Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Marian Jordan Lewanowski and MJL Photography

Last week I received an email from Jordan unexpectedly. I've still no idea how he stumbled across Quotidian Light or what about it caught his eye, but whatever the cause, I'm grateful. He sent me a link to his website, and while you're visiting there, I strongly recommend that you explore his gallery. Light holds an inexplicably strong fascination for me, and Jordan's photographs are to Thomas Kincade's (the "painter of light"'s) paintings what Oliver, Kenyon or Nye's poems are to Hallmark's. We're talking no comparison, here, people.

When Jordan asked if I'd be interested in linking to his site, I replied that I would but that I wanted to be able to give my readers more than just a link. He very kindly consented to letting me post an introduction to him and his work, for which I'm very grateful. You'll find it below. Enjoy!

Marian Jordan Lewandowski (MJL) is a freelance photographer based in Europe whose work has been published in various places including the April 2003 centerfold of the internationally recognized American periodical Popular Photography. Jordan describes the photos he strives to take as, “Uncommon, difficult to categorize, on the point of poetry, expressing deepest spiritual values, depicting the coexistence of a man and nature as well as mysticism.”

Because of the high esteem he holds for the natural strength and beauty of reality, the confidence and respect he holds for the viewers of his work, and his trust in and respect for his own talent and skill, almost no PS manipulation is used in Jordan's work . Some of the highlights and reoccurring themes that characterize photos from MJL Photography are as follows:

Italy-the beauty of this Mediterranean country.
Poland-and thestrength of wonderful uncontaminated nature.
New York, Manhattan - energetic places
Van Gogh - his madness in colour
Old Dutch Masters of 16th century - their use of light and tone,
Poetry - notably the English Romantics

Jordan also has a solid appreciation of universal Christian values and has involved himself in numerous voluntary organizations as well as Students' Christian Societies. He writes, "...I consider life to be a meeting - a meeting with God, with other people--Christians and non-Christians, with God present in nature ..The most beautiful thing that a human being can experience is the possibility of true dialogue; my website is such an attempt--my private but open dialogue with the world, with other open-minded, sensitive people ..."

JML is the author of a book of poetry and photos dedicated the mystic Rome, entitled Roma--Citta Aperta (Rome--The Open City).

One question for you, Jordan, when you read this: where can we find your book?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Why Having Children is Fun: Reason #456

A couple of nights ago, our younger daughter came to me holding the side of her face in her hand and said that the Christmas tree had "whacked" her on the head. I pulled her into my lap making sympathetic noises and cautioning her about being more careful in the future.

"Remember when Mommy bought that Christmas tree and brought it home? Well, I got it on sale. It had been a display model, and the store had to get rid of it, so they put it on clearance. There had been a problem, you see. Every time little children would walk by, this tree would try to bite their heads off. So you have to be veeeerrry careful to not play too close to it and tempt it."

I love kids.

(They taste wonderful!)

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Great Golden Sun Cat

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His given name is "Schuster", but "Schuster" hardly a fitting name for a beast of his dignity and ferocity. Thus, "The Great Golden Sun Cat" or "The GGSC", for short.

The Hummingbird Story

After the last post, Seeker and I Wonder asked to hear how I came to hold a hummingbird in my hand. Simple story, really. One got trapped on my parents' back porch, having flown in through an open door, I assume. I thought it was a large bumblebee until I heard it chirping as it flew into the windows that line two sides of the porch.

I was unsuccessful at shooing it out, so I got one of my mother's large tea-towels and caught it , then gingerly transferred it into my hands and carried it outside. Once caught, it didn't struggle, even when I took it out of the towel. Instead it watched me with bright, interested eyes, chirping occasionally and cocking its head to see where we were going. It flew free when I opened my fingers.

Another bird story: A couple of springs ago I was reading in the bedroom when a resounding WHACK on the window interrupted me. Birds often fly into our windows in the spring and early summer, despite efforts to deter them. Usually they're only stunned and recover fairly quickly, but this time I noted the Great Golden Sun Cat not far away from the feathery inert body on the grass, so I went outside to intervene. As the GGSC hurried closer, I picked the bird up. It was alive; I could feel its heart against my fingers. After awhile it opened its eyes but still couldn't get to its feet, so I stood there by the rosebushes, the little grey bird with the black mask in my opened hands and the cat rubbing around my legs until the bird could (and enthusiastically did) fly away. Afterward, I looked it up. A loggerhead shrike.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Five Random Facts

Michael tapped me to list five random facts about myself and then nudge five more people. I'm going to follow his example and make them all facts you wouldn't know from reading QL.

1. The earrings I wore for our wedding belonged to Great Scott.

2. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot using only my teeth and my tongue.

3. I twist my hair when I'm preoccupied or tired.

4. I once got my brother to climb into a tractor tire and then rolled it down a fairly steep hill toward a road.

5. I have held a hummingbird in my hands.

Nudges: Jennifer, Meg, Grumpy Teacher, Dawn, and Teri.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Buckbrush---A New Trend?

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Buckbrush. I love it: its humble height, the arc of its slender branches, its persistent brightness against the neutrals of late autumn and winter. It grows in fence rows and along the edges of wooded areas. This particular sprig was growing near the creek where the trees begin to give way to the openness of the fields.

I am no photographer by any stretch of the imagination But yesterday I took a long walk with the camera, a walk which yielded a great many pictures, and to my surprise and pleasure, Great Scott actually approved of a few. He told me to start blogging some of them. So for what it's worth, here's a glimpse of why I walk where I do: in the woods, in the fields, on pond banks, and alongside creeks. If you enjoy the pics, I'll likely keep posting them. Otherwise I will allow words to suffice.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Friday Quote: From Under the Tree

Found under our Christmas tree on a gift, in eight-year-old handwriting:

To: The Queen Dragon
From: a tendir morsl

(Yes, I know it's Sunday, but better late than never for a Friday Quote.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bundling Up

This morning Great Scott surprised me bright and early by saying, "You're not going to believe this, but school is cancelled." Outside in the near-dark, I could see only a powdering on the dark grass. He had to be kidding!

He was, in fact, not kidding. Schools for miles around have cancelled, although we aren't supposed to get much snow, and what we're in for isn't supposed to be snow of the "sticking" sort. Perhaps some cancellations are due more to cold (supposedly we're in the coldest midwest December on record thus far), with temperatures below freezing and due to continue dropping all day.

It's not been unusual to see students without coats when I pick the girls up at the end of a frigid school day, and Great Scott tells me that when he's asked students, "Where's your coat?" they often reply that they don't have one. Sometimes it's just high school students who are too "cool" (literally!) to wear a coat, but often enough these kids really don't have winter coats.

The school nurse told me one year that she loves it when people will donate warm winter things to her office. She can hand these out quietly to the kids who need them most badly--the kids whose parents can't afford even thrift store clothing but are too proud to ask for help, the kids whose parents just haven't bothered to notice how cold it is or what their kids are wearing, the kids whose parents are cooking meth on the kitchen stove and have no interest in what their kids wear to school or even if they're going to school at all. It happens. I've seen them. I've known them. I've had them run to me and huddle under my coat for warmth and a quick hug at the end of the day before climbing onto their bus, even though they know me only as the mother of one of their friends.

So...just a thought...if you have any kids' outgrown winter wear, or if you know people who do, bundling it up and making a quiet offer to a school nurse may just save some little fingers, throats, ears and bodies from painful cold this winter.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

If You Were a Character in Beowulf...

You scored as The Dragon. Ancient, chaotic, and a bit mysterious is the Dragon figure. Awakened from your happy slumber upon a pile of gold, you go about the country slaying its occupants. Beowulf manages to kill you, but not before you ensure his death. Congrats.

The Dragon












Grendel's Mother


If You Were in Beowulf...
created with QuizFarm.com

Maybe this explains my favorite online video game of all time.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday Quote: On Writing and Accomplishments

"Writing is only writing. The accomplishments of courage and tenderness are not to be measured by paragraphs."

---Mary Oliver
"Sand dabs, Eight"
Long Life