Monday, October 1, 2018

The eyes can tell so much and when you see it you know that something deep inside is going on.  These African eyes linger on in my mind as I came face to face with a shepherd boy in Gondar Ethiopia.  Over 6000 feet up, alone, with a few friends and some cattle he was tending was all they had.  But something was there, something that the developed world could never take away in its purity; its innocence.  I found his stare, glaze and curiosity worth capturing.  In my upcoming book, he will be there along with many others from East Africa.  They are children that will go unnoticed unless someone stops and allow curiosity to linger for more than a passing moment along the road to or from Axum.  Such a far and lonely road of past kingdoms and forgotten peasants and the poor.  But in that moment, you know that much of the displacement by other means only matters to those who seek power and greed.  But to this young man and the other shepherd, they have their mountain, peace and serenity behind the scarfs and blood shot eyes.  Somehow they know that being alone is so much more valuable than the noise far away.
If you ever travel to Lisboa, Portugal, you will notice fairly quickly the vast levels of street life and art surrounding downtown.  The artist come alive near Alfama and Belèm art district.  Even though they are just a short distance apart, what I recognize is that there remains a story to be told beyond Portugal's past.  The old town leads by cobble stone and depreciating steps that take you northward towards St. Jorge's Castle.  This area borders the musical chirps of Fado's tenor during sunset dinners within earshot of the acoustic accompaniment of the street artist.  Every so often you can hear Samba, or Bossa Nova from a traveling Brasileiro or a visiting Angolan who will gladly dance to a diverse style of kilapanda, zouk, semba, kizomba or kuduro, courtesy of Portugal's reach in to ancient Africa.  The mixture is breath taking and for the photographer in me, I found it uplifting and exactly what I was searching for.  Lisboa reminds me of Madrid, Rome, Prague, Budpest and Bucharest all at once.  I seen their faces, moves, tempo and desire all before; the beat moves with unabashed guilt.  The vibe and vibrations of late night curiosity does not disappoint but yearns for more if not in the next city square; maybe Porto or Madeira Island.  When you seek out your common spirit, you find it in kind and there is where you know you shall ever remain. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Madeira is more than just a destination.  Its a continuum for me. The 3300 miles of airspace is nothing for the Wanderlust at heart.  We do it all the time.  If not with our feet, certainly with our mind. It's way over there somewhere, closer to Africa than Portugal; closer to Morocco than Spain. I once went to Ascension Island near Angola but that is about as close to Benin (the home of the Dahomey people) as I have gotten.  Nothing there but tuna, rough seas and the bluest ocean you ever want to see.  Umm, I really want to get to Cape Verde someday too but now I am rambling; back to Madeira. 

Its more than just wine for me.  Its about the journey, the excitement, the people. Lord knows I have met my share, and they are all genuinely different, diversified, transformative, curious, dependent/independent and humble; just like God made us all.  The capturing of growth skills has to be learned and practice to refine most of those qualities of course.  But in the end, humans (i.e. homo sapiens) are born with everything needed to survive except instincts (only animals have mastered that). You see that coast line above, who would not want to eat on those terraces/cliffs of blue, green, aqua, turquoise and verde.  I know I do.  I have seen many but they each have a different story with a glass of wine; maderia in this case.  Serve that with a dose of acoustic freedom and an Atlantic breeze coming up from Cape Verde and you have the picture perfect summer afternoon.  That's why we travel, thirst for the over the horizon expectation and share words of tomorrow with the world.  There are a few of us, only a few.  The rest, well they hope and dream and imagine what could be. 

My final thoughts before I go on this journey, to remember that the journey awaits all of us in the best of our season.  Life is superbly fair, it cheats none of us in relatively to our own space and time.  What is given to me was given to thee and so on.  What thouest do is up to you and the setting sun.  You'll never find me waiting on another to decide to venture out on the moon for I will have already watched the north star arise over the East for guidance. Let us begin now and meet in the end having discovered the meeting place we seek. 

“We should take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.”   Seneca