Saturday, February 5, 2011

Down By The River . . .

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What a crazy few weeks it has been. January is usually a quiet month at the straightjacket factory. But somewhere in the middle of the month things started going haywire. We got an order for 200000 straightjackets from the Ministry of the Interior in Tunisia. Then a week later we got another huge order for one million straightjackets from the Egyptian Bureau of Internal Affairs. This is the equivalent of our usual annual production. This explains why I haven't been around to your blogs these past several days, nor updated my own much. I've been busy trying to outsource subcontracted production of straightjackets from Haiti to Malaysia to China. We've had inquiries from the governments of Yemen, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. We were already doing brisk business with most of the industrialized world, where, for reasons at present poorly understood, more and more people are losing their marbles, but this latest round of collective upheaval caught us by surprise. We will of course rise to the challenge. We cannot allow people requiring the protection of a straightjacket to go un-jacketed. It's going to be a very good year for straightjackets I believe. Let's uncork a bottle of bubbly now to celebrate, what ?
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In the meanwhile, to try to clear out the mind the other day, and forget about the madness for a moment, la Grenouille and I set out to take a very quiet walk down along the banks of the Oise River, despite the bitter cold of a winter afternoon. We had barely stepped out of the house when I spotted a lifeless bird at my feet, camouflaged against the brown gravel with his brown feathers. The victim of some violence I fear. Most probably a cat.
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We got to our setting off point by the river, and took a quick look inside the lobby of the Hotel de l'Oise, which I'd never set foot in before, although I did a post about it a while back, which you can see here. In the vestibule there was a framed copy of a story which appeared in Paris Match magazine in the spring of 1991. The caption under the photo of Jim Morrison explains that the Oliver Stone movie about the Doors would soon be released in France, and mentions that 20 years previously, on June 28th, 1971, Jim and Pamela Morrison sat at a table in front of the Hotel de l'Oise, in the town of St Leu d'Esserent, and drank a beer. Five days later Jim died in the bathtub of his Paris apartment. So it's been nearly 40 years that Jim has been sleeping in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. His music lives on.
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The river was oblivious to all, was just minding its own business, that of flowing, reflecting light, murmurring.
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On the path along the river's edge, a magnificent dog came racing toward us at an unbelievable speed. It turned out to be a Spanish Greyhound, which are much larger than plain Greyhounds. He had certainly the longest nose and longest neck I ever saw on a dog. I thought he might be part giraffe. He'd make short work of our cats I suspect.
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A navigational aid for river traffic, could maybe help riverside walkers also navigate the years of their lives.
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I don't know what the botanical name of this plant is, but it is quite common in these parts. With the setting sun behind it, I stopped to take a closer look, and was simply floored by the beauty in its curving forms.
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Nature goes to such incredible lengths to produce seeds and the means to spread them far and wide, on the wind, or clinging to a passing animal's fur. "Wildflower seed in the sailing wind..." !
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No, nature never ceases to amaze, with her subtle forms and shining light.
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I wouldn't want to forget a visit to James' Weekend Reflections to present these tree trunks on the water, for whatever they may be worth. Nothing fancy.
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50 comments:

mythopolis said...

Bravo, lots of food for thought here, and wonderful images. Well, I am glad strait jackets are moving briskly, but frankly, only two are required. One for each of the so-called leaders of Tunisia and Egypt. I love the shot just showing the rippling water in the river. Reminded me of a Dylan song,

"People disagreeing on all just about everything, yeah
Makes you stop and all wonder why
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
Who just couldn’t help but cry
Oh, this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow"

What a beautiful dog! Here, there is an effort going on to rescue greyhounds from the world of dog racing.

Jim Morrison, Janice Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix all bit the dust in their late 20s. Let's round the number to 27. 2 + 7= 9. Square root of 9 is 3, who died way before their time.

Owen said...

Hey Mythman, You are the earliest of early birds today, guess you were out just watching the blog river flow along... amazing how it flows and flows, constantly fed by millions of people hunched over their keyboards, murmurring.

For sure, that was a tragic time for great musicians... who had so incredibly much left to share with us, but just couldn't stick around any longer here.

Too bad it is not a large number of people who decide who needs the straightjackets, instead of a small number of loonies... And will the new boss be any better than the old boss ?

Owen said...

"If I had wings and I could fly,
I know where I would go.
But right now I'll just sit here so contentedly
And watch the river flow"

Catherine said...

what a beautiful sequence of shots - i especially like the one of the surface of the river...

Pat Tillett said...

Several nice photos and little stories. I especially liked the Jim Morrison photo. thanks!

lgsquirrel said...

Please warn me if you get a large order for straitjackets from Malaysia.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

If you ever find out the name of the plants, please pass it on. They look like something one of the great fashion houses would make into a hat. Trust me, they would sell.

Mary Ann said...

I really love the colors in the dogs fur. Such a lean animal.

The fluffy seeds are also striking.

And that is the only picture of Jim Morrison that I've ever seen in which he looks vaguely preppy.

I'm glad you're blogging again, but don't let it get in the way of the straitjackets. Priorities first.

The Sagittarian said...

Oh, I fear my marauding warrior moggie may have slipt off to France overnight and assassinated that bird (either that or he was nearby...we were presented with a barely breathing sparrow the other night, poor wee thing died in my hand half an hour later)

Good to see you are being gainfully employed, straightjackets must be the new black!

Stickup Artist said...

Wow, you've caught it all; life, birth, death, degeneration and regeneration! It's simply amazing what one can find on a walk with eyes to see and a camera to share. I love those fluffy plants. They remind me of a mini fireworks show or sea creatures. It is wonderful how natures' forms are so interconnected. Great post and a great read!

Steve said...

Owen, you've managed to make winter and a dead bird seem sublimely beautiful and the world a precious place despite the sheer number of straitjackets that are currently being freighted about the globe...

Marie said...

Very beautiful photos. I like people who like nature and its wonders.

Elisa said...

It seems like a very nice trip ;) I like those river photos and of course those plant photos too, and the dog and.. ;) This plant looks so funny and beautiful at the same time. In Finland this kind of old plant in snow is called 'talventörröttäjä' ;) Have a nice week!

the fly in the web said...

I think the plant is a clematis...as children the seed heads were called 'old man's beard'.
An odd co incidence because I saw something like it from a bus window while in Nicaragua last week and it started me wondering what Nicaraguan kids call it...and what pant it actually was...and how the hell do I stop a bus to take seeds!

TechnoBabe said...

This is interesting about the rise in straight jacket orders. The photos are all good, but my favorites are of the Spanish Greyhound. Wonderful photos of the dog.

Mimi said...

There are a few people here in Ireland who could do with straightjackets, tho I fear it's already too late..(:
I hate it when dogs run towards me, so would not have been at all happy to meet that guy.
But I do love that filigree plant, it's so delicate and gorgeous looking.

James said...

Thanks for the tree trunk reflections. I tried to capture a similar shot this week but the sun hid behind the clouds just as I was about to shoot.

ρομπερτ said...

What a thoughtful measurement of time and life.

Wishing your week to wear only good and kind days.

daily athens

p.s.: Many thanks for your thinking comments.

...louciao... said...

"wildflower seeds sailing in the wind"...excellent birthday party music to help one burn off some of those Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake calories. Also, I adore that seedy picture!

Looking for Siddhartha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Looking for Siddhartha said...

so interesting and beautiful your pictures of today. I'm still amazed that people are so mad about Jim Morrisson... (is it his voice that attracts that much?).
The still water and the plants fill me with inner peace.
What a nice and wonderful dog!

Have a nice day, dear Owen!

Renée

'Tsuki said...

I'm trying very hard to not relate the increase inquiry of straightjackets in Egypte to the present political events... Very hard.

And, as I'm failling, I'll focus on your pictures.

On the first one, I really doubt this death is a cat's work, since the eyeball are missing. Look's more like a crow work on some animal random natural death...

The last pictures are awsome, especially the seeds ones...

Nice contribution to our little weekly contest, your Oise reflections... It surley brings back lot of memories, since I lived a few years in Pontoise...

Owen said...

Catherine & Pat, many thanks ! Glad you enjoyed...

Owen said...

Dear LGS, well, we just go an order for 25000 from Kuala Lumpur, I'm not sure that that is enough to be too concerned about... yet...

Owen said...

Hi Oakland, someone suggested it might be clematis gone to seed, but I'm not sure that's an exact match, though it might be something related. I typed "clematis seed" Google images, and they look a little like this, but not exactly, so I'm still wondering. But I agree with you, they could be very decorative on a hat...

Owen said...

Hi Mary Ann... he does look a bit preppy there, with that sweater over the shoulders, and it could almost be a button-down shirt... maybe he was trying to camouflage himself, like a chameleon... he was the lizard king, right ?

And yes, absolutely, priorities are priorities ! Strait jackets before blogging. And thanks to your comment here I only just now realized that there are actually two spellings for strait or straight jacket in the dictionary. I'd never noticed that little foible of the English language. It's choices like that which could drive a person to needing to wear one...
:-)

Owen said...

Sister Saj ! So that was your moggie feline that's been running amok and terrorizing all the birds 'round here, and out hissing and howling at night on the fence out back ? I was heaving beer bottles out in that direction but that didn't seem to deter it...

And straightjackets have traditionally been white, but maybe we'll have to try a new black model ! It will make them harder to see in the dark !

Owen said...

Dear Stickup, I guess every day should have a bit of birth, a bit of death, life, regeneration, renewal, decay, new growth, spring, fall, winter, heat, burning, music, dancing, meditation, yes, all of that, and more... "it's life, and life only..."

I too thought of sea creatures for the fluffy seeds, like starfish...

Owen said...

Steve, but winter and dead birds are sublimely beautiful... did you ever think otherwise ???
:-)
And yes, we must hope that the world will still be a precious place, even after all the loonies have beeen wrapped up tight in straightjackets, if we can get them all wrapped up, before they do irreparable damage to the planet... It's our world too...

Owen said...

Hi Marie, thanks so much... and well then, if I'm lucky, you may just like me a little bit...
:-)

Owen said...

Hei Elisa, I tried to use the translator to translate 'talventörröttäjä' from finnish back to english, but it wouldn't give me an answer. Then I put 'talventörröttäjä' into Google images, at it came up with a lot of results, but not quite the same plant it seems. But many thanks for introducing me to this wonderful word, now if I could just hear how you say 'talventörröttäjä', then my happiness would be complete...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Fly,
Well, I'm wondering if it is clematis, or something related, the images of clematis seed on the web seemed similar, but not quite an exact match. And yes, that is the problem of travelling on buses and trains and the like, one can't stop wherever one wishes to. How many times I've gone by scenes seen from a train window, and wanted to go back !

Hope you had a fabulous trip to Nicaragua...

Owen said...

Hi Techno B... Just in case, I don't really work in a strait jacket factory, and any references to strait or straight jackets in these pages are strictly fictional. Having said that, for anyone who reads the news at all, it should be evident by now that the number of people needing strait jackets in this world is growing exponentially, and I thereby deduce that the basic economic principle of demand and supply must apply to strait jackets the same way it applies to crude oil and cocaine and the like...

And indeed, it was a most marvellous hound...

Owen said...

Hi Mimi,
I'm afraid Ireland has no monopoly on people in need of a strait jacket... but it would seem that the Irish have had more than their fair share of troubles over the years. The roots of hatred run too deep in too many places. And are hard to pull up...

I admit I had a moment of apprehension when we saw that hound racing toward us, but there would have been no escaping it. Fortunately he was a most friendly creature, and just wanted someone to praise him for being such a fine runner...

Owen said...

Hi James, you are most welcome, sorry to hear the sun went hiding at a crucial moment. It's hard to get reflections when the sun is not cooperating.

I was in Paris today and found a few reflections... had to stock up a little for future Weekend Reflections !
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Robert, I never pictured a week getting dressed up in various kinds of days, but I will now, thanks to you. You are very welcome, thinking is what it is all about...

Owen said...

Hi Lynne !
Well, I'm a sort of seedy kind of guy, so it is to be expected that I take rather seedy pictures.

Now, if you are burning off some of the chocolate Amaretto cheesecake, does that mean you actually went ahead and ate some of it, before I got there ???!!!

Oh horror of horrors. My goodness, I was all ready to leave, and we were just taking off in the private jet, when a whole flock of pigeons flew right into the motors, making a massive pigeon pie, which sort of stalled my travel plans ! Guess I'll just have to go off to bed and dream about chocolate Amaretto cheesecake. Hmm, I could type that over and over here, and maybe I could almost begin to taste.

Oh well, guess I'll just have to settle for the chocolate moose of the la Grenouille's making... which disappeared faster than you could say, "you need to learn how to spell the moose of chocolate moose correctly..."

And yes, perfect birthday music that...

Many happy returns of the day to ya !

Owen said...

Dear Deleted, ah, a most tantalizing remark, it is often what we cannot see which intrigues us the most...

Owen said...

Tag Renée,
His voice may have been part of the attraction, but I think it was his poetry which really appealed to a lot of people on a fairly visceral level.

"The Crossraods
a place where ghosts
reside to whisper into
the ears of travellers &
interest them in their fate"

His grave in Paris is one of the most frequently visited sites in France. I guess the myth is very much alive.

I also found the fluffy seeds very peaceful, something very soothing in their gentle curves, their dancing in the breeze.

Owen said...

Hi 'Tsuki,
Well, there is at least a fictional connection between strait jackets and Egypt; I tend to extrapolate in somewhat exagerrated, facetious ways from time to time. So you know the Oise ? Pontoise is a little further downstream from where we were, at St Leu, where there is a lovely basilica on a hill above the river. As for the deceased, demised bird there, I suppose he will take his secrets with him to wherever he has flown off to.
Thanks so much for coming 'round...

...louciao... said...

"Chocolate moose" is the Canadian version of chocolate mousse (or the French, mousse au chocolat), which mustn't be confused with la mousse acadienne (which is peat moss). Just thought we should get that cleared up. Wouldn't want you eating dirt, let alone moose poo--which bears an uncanny resemblance to chocolate covered almonds!

jeff said...

Tu y a mis une grande poésie... pour une fois...:)
Très élévateur comme post !

Ciao amigo !...:)

Louis la Vache said...

Great shot of that rusting-out post war Chevy in your masthead photo.


«Louis» thanks you for visiting San Francisco Bay Daily Photo.

Jessie said...

Absolutely stunning photos Owen, although I'm not sure about the navigational aid declaring my age! ;)

K'line Bloom said...

Bonsoir Owen,
Je suis totalement hypnotisée par ces plantes duveteuses...plumes végétales...qui flottent et dansent !
Bises :)

Pastelle said...

J'adore te suivre dans tes promenades pleines d'humour et de poésie. Quel plaisir ! Sauf l'oiseau mort, mais bon...
La plante que tu as photographiée est une clématite des haies, et j'adore aussi ses fruits plumeux d'hiver. :)

Nathalie said...

C'est bien une clématite, j'adore ces rubans duveteux. Très beau portrait du chien (le premier) et de l'oiseau mort.

Dee Newman said...

Owen,

It seems too many of us spend our entire lives drifting along like a cork on the river of denial. And, as Twain said, "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt." It seems to flow everywhere.

I love the photos of that greyhound. Our cruel exploitation of them makes me sick. They are such gentle and intelligent creatures.

Roxana said...

wonderful, i can't tell which pics i love most, i was thrilled by the dog compositions, they are excellent - but then the water reflections are so delicate and romantic, and those fluffy flowers against the sky took my breath away...

Roxana said...

ps. and the first image is so sad, so sad...