3-26, 27, & 28. Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday

Weather over the past five days has been uniformly glorious: highs in the high 70s to low 80s and lows in the mid 50s to low 60s.

The New York Times Travel magazine on Sunday featured some remarkable photographs. Look at this picture of dragon’s blood trees on the island of Socotra

Just an incredible photo of nearly extinct trees on an almost unheard-of island off the coast of Yemen, for goodness sake. Where is Socotra?

Just south of the Arabian Peninsula and east of Somalia.

Another story in the same magazine was on the Faroe Islands, that archipelago of islands halfway between Iceland and Denmark. The accompanying picture is a remarkable feat of composition. The clouds conveniently provide an upper frame, stop just at the top of the island of Koltur (population, 2) but shroud the two mountains that bound the valley in front of the viewer. Leading the viewer’s eyes out of the frame is the river, tinted blue. The natural backlight profiles Koltur and washes the color out of the seawater. And the story is interesting as well. So much left to see in this world.

Otherwise I have mostly been working on just plain stuff these three days. Cleaning the garage, taking surplus stuff to Goodwill, heading over to Panera for a bagel and my several diet Cokes. On Tuesday I went to a job interview for a vacancy I applied for half a year ago. I guess the budget for this vacancy just came through. I thought the interview went well but I’ve said that before, haven’t I? If you ever thought age discrimination does not exist, let me tell you some stories.

Netflix Movie We Watched

We watched L’Atlante on Tuesday afternoon. A remarkable movie. Produced in 1934, it stands in stark contrast to the light and breezy movies or self-consciously film noir movies you were likely to watch if you attended the cinema during the 1930s.

Its techniques inform French New Wave cinema of the 1950s and ’60s. Truffaut directly cites the director of L’Atalante, Jean Vigo, as an inspiration for his films. And L’Atalante was filmed twenty years before New Wave hit. Discontinuous narrative, underwater photography, superimposed images all later inspire New Wave directors and their rebellion from traditional narrative forms.

Thinking of the article on Socotra and the Faroe Islands and how attractively they feature these remote places with beautiful photographs and well-turned phrases, this poem by David Ray comes to mind

Costal Farmlet — from Music and Time: New and Selected Poems by David Ray

“A man wants nothing so badly as a gooseberry farm.”
—Chekhov

I want a costal farmlet.
I desire it very much.
I saw it advertised
in the classifieds and I presume
that coastal means our land
comes right down
to the sea with the whitecaps
lashing romantically, and farmlet
means we can grow
gnarled trees on our headland
and let sheep roam. It is about cheap
enough for us if we borrow, beg
and steal, pawn a few poems, also write
a harlequin romance or two, and it’s
only 9000 miles from the place
we call home. There’s not much
of a hitch except the Immigration
would not let us stay in the country
to live in our farmlet. But still,
I want it and think we should go
look at it, right now, this moment,
while tangy sweet gooseberries glow.

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