Photographer, Tsuneaki Hiramatsu

Summer flashes
like so many fireflies
blanketing the woods of our days
and then flitting away
even the last sparks we have cupped in our hands.
The brightest moments, the cleanest water, the sincerest prayer
are all things that rest momentarily in the hollow of grace we make
with our palms.
Life is a constant pattern of beauty retreating, flowing
like water, like the breath that utters the prayer ascending,
like ephemeral light bearers leaving
with the assured expectation of all that beauty
(can it be measured with palms curled like leaves ready to unfold,
can it be measured with all the curled palms in the world?)
being invoked again. — Annette Marie Smith

Leaping Into the Day

“Distorted Gravity” Series by Photographer Anka Zhuravleva

We are salmon.
We are birds
We are butterflies.
Our gills flutter, become feathered wings
then gild translucently
into mariposa stained-glass windows,
holy eyes, marvels painted
we carry on our backs.
Our backs, in turn, are horse,
are steed (no one said unicorn
oops, there I guess I did)
our means of standing up
to life
to make the leap that lets us soar
metamorphically/metaphorically. — Annette Marie Smith

Alex, magic, light and love

heart of the sea
Image via Lena Clark Duncan

I lost a friend recently to death and I have been thinking about the conversations I will never have with him now (he was a great conversationalist), how charming and debonair he was, how smart and handsome and also how strange to this world. Always a little odd and different, someone who dabbled in magic and elegantly flaunted magic’s accouterments and props: a cane, a hat he wore with style, tarot cards and even batons of fire to spin flame through the night in feats of juggling.

He was a gentle soul and always, to me, he seemed to be searching for something just out of reach, always out of reach — even with all the many ways there are in this world of reaching for things.

This photo makes me think of him, blue for the magic and the sea for enchantment, and the heart shaped rock for the way that he will not be forgotten, will always be loved, by me and by so many others. I will always think of him restlessly turning like the waves of the sea and reaching like the light shining on it for something ineffable but most assuredly there. — Annette Marie Smith

Sunday Things: After the Storm


Friday night the rain didn’t fall vertically, it poured horizontally like a crashing river along the banks of the night. It carried many things away in its violent arms.

I found this nest Saturday afternoon. It speaks to me of the fragility of the places we feel safest, our nests, our homes. But it also carries the music of enduring things in its intactness. Its mud was still wet when I touched it, still wet and still holding it all together.

There is also this: the bird that lost this nest was not trying to get it back but was busy with birdsong that wove a nest of promises above my head, not of safety, not of things remaining the same and all unchanged, but of another day, of how there are always more sticks and mud and if you are the right kind of lark you will sing to your (new) nest as you build it. — Annette Marie Smith

Red Chairs, Green Heart

Photo via Jim Pennie

“These chairs were laid out for a wedding in 1939 in Poland. The wedding was abandoned, and so were the chairs due to the German invasion. They were found again after the war with the trees growing through them. Every year they are repainted.” — Jim Pennie

And the trees decided that they would celebrate the wedding (that wasn’t) in their own way and they would commemorate it with verdure and sway. They would hold the empty chairs in their rough arms, would dance with the wind, drink champagne rain and eat rich chocolate-earth cake frosted with fern icing sprinkled with flower petals.

They kept their word and when the couple returned so many years later they were saddened and gladdened at the same time to see each guest’s chair entwined with living tree, a rare place reserved in the seat of the dark forest’s heart.

It was then that the tradition of painting the chairs began. They paint them every year, red as pomegranate seeds, red as a bride’s hot cheeks, red as blood and the hearts (literal and metaphorical) that blood always seeks like the river it is continuously serpentining to the sea.

It is said that the wind has written his name on every chair and that those who were meant to sit in them hear stories whispered personally to them, when Monsieur wind bestirs and visits them. — Annette Marie Smith