Funny how the same object can evoke different responses in 2 people. This morning Bill and I went to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art--about a 10-minute walk from our home--to see an exhibit of Todd Webb photographs. Bill loves his work, which spans a good part of the last century. I know nothing about photography as a discipline or an art form, so can't really say much about the details, except that the work I saw today was very urban. To me it was also very depressing. Bill loved it. I find urban environments very stressful and depressing. Bill, with his photographer's eye, sees something worth documenting even in crumbling old buildings. I just get sad. One photo that he particularly liked was a panoramic view of a block in New York City. He was looking at the people and buildings with fascination and interest and I was thinking how awful it would be to have to live there. Other people might turn it around and say that it was awful that I have to live in a place like this. As an anthropologist, I am glad that we all are different and bring different worldviews to the table. As a person, I will take small urban areas in small doses and mostly avoid the larger ones.
This afternoon a friend emailed me to say that she had been going through all of the photos in Bill's "furry friends" gallery at www.pbase.com/mikiruaq and this got me thinking about how much different the process of photography is today than it was back in Todd Webb's day and how much easier it is to share your work among more people. She asked me about a particular photo, so I went through the gallery myself to look at it and I found myself laughing and almost crying as I looked at the sweet faces of the animals that I shared part of my life with and who I still miss a great deal.
I started a book on Zoroastrianism in which the author was trying to cover every possible problem with definitions and power structures and she ended up qualifying things so much that she said nothing--at least in the 20 pages I got through before I put it in the "return to library" pile. It is very good academic writing of a sort that I am quite familiar with and have done myself. Reading this made me first wonder how I ever had the patience for it, and second made me very happy that I am no longer engaged in such things!
Heather gave me an "Insight from the Dalai Lama" calendar. Yesterday's page said, " Buddha's teaching is that you are your own master; everything depends on yourself." Yet another reason why I find such resonance and common sense in basic Buddhist psychology and philosophy!