A couple of nights ago, the prevailing calm retreated before winds which tore down many of the now loosely attached autumn leaves in my neighborhood. Along with this, they picked up a crazy amount of garbage, likely from the row of dumpsters near our building, and added this detritus to the mix, which they deposited between my block and the next. The street sweepers must have despaired; or simply shrugged their overworked shoulders and got busy. It was quite a mess before they waded in.
I have long wanted to attempt a series of photos which will imitate the in-vogue stacked multiple exposure sets which show murmurations of birds. With the camera mounted on a tripod to stop it from moving, and a shutter going off as many times a second as hardware allows, the trail of each bird is revealed in a glorious dance together. But my series will, instead of elusive bird-flocks, use trees and their falling leaves blown by wind, though to similar effect, says my mind’s eye. All I currently have to offer pictorially accompanying this article is a multiple exposure of pigeons outside a temple in Kathmandu from last year; but this, too, conveys something of what I seek. I kept the shutter a bit slow for these shots, though, to show blur (as I am wont to do with motion), and didn’t bother with the tripod. Anyway, now’s the season to attempt the leaf-murmuration visions I already have in mind.
Linked thematically with these winds and the chaos they bring is the News. Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been featured in recent days, sad events and competing versions vying for our attention. Russia/Ukraine, Israel/Gaza and Azerbaijan/Armenia are not close enough, it seems. We must have confusion and sadness here, right here, as well! And here it comes, right on time. How we’re going to clean this up, though, I really don’t know.
Is there a perceivable pattern in news events which, like bird murmurations or leaf-falls, can be tracked, recorded, revealed, if one has the right mental equipment? Not from our time-bound, limited perspective, I think, at least not from my own. Maybe, on the other side of an eternity in which I believe, all of human history will stand revealed for what it really was and has been, and it will All Make Sense. At the moment, from here, inside the dust devils, we groan and mourn and struggle to make sense. Because the garbage stirred up by the winds of Event in our lives is not neutral; it plays on our nerves, drags us down, saddens or infuriates us, sometimes stirs us into some kind of action, useful or futile, just because we find it hard to sit idly by.
Or we seek an explanation, from someone who has analyzed news-storms and their fallout over time and discovered patterns, revealed them, photographed them in words, frozen them for us all to see. We may not agree with these descriptions; they are less “factual”, more opinion-based and debatable, than bird- or leaf-flights revealed across the sky. But we find something with which to agree (or vehemently disagree), because it resonates (or grates) with us, and go with or protest that. Because we want to understand. I certainly do, anyway.