A Beautiful G R E E N Morning

Over the weekend, everything exploded into that fresh, new shade of green that is among my favourite colours – it’s not that I’m partial to green (it’s actually among my less favourite colours), it’s that this particular shade always looks so clean and bright and only lasts a very short while. In other words, it is extremely transient, but it means that winter is over (never mind the possible frosts, life has returned). I love it. And to celebrate, here is some bad phone photography:

But just look at that colour! © rq, all rights reserved.


(The Green Song by Pērkons. Same vocalist as previously, lyrics below in somewhat literal translation.)

Touch the earth, the earth is white.
The earth is white, a moment before it was green.
Give your warmth, it will be green again.
Remember, remember, remember – your part is green.
Remember, remember – everything is in your hands.
Hail is hail, frost is frost,
Most is mist above all things until now.
On which hill will we light our fire,
Where shall we winter this summer?
How important, do you think,
How important is a single fire?
What will you, icicle, icicle, do when
When the awl of the sun pierces you?
When the awl of the sun pierces you?
Hail is hail, frost is frost,
Mist is mist above all things until now.
As many fires as will be lit on each hill,
So long shall we live.

Canyon Matka – Part 6: Rocks

Yes, just a close look at a small (seriously, not sarcasm this time) selection of rocks – and some rock formations that were especially interesting.

Rock slices everywhere! © rq, all rights reserved.

My all-time favourite quartz, popping up in the most unexpected of places! © rq, all rights reserved.

A look at the rock face itself – in this part, all the layers were vertical. © rq, all rights reserved.

A look straight up the rock face – those trees and shrubs are quite impressive. © rq, all rights reserved.

And this, probably my favourite – just look at those strata bending ’round, how much power and how much time is behind that shape. © rq, all rights reserved.

It may be that nothing breaks like a heart, but certainly nothing breaks like a rock. Take it away, Miley.


I made some boasting noises about my magnolia, so just to prove that it really is an explosion of pink and white this year (it’s a youngling), I took some evening photographs, with a special dedication to Giliell. ;)

© rq, all rights reserved.

A slightly better angle, non? © rq, all rights reserved.

They remind me of birds, a flock of free-wheeling birds. © rq, all rights reserved.

© rq, all rights reserved.

© rq, all rights reserved.

Ah, yes… © rq, all rights reserved.

Canyon Matka – Part 5: Surfacing

After long silence, here is the next installment of my visit to Canyon Matka in Macedonia – now the Republic of North Macedonia! (It was a bit of a joke, you’ve been there several times already but you’re visiting an entirely new country for the first time!)

We’ve looked beneath the water, and we have looked into the mirror that is the water – but today we will look at the surface of the water itself.

The river is narrow but quite deep, and as our visit occurred during the evening, there was some beautiful play of light on water, abstract art and distorted reflections. For all the canyon’s twists and turns, it was poured full of sunlight for most of the trip. Anyway, that’s it for the fancy prose, so without further ado:

© rq, all rights reserved.

© rq, all rights reserved.

© rq, all rights reserved.

© rq, all rights reserved.

A Year Long Journey

Thanks for everyone’s kind thoughts, the antibiotics seem to be doing something, though everything I’ve read about pertussis includes the warning that the coughing fits can last up to 3 months (depending on the source – shortest I’ve heard is 10 weeks, in China apparently they call it the “100-day cough”). So I’m not looking forward to that, because in about 3 weeks I have a big conference (in Madrid!) where I have presenting responsibilities and I was hoping the “long cough” (as it is called in Latvian) wouldn’t be quite so long…

However, I am looking forward to discovering more art like A Year Long Journey by Ryo Takemasa. Only one example, you must visit the site to see more:

A Progression of Beautiful Mornings

It’s been a while and I’ve collected quite a few, so here, all at once, is a collection of mornings at the train station, from about mid-January to the very beginning of April. It all starts out quite dark, gloomy and melodramatic, as January ought to be – it is, after all, the depth of cruel winter, and the freezing grip of the season is unrelenting…

January. ©rq, all rights reserved.

February. ©rq, all rights reserved.

Beginning of March. ©rq, all rights reserved.

[Read more…]

Mystical Worlds

No, this will not be another black hole post, although if you haven’t seen it yet, quickly:

First ever direct image of a black hole! The supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87 — 6.5 billion times as massive as the Sun! The image is better than I expected!

As tweeted by Katie Mack (@AstroKatie).

Instead, I found some art! Some spooky art that speaks to me, because despite the darkness, they don’t leave me feeling sad – there’s a loneliness that I enjoy because it has strength and conviction. Anyway, may I introduce you to Dawid Planeta – Artist Illustrates His Battle With Depression as a Mystical World of Spirit Animals, via My Modern Met:

A small figure appears throughout the poignant series, perhaps representing Planeta himself. He’s seen wandering through the fog-filled labyrinth, bravely facing the ominous jungle animals who feature glowing eyes that illuminate the darkness. They seem to be guiding him through the deep jungle, “to find his inner strength, find the light and come back with it.” And, Planeta explains, “When he knows who he is, he goes there again, this time without fear. He goes there because it’s a part of who he is. It’s a part of human nature you can’t ignore. You need to know all parts of life, dark and bright.”

Despite the difficulty of dealing with depression, Planeta managed to channel his feelings into creativity. “Depression—it’s not easy to deal with, but when you try, you can stop thinking about it as a weakness and turn it into something brilliant,” he says. “That’s what I aim to accomplish with my art. Things I’m trying to depict are dark, mysterious and frightening, but if you look closely, you will find excitement, passion and joy. Just open your mind and see.”

One example before the cut, for more keep reading:

by Dawid Planeta

[Read more…]

Excuses, Excuses

There is a reason why I was hesitant in accepting the co-blogger post, and that is because I am notoriously inconsistent.

I do a lot of prioritizing of energy and time, and as much as I’d like to say this blog is higher on that list, the top 3 spots go to family, work and health – and sometimes, there is nothing left over. My friendships suffer neglect, my roses remain uncut, and I realize that, although I have the material, I don’t have the motivation to put together a post of any kind. For that, I apologize.

I am currently on antibiotics for a sinus infection and the early signs of strep throat, but alongside that I have some nasty bronchitis that seems to be enjoying April far more than I am. Doctor’s orders are to literally stay in bed and sleep until Saturday, but there is emails to answer and projects to sort out and my candidate-in-training is writing her thesis, which must be submitted on Monday (when I have to be in Sweden) – and of course, there’s the children and their shenanigans.

However, I have not forgotten: I still have photos from Canyon Matka, I still have photos from the coin museum (yes, it’s just lots of old, shiny coins!), I still have photos from the aqueduct, plus various random items that show signs of spring arriving. So as slow as I take it, please take it with the best of intentions.

April is for sure this year the cruellest month. And to think it’s only just begun…

Names and Faces

Let us begin with this:

Text in tweet: “I don’t know the terrorist’s name. Nor do I care to know it.

Im keen on knowing the names, remembering the stories and celebrating the lives of the victims.”

BBC has a list, as does the New Zealand Herald:

They are fathers, mothers, grandparents, daughters and sons.

They are refugees, immigrants and New-Zealand born.

They are Kiwis.

These are the names of those who have died or are missing after the horrific acts of terror in Christchurch.

You can probably find more lists elsewhere, as they are being updated. This man, Khaled Beydoun, is keeping a list on Twitter. The number of victims has now increased to 51.

My heart goes out to the New Zealand Muslim community so disproportionately affected by this violence, as one of your local athletes puts so well:

While as cities and a nation we are all devastated by what happened yesterday, let’s not lose sight of the fact that yesterday’s terrorist attacks were targeted at the Muslim community. While it may have felt like it, we were not all at risk. We were not all unsafe. But we are all responsible for joining the wider conversation about racism, about white supremacy, about who we are as a country, and what’s actually going on.
I walked through the airport this morning and saw Muslim people going about their day in fear, including one woman that I and a couple of others sat with while she cried. I thought about how they were in fear as their community has been attacked, and how they would also be in fear if the perpetrator had been Muslim and the victims random, afraid for themselves and their children due to potential backlash from others in the community.

At what point do they get to rest? Why is everyone else able to go about their day? Why does the responsibility for such devastating actions by individuals get placed on entire communities in some cases but not others?

The reality is I know why. If you don’t know why, once we have had time to grieve, it might be time for some uncomfortable conversations.

In the mean time I implore you to support our Muslim community through donating to one of the fundraisers currently happening.

To our Muslim brothers and sisters – kei te heke ngā roimata, kei te ngākau pōuri au, ka aroha ki a koutou. I am so sorry this happened to you here. You should have been safe here, you should be safe everywhere. My heart is so heavy.

Ringatoi/Artist: Adrien Tavite

(via his instagram)

And this time no music, but to close off, A poem by Warsan Shire: What They Did Yesterday Afternoon:

what they did yesterday afternoon

by warsan shire

grief-reactionthey set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who use to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered


(More from warshan shire in the New Yorker and on her blog.)

Brexit Revisited v2

Because clicking on one thing inevitably leads to another, here’s a companion piece to Charly’s youtube video.

I understand that Brexit can be the source of all kinds of negative emotions – frustration, anger, betrayal, confusion, etc., and for this reason, a nice round of relaxation with yoga might be in order:

To be quite honest, it’s supposed to be funny, but at this point, I’m far more ready to cry. Or laugh-cry, at the very least. Deep breaths, I suppose.

Here’s some more meditative music: