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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Holy ground

"...And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,..."

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

IN DARKNESS, at the east edge of Smith Lake, I pushed the canoe off the ice rimmed shoreline into the cold dark water and headed west. An icy whisper of wind stirred up a train of wavelets that gently splashed against the bow and retarded my progress, but the paddling kept me warm. In those moments of transition, as the sky lightened, and the trees began to murmur, I recalled the words from the creation myth that my particular culture endorses.

"The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light".

I turned the canoe around and stopped paddling. I floated in the middle of the lake and watched the sunrise. I thought I could hear the earth turning.

The wind scribbles patterns in the lake as if it were a finger-painting. In the space of minutes, the water's character goes from spastic to languid. I wonder if the author of the creation myth ever had a canoe.

Turning back around, I see the sun has painted the barren trees with fire. As I draw closer, I am reminded of yet another mythic story.

"And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed."

I know about myths and metaphors. I marvel at the complexity of life as accomplished by the cumulative effects of natural selection. I am sensitive to the beauty of patterns elicited by speeding photons striking the back of my eyes. I even convince myself that I recognize the difference between fiction and truth, that I know the difference between narrative stories and news. Yet some stubborn superstitious, story-telling part of me wants to tell you that in the magic hours of a Saturday morning, I saw a bush that burned without being consumed.

Text and Images copyright scott dietz 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013


"Earth's Crammed with Heaven."
Showing at
The Academy Theater Lobby
during the month of July

7818 S.E. STARK ST. PORTLAND OR, 97215

See a movie for $4.00 and as a bonus,
see scott's themed exhibition...

This turns out to be pretty hard to describe my photography exhibition theme.

Most often it turns out long winded.

So, in an effort to make it simple, I'm going to relate an experience that got me interested in photography in the first place.

Hiding in the tall grass at the bank of a channel connecting two small lakes, a friend and I lay watching an industrious beaver tow a dressed log through the water to the foundation of its growing lodge. My friend was so close - she reached out mischievously and gently grabbed the log, and held it in place... and for an instant an increasingly irritated beaver engaged unknowingly in a brief tug of war before identifying the unlikely source of its frustration.  Becoming wise it scolded us by slapping its great flat tail on the surface of the water. It disappeared beneath expanding concentric ripples. In the distance, its kin also slapped the water, telegraph fashion, relaying a warning in a similar expanding network.

Moments like these seem to be... worth sharing.

I had been privileged to witness the culmination of nature's marvelous handiwork. In this case, a particular species of rodent - slowly crafted over 75 million years - performing remarkable feats of engineering.

It led me to the conclusion that I needed to get a better camera.

Because sometimes, you just stumble into places... or moments, where the world is beautiful... where the Earth is crammed with Heaven, and even a skeptic like me can feel blessings and grace... and perhaps taste for an instant what the world can be.

scott dietz

Images and text copyright scott dietz 2013

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