this magnificent mantle
is one small seed
this magnificent mantle
is one small seed
The sunrise was glorious this morning and I’m standing under a powder blue sky, speechless at the array of flowers spread before me. Dew still clings to their vibrant petals as they lift themselves toward the sun.
The plantings in my friend’s heritage garden first captured my attention. Based on an original design from the 1840s, masses of snapdragons, forget-me-nots, scarlet impatients and brown-eyed Susans are offset by tall stalks of hollyhocks and larkspur. Beds of roses and French lavender perfume the air. Several large Mock-orange shrubs, together with mature elms and towering oaks, define the height of its scale. But I’m not here only to gaze at this lovingly tended spread on the D’Entrecasteau Peninsula, in Tasmania’s Lower Snug. I’m here on a mission with my camera, ready to capture photos of these beauties in their early morning freshness.
Later I view and edit the morning’s work on my computer screen. To my surprise other visitors―nature’s miniature helpers―also appear within the plants to feast on their sweet nectar and gather pollen. One little ant descends along the stem of a passionfruit blossom, its tiny body resembling three gleaming black beads.
Nearly hidden from sight in the cup of a pink lily, two small ladybugs nestle. The first buzzing sound of arriving bees became a roar as they swarmed over the face of each flower, busily gathering pollen for the return flight home.
It’s an absolute delight to peer down into this minuscule universe as one insect after another comes into view. Each group is uniquely different from all the others in this kingdom. And like the flowers each one is exquisitely made.
My camera has captured them at work. These small creatures all labour tirelessly, displaying a total dedication to their purpose. They move so quickly―with feverish speed―pausing only to connect with one another by brushing their antennas or performing a dance.
Insects keep the environment clean by carrying away decaying plant material and dead insects. They propagate the plants that feed us while their spread of pollen maintains our rich biodiversity. To ensure their protection, insects are also masters of camouflage as their bodies provide food for larger birds and animals.
There are many variations within these tiny creatures that are as interesting to observe as the beauty of the flowers that shelter and sustain them. I have grown to enjoy insects because they are so unusual. It’s fun to watch and study them in our world of living creations, both great and small.
singing now, the
first awakening birds …
how I love this time, when the dawn
the costal fringe
of green and blue
behind the gateway
to the outback
and cotton stubble
glistens in the
autumn sun as
hawks patrol the skies
faces to the light
a last blaze of colour
in this dryland’s
rich brown soil
of the rural strip
to brick red, burnt ochre
of the open range
and further out
in orange dust
a single cornstalk
displays its tassel
… days pass as we move through this desolate landscape of vast open spaces, carved into two parts by the road we travel on, a continuous ribbon drawing us straight ahead into its vanishing point, with only spinifex grass and saltbush lying between us and our destination.
then one tiny bud
as death devours
all lovely things
they grow anew
The beach stretches before me, its white sand warming my feet, its cushion giving way to a wet packed surface near the shore. Stretching far on my right are undulating sand dunes, crested with tufts of spinifex grass.
To my left lies the Pacific Ocean. I drink in its familiar colours–the glassy turquoise where the horizon becomes a shimmering haze–the deep expanse of cobalt lying far beyond where the seabed drops away. Mirroring the blue below, the sky is laced with weightless clouds.
I walk through the shallows hearing only the drone and splash of the open sea as it meets the shore. Closing my eyes, I inhale the scent of brine.
Today we have the opportunity to take beautiful digital photos and to add a text directly to the image. These two ingredients allow us to experiment with an early art form known as haiga. Traditionally haiga is a Japanese invention combining a sumi-e (inkbrush image) and a three line haiku or a five line tanka poem, hand-lettered on the same paper. The art lies in the subtle relationship between the two.
The painting, drawing or photo is not simply an illustration of the poem, nor is the poem a caption for the picture. Each element should stand alone – yet in juxtaposition, the two resonate to add a deeper and more complex meaning to the total work.
Drawings, paintings or photos may be presented with little or no adjustment, or they may be manipulated until the original is nearly unrecognizable. Photographs can be used as a starting point. The poem can be hand lettered, scanned, pasted to the image, or applied directly using the font capability of a software program.
Through haiga, the old and new are blended into a unique multimedia artistic experience.