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Buddha, Shiva, and the elements

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — Buddha against the earthquake, Shiva against the floods ]

SPEC DQ buddha quake shiva floods

Images are from Nepal (upper panel) and India (lower panel).

Earthquake in Nepal

Monday, April 27th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — more grief for an already grieving world ]

SPEC DQ Nepal quake

I have a particularly dear friend in Nepal. My heart and prayers go out to her, to all those she knows and loves, and to the Nepalese people.

BTW, those are the Swayambhu stupa’s “buddha-eyes” that you see in the little box joining the two panels of my DoubleQuote. I understand the temple complex sustained some damage in the quake.

Bobcat jumps shark..

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — I suppose you could call this “land-sea battle” ]


I couldn’t quite let this tweet go by without recalling the two quotes that gave me the DoubleQuotes idea in the first place:

From Haniel Long’s Letter to Saint Augustine:

My friend Jens Jensen, who is an ornithologist, tells me that when he was a boy in Denmark he caught a big carp embedded in which, across the spinal vertebrae, were the talons of an osprey. Apparently years before, the fish hawk had dived for its prey, but had misjudged its size. The carp was too heavy for it to lift up out of the water, and so after a struggle the bird of prey was pulled under and drowned. The fish then lived as best it could with the great bird clamped to it, till time disintegrated the carcass, and freed it, all but the bony structure of the talon.

And from Annie Dillard‘s Teaching a Stone to Talk:

And once, says Ernest Seton Thompson–once, a man shot an eagle out of the sky. He examined the eagle and found the dry skull of a weasel fixed by the jaws to his throat. The supposition is that the eagle had pounced on the weasel and the weasel swiveled and bit as instinct taught him, tooth to neck, and nearly won. I would like to have seen that eagle from the air a few weeks or months before he was shot: was the whole weasel still attached to his feathered throat, a fur pendant? Or did the eagle eat what he could reach, gutting the living weasel with his talons before his breast, bending his beak, cleaning the beautiful airborne bones?


The photo almost, though not quite, captures the full circularity of the two narratives above — but even so, the sense of two elemental beasts, one of earth, one of water, grappling each with the other, is powerful, rare, and memorable.

Good karma, or paying it forward — piggy-back

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — a frog, a snail, a praying mantis, yes — but not a piggy in sight! ]

See also: At a snail’s pace

Hat-tip: Faizah.



  • Snail rides frog, photocredit: Lessy Sebastian / Solent News
  • Mantis rides snail, photocredit: Nordin Seruyan / Barcroft Media
  • At a snail’s pace

    Sunday, December 29th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — leap frog in very slow motion, and leap razor too ]

    As a poet, I don’t much like that old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words — but there’s a density of information in each of the images below that’s worth considering:


    Two very striking images, in parallel, juxtaposed. What can we read into them, or out of them?

  • That a snail’s pace is always the same, no matter what obstacles it encounters?
  • That slow and steady wins the race?
  • That you can take the easy way, or you can take the hard way?
  • That you [Chinese Buddhists] can go for gradual or sudden enlightenment?
  • That the snail in the upper panel (in an artwork by Nancy Fouts) is enacting and or paying hommage to Colonel Kurtz‘s celebrated line from Apocalypse Now?

    I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream; that’s my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor… and surviving.

  • What else? What do you see?
  • There’s power in images, and even more in juxtapositions.



    If one picture is worth
    a thousand words,
    what’s a bunch of Wordsworth?


    Here the actor Jeremy Irons gives a refreshingly fresh reading of Wordsworth‘s poem:

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