In Two


I: The Birds

I wanted to know where birds go in a storm,
how nature battens her dear ones down
in times of necessary turmoil
when she can longer suppress the urge
to discharge and flush herself clean
of burdens borne daily, clearing tangles
of detritus from her moss-laden hair;

Then just as my thoughts transmitted words
through these keys (and believe me,
I was lucid), the mynahs began their scolding,
assuring me they were close, refuge secure
in the backyard I planted for us all
in the lee, and I didn’t see evidence
of shaking heads and ruffled feathers
buffeted by winds and tipped with beads
of cloudburst, but was comforted
in their sheltering.

II: The Lava

I needed to witness molten rock flowing
to the sea, journeyed on further south,
trudging miles upon soles knowing purpose
far better than reason how to keep
this body safe, feet trembling uncontrollably
upon rocks holding fire just beneath crackling surface
while I, partnered up with a zoom, captured
shots just like this as I ached with the knowing
that such miracles and more will soon vanish
from view when my eyes renounce vision
to the nebulous Beyond.



38 thoughts on “In Two

    1. Maybe we’ll discover it one day! I lived in a forest for 34 years and could hear them, but wasn’t able to spot any. Likely because of the drops of water falling into my eyes! 😉 Enjoy your day, David! Thanks for commenting ❤

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  1. I very much enjoyed this. The contrast of the hiding of life so delicate yet masters in survival, against the extremeness of molten lava, one of natures most damaging and unforgiving wonders. I hope you are having a wonderful evening Bela!

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    1. Thanks, Swarn! Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, life is replete with contrasts, but I’m telling you nothing you don’t already know. I’m pretty intrepid, but I kid you not, my feet were quivering walking over those hot rocks. When Chris could finally pry me off the (cool-ish) cliffside rock where I sat taking pictures, it was nearly dark. On our way back to the gravel path, we saw the glow in the rock fissures. Yikes. And people were oblivious – taking babies and kids all over that area, despite the fact that some have died on that lava. One potbellied guy was roasting marshmallows with a raft of kids surrounding him. He was loudly bragging to any and all with ears to hear that one of his shoes was burned to a crisp – as he held it aloft. (My life is one thing, but isn’t it incumbent upon parents to actually look after for their offspring? Ugh – people!) If you ask me, best to respect Mother Nature. Pele, especially. Enjoy the rest of your week, Swarn! 🙂

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      1. Couldn’t agree more…Walking around lava is dangerous business…not for children. I’d love to get close but only if I could be certain of the safety…and with very (emphasis on very) thick soled shoes! lol

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      2. Yes…well armor won’t help you there either! lol I don’t know if you watched Saturday Night Live in the late 80’s they had this short recurring segment called “Deep thoughts with Jack Handey”. One of them sticks in mind well:

        “If you ever lose your keys in a stream of molten lava, forget about them, because man they’re gone.”


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      3. I loved SNL, but it petered out for me after the old cast died or left. And we were without a TV back in the late 80’s on Molokai. We didn’t even know about the Gulf War until returning to the states! Still, I’ve seen some funny episodes. And no sh*t … keys, anything, seriously. It was like, well, if I die, I die. I can accept that, go into my zone, burn up, if that’s how I have to go, okay. But if I slip and burn up my legs, for example – well, you know, these thoughts did cross my mind – would I reach for someone to pull me out? Hell, no. It’s like half-truths. There’s something completely unsettling about half-lives (and -truths). (And I don’t mean in the way of isotopes.) Cheers!

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  2. I have always thought that birds have been endowed with self-protection plans that are well illustrated by the migratory birds. How they fly in groups when the sun is setting affirms they have a language of their own! Loved that ‘scolding of mynahs’ Bela! I have heard bird-talk, which conveyed that two lovebirds were complaining and cooing they missed each other, speaking at regular intervals as if they were conversing and asking where the other bird was last night!
    Is ‘Lava’ imaginative or did you actually see it flowing? It must be a spectacular sight!! Wasn’t it hazardous?
    Wonderfully penned pieces! Have a blessed week. 🙂

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    1. Aloha, Balroop, glad you’ve heard birds coversing, for I’m certain they do. And yes, mynahs scold! Chris calls them the crows of Hawaii :0) Very similar in many respects. As for the lava, oh, yes, we hiked miles to get to it and then over said hot/hot rocks to get to the cliff face where I took the photos with my Canon. I took many really amazing shots. Have discussed the journey some in the above comments. Scary stuff, dangerous, for sure. But oh, did it pay off – wow. Just nothing like it, almost defies description. My youngest daughter is an ace photograher and so loved the photo I shared here that I thought it would be a good single image to post. There were many. Enjoy the rest of your week! And blessings to you, dear Balroop ❤

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  3. This is really exquisite, Bela; it somehow has the feel of a perfect orderliness and clean precision about it, notwithstanding the tentative and precarious nature of the scenes described. Perhaps that sense I have of it came from the work being a sympathetic reflection of what you called your ‘lucid’ (heightened) state of mind? Danger sharpens the senses? Many congratulations on this very fine work. H ❤

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      1. Oh, the PS! 🙂 Gosh, I’d have to ask Chris. I can measure a room and use a CAD program to redesign it, but distances usually baffle me, as does time (though I know how to look at a clock and show up when I’m supposed to – otherwise, I don’t measure it). Will get back to you on this one! I do know my 30Xzoom was able to capture this and other amazing shots from a distance. xoxo

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    1. Well, dear one, I can only say whatever and all I observe is a reflection of the sum totality of how I came to be in this world. I so appreciate your kind attentiveness to the nuances I perceive. My mistake, some might say, was to assume others perceived likewise when I was younger. Enough odd glances and cold shoulders and I zipped it up, only to unpack it again many years down the road. I wonder if all (most?) children come in this way and allow cruel gestures and words to shut them down, though I don’t understand how one could completely submerge certain knowing. At least I was unable.

      As for the lava adventure, good grief, the insanity of attempting such a thing. But we were literally compelled to the extraordinary unfolding of it (as were and are many others). For me danger, if anything, dulls the senses – it’s my inclination to shut down and seal myself into my inner sanctum; to survive by minimizing. Only later I am able to emerge with reflections such as this. Funny enough though, I rally completely to the danger of others. If you were in an accident, you would want me by your side. I know what to administer, who to call, how to attend. Strange, the paradox, only it is not me who is in danger, or if I am, yours is greater. That’s all.

      Many thanks as ever for your comments, Hariod. ❤

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      1. Thankyou Bela, for this lovely response. When you speak of perception and its assumed uniformity, then I was immediately reminded of something the spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti said towards the end of his life: “I’m not sure a single person has ever understood what I have said” XD And I also recall walking in the countryside with a friend the day after one of our first lengthy silent retreats. My friend kept describing the sights on a sort of macro-level – the skies, the distant trees, the horizon, the whole panorama – and was inviting me to affirm their newly lucent (immediately post-retreat) perception of the world, and how magnificently vivid everything now appeared. And yet I wasn’t getting that at all, because I was completely in thrall to the sensation of my feet rolling, heel-to-toe, across the earth, the intimacy of the sound made as I stepped on a twig, some leaves, or some loose stone, the lightly-salted scent of the ocean breeze, the way my shoulders advanced forward and backward in an elliptical pattern, each in opposition to the movement of the advancing leg – all things I’d usually have ignored. My point is, we both agreed we were having a wonderful experience during the walk, and ostensibly that experience was identical, and yet in actuality the two were of a very different kind, almost as if two different worlds of perception. Anyway, I suspect you’re right and that as children – but often as adults too 😉 – we simply have no appreciation that our perceptual apparatus is constantly being moderated by our predispositions and conditioning, that we unwittingly overlay a template of Bela-ness or Hariod-ness upon what comes to pure perception (big subject) and which then gets conveyed to consciousness as if that same consciousness were synonymous with the immediate environment and our own being. I think philosophers call that Naïve Realism, don’t they? So, the task is, if we’re curious, how to allow in more pure perception? It seems the only way is to become tranquil, and to allow attention to completely absorb into what is attended to. That, for me, is the difference between mindfulness and concentration – the latter holds the object at arm’s length, so to speak, fixating thereupon it, whereas the former merges and absorbs into the object, such that subject and object disappear, and what remains is pure perception, unmediated by my Hariod-ness and my suppositions of existing outside of the beholden object. At this point, one then sees that experience is indeed fundamentally the same, as awareness isn’t delineated by time and space, is neither mine nor yours, but rather is something we share in, but each from a different perspective. I’ve been rather long-winded here – apologies dear Bela! H ❤

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      2. Hariod, you bring up some good points here. I can well sympathize with Krishnamurti’s struggle to find a common language with those to whom he would impart wisdom. I love what I’ve read of his work, so it resonated with me, for sure. Then again, I live in at least two worlds at once 😉

        Your perceptions about mindfulness vs. concentration are bang-on, at least for me. I cannot imagine how anybody can live in a noise-filled environment and truly tune into the subtle nuances of the nebulous. Though doubtless that is their challenge.

        I can also completely sympathize (damn z’s!) with your plight vis a vis the silent retreat’s aftermath. To expect any of us to perceive in like fashion is akin to deciding that my diet is THE way for ALL people to eat. It’s a complete fabrication of an ego based mind. If each of us is an expression of the One, of god evolving, or however one might describe the Mystery, it would necessarily be quite different as to the methods by which we interpret perceptions. I love your kinesthetic description, your re-membered bodily awareness(es). Whereas your fellow retreatant experienced more visually. Yet both were clearly extra-ordinary.

        What I’ve discovered is that sometimes I hear/feel, other times I see/feel. Other times I simply feel. Or that’s as close as I can get, really, to describing these extra-sensory experiences. When I spent time (30 years, more or less) counseling people as a Medical Intuitive, I strove to encourage them to lighten up and simply flow into whatever channel/s of perception opened it/them self/selves to them, and not to compare themselves with others, most especially not me. I wasn’t one of those teachers who craved a following, never have been.

        Anyhow, luvvie, cheerio – the husband is calling me to lunch. Do take good care, and deep thanks as always for your kind and thoughtful and deeply considered feedback. You contribute quite considerably to my great joy in the blogosphere (which I resisted for quite a long time). ❤

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  4. I have seen shows on TV about the lava flowing into the ocean like that. Great shot! I, too, have wondered about the birds but as active as they are they are certainly getting their sleep somewhere. Great pics! 🙂

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  5. I love observing nature, especially the birds too Bela, and often when a storm is battering the trees and shrubs think of them with head under wing perhaps.. It is always amazing how they are taken care of, and still come out singing when the rays of Sun once again create rainbows..
    I marvel too at the bowels of the Earth at her inferno glow as she belches out her steam and fiery lava flow.. On a visit to Tenerife one time I was awe of how the landscape was scarred from her still active volcano that from time to time gives the residents an alarm with her deep rumbles.

    I would imagine too that walking so near to the lava would be quite dangerous.. Rather you than I, but as you say, you only get that one moment.. And I expect it will be one moment that will stay with you for a long while Bela.

    Is that your painting Bela.. If so it is outstandingly beautiful in its capture of the magic of land in the process of creation.
    As I said on my last post, painting is what I need to get back into, I need a little more patience and will soon put aside part of my day to enjoy my art again..

    loved the colours that are always generated with your posts Bela..

    Loved your post Bela.. Hugs Sue ❤

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      1. Aloha, Sue – time to breathe now 😉 If I don’t get to town (45 min away) early enough, I miss out on the veggies I really want. My tenure with chickens was instructional, but they dug up all my veggies. At the time, I thought, well, I can buy for us and they can eat what they find. But the didn’t eat so much as they just enjoyed digging through it, killing the vegs in the process. Now when I try and plant them, the bugs chomp them down, so I really need to do some raised beds. Always something! As you no doubt know. My fruit trees, however, are thriving!

        As for painting the lava, no – this is a photo. I’m a charcoal pastel kind of gal, and do decent enough portraits, but haven’t in years. No inclination. I do love photography, now I have a good camera with a 30X zoom. Allows me to photo the unsuspecting 😉

        Thanks for your appreciation of my well chosen color schemes! I love this theme, though it has its drawbacks. But color isn’t one of them. Posts always look different this way, and that’s fun for me. Enjoy the rest of your week-end, and many thanks for taking time to comment! I know you’ve been (as they say in Maine) wicked busy! Hugs back, sweetie ❤


  6. This post combined with the pics, reminds me of the legendary “phoenix”. Anyway, I often wonder where birds go when theres inclement weather? Sequoia’s? Caves? South of the border?

    The juxtaposition of wondering where to go hide when life messes up(the birds), and then needing to be feel free and have a emotional release( Lava flowing) is very balancing and peaceful.

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    1. Mahalo, Vinny, for visiting and taking time to comment. I appreciate it! Yes, it’s interesting, is it not, to ponder where birds go in inclement weather … And yes, the bird story and the lava tale just struck me as though they were meant to be two sides of some coin. Thanks for illuminating it further 😉 Aloha, and hope you come back soon!

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      1. Hi. Ive wondered that for years.

        Thanks, I just wanted to try and interpret it for my own sake. I had no clue what was going on at firsr. They are definitely two sides to the same coin( Yin & Yang)

        Ill definitely be back. Bye for now

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  7. Hi Bela…beautiful photo!!! How amazing that as we just experience Hurricane Matthew we heard that sometimes birds get caught in the eye of the storm…they learn very quickly that they better travel in that eye or suffer the consequences of deathly winds…so birds that may have started out in poor, devastated Haiti, could now end up in South Carolina!
    I hope you are well dear friend!! ♡♡

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    1. Aloha Lorrie, and thanks ~ I am well and appreciate your kind words. Interesting you bring up the eye of the storm – a place where, paradoxically, calm resides, and where small creatures might be conveyed to other worlds! Hope you are enjoying your Saturday ❤

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