really just ordinary days for me at this point. More of a marker of the passage of time, like New Year’s, but not carrying any high expectations of a celebratory nature or, thank God, the self-analytical angst of “what have I accomplished thus far” that they once did.  Part of that may be just normal, part of the settling into one’s life. Yet I can only speak for my own life’s experience, and I know plenty of people my age who still retain lives full of emotional intensity, inner drama, and intricate plans for their future.

Not to say that I feel over and done with – 🙂 – but I do feel okay with the slowing down, an acceptance of this new phase of life. Part of that acquired acceptance is due to my life’s experience – seeing that change is unavoidable; that some die too young and that death is inevitable for each of us; and learning that some things are within my individual conscious control and others are not; and that life will often take us down unexpected or undesired paths, and while we can kick and scream all we want, we are still there and what is possible to change is how we react to it.

But part of that acceptance also has to do with my inner life’s experience which has led me to the belief that this is all natural, and that at every stage of life, there are treasures to be discovered. I may not have the energy I had ten years ago, but I have a vantage point from where I can reflect upon the changes in our world and in my self, and compare and contrast them and gain insight into both. I may not be the center of attention or worse, may seem irrelevant to others – that’s okay, I’ve learned to be comfortable with not living for others and oh what a relief that is, what freedom!

I’m middle-aged – by today’s terms only because we’re living longer 🙂 –  and I realize I probably seem old to younger generations. I don’t get the humor in the newer sitcoms, and I don’t really feel communication is what it used to be, and that’s fine. A younger generation is going to have a different world than the one I occupied, just as I inhabited a different world from my parents or grandparents. They’re going to have experiences that I never will, just as I have had some that they never will. Various worlds can cohabit the same plane and do – it’s just a matter of a multitude of perceptions.

What makes this alright for me, I suppose, is that I do believe in life after death – in fact, I believe in reincarnation. Why? Because: I’ve had inner experiences and dreams in which I was another person with emotions and thought processes that were foreign to me; my observations of nature and the way it always regenerates in one form or another; my reading and exploration of various philosophical and spiritual literature or practices in my life-long interest and pursuit of these matters; but more importantly because that belief just seems true based on my intuition. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe right – I don’t feel the need to argue the point with anyone. It’s not like someone’s going to be proven right! But for me the setting of the sun, just hearkens the rising of another, symbolically speaking.

Which leads me to my birthday, a week ago, quietly celebrated with phone calls from far away friends and an outing with nearby friends to a vista point that overlooked Three Sisters Wilderness. We walked, we talked, we watched the beautiful light on the mountains, and then watched the moon rise. We went home in the dark, and it all seemed perfect.


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What I found on a Walk

Running behind on everything, so I thought I’d just show what I photographed on just one walk. (Actually I typed this short post in the  WordPress Quick post, but that disappeared – so I’m trying again!)

I find a walk is a great way to clear my mind and replenish my energy, especially when I’m feeling blah.  This walk was like that. I walked uphill behind the canal, where I took the photograph of a farmhouse, then feeling better, I decided to continue my walk along the canal.  The last photograph is my favorite. It’s a composite of an intentionally blurry landscape I took (not really knowing how I was going to use it – just focused, and then turned it to manual and turned the focusing ring slightly) and another photo I took for texture of a rusted part of the bridge over the canal with a great plate and bolt.

A walk in nature always makes me feel connected, to the world, the source, whatever – just connected as in “Only Connect” from E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End. That phrase always resonated with me.

Next week I will try to find more words, more time,  and the photos will of the Three Sisters, taken on a great birthday outing with good friends.

For a larger image or to read the photo’s description, click on the photo or title.

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Twin Towers

In remembrance of 9/11, I thought I would post a poem I wrote 9/15/01.  I lived in New York from 1995 to June 2001, and my first job was a temporary graveyard shift position at Lehman Brothers in the American Express Tower which was connected to the Towers.

Twin Towers

All he sees is a pile of rubble.
He cannot hear the hearts beating beneath.
This, for him, is a chance to hearken the troops towards the fight against a common enemy.
The war on evil, he says.

But I see a moonlit night shining on the Hudson,
a light dusting of snow on pavement broken by these feet of this newcomer.
I hear the crystal branches stirring, creasing the quiet darkness.
I feel the cold, cold air sting my tender skin.
These buildings, these towers enfold this new New Yorker.

At first, I smoked outside chatting with a funny old guy who had worked there for years emptying the trash.
I don’t remember his name, Vincent, I think.
In the bitter cold we traded bits and pieces of our lives, before his wife came to pick him up at five.
Later, new friends showed me the staircase where we would go to smoke, talking about politics and literature.
We joked over our computers, grouched over the bankers’ handwriting.

Two gleaming towers struck down, interrupted by a jumbo jet.
Just before, the people at their desks, sipping coffee or reading reports, trading the gossip of previous days.
Conversations, meetings, life, broken by the need of one man to proclaim an enemy.

Once, I walked those marble halls, across the polished floors, past men returning home.
I worked the night in 12-hour shifts, 24-7 as they say.
Giddy by four, by eight, eager to leave.
Once again I would cross the suspended walkway, past workers fresh and intent, to catch the train uptown, emerging to see the morning’s new light casting long shadows on old buildings.

Those happy nights, the camaraderie of the deranged: the musician, the playwright, the actors and such, who worked the nights to dream the day.
A city of variety in nationalities and backgrounds, where talk flowed like water, sparkling and clear.
Twenty minutes break to walk the deserted nights past yachts and looming buildings in search of coffee and sweets, but really for the magic of it all.
Tiny figures roaming the shadows of a huge sleeping city.

Just after the impact, perhaps there is a brazen attitude on the part of the soon to be dead,
“I’ve been through this before.”
New Yorkers are tough; it’s a tough city.
But they are not tough enough to withstand the fanatic’s purpose of destruction, the reality of fire and shifting of steel.
They choose to leap, perhaps to fly.

I left my city two months ago, tired of the noise of neighbors who woke me in the night, tired of two rooms trapping me, burned out, I said.
I left not knowing if I really wanted to leave, wanting, perhaps, one day to return.
I left, knowing I would miss it, but not missing it yet.
I miss it now.

On the t.v. those buildings look as if they’ve been deserted for years, the windows are broken; there are cracks they tell us.
Interior images attest to recent signs of life: a cup of coffee, a bottle of cream, a chair pushed back.
Outside rescuers listen for survivors and cringe at the creakings of those fragile monoliths that may or may not fall.
Of the two towers, just steel, just dust, just smoldering fire, just tons and tons of debris.

And what will we leave behind, when we hunt down evil, what will be left there?

When I came to Manhattan to live, I worked on Vesey Street.
That first winter the snows were heavy.  They closed the city down for a day.
I walked home from the 72nd Street station just to see the streets empty of cars, just to hear my feet crunch in the snow.
I walked back soaking in that moment, and the moments the night before, and the moments to come.

All he sees is a pile of rubble.
A pile of rubble, a snowlit eve, which is real?
Which contains the eternal moment, which the elusive truth?
Steel and fire.
Dust and ashes.
Hope and despair.
Hate and love.
Ghostly fallen towers, shattered skyline.
A pile of rubble.
Or the echo of hearts beating,
hearts beating still?

September 15, 2001