Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

June 21, 2013

CREATION


... bear with me, there's a point to this ...

... yesterday my motorcycle and i made a little wandering down to pemaquid point ... all of you know that it is one of my favorite places, and as much as i get to enjoy it all by myself off-season, equally i take pleasure in visiting when the flat-landers are swarming and i can share in their new perspectives and appreciation ...

... the bands of rock in the picture are layers of metamorphosed stone ... simply put, about 500,000,000 years ago there were great mountain ranges running the length of what is now the east coast of the united states ... although taller and more rugged than the current rocky mountains, still wind and water and time slowly wore them away ... their great heights were eroded and carried by streams and rivers to become layer upon layer of mud and sand beneath the dark, cold sea ... over time, million and millions of years, these layers of soft stone were compressed, and, as the continent floated around atop the fluid magma upon which it is buoyed, the thousands of feet of sediment were folded into a great arch, as if you were to take a full edition of the new york times spread flat in front of you and, with the crease in the middle, push the edges of the paper so that the fold rose towards your face ... then, again the result of wind and water and time, imagine that the thick folded crease closest to you was cut away, so that now all you could see was the new exposed edges of the paper ...

... to further complicate things, you're probably asking, "okay, but what is that white rock in the middle, the stuff that if i went to pemaquid i'd find is much, much harder than the dark stuff on each side of it, and isn't in neat, tidy layers" ...

... go back to when you were pushing the paper from the sides ... further imagine that there was a pot of boiling oatmeal beneath the pages, and that as the center of the newspaper was arching upwards the oatmeal was also flowing up between some—but not all—of the pages ... imagine that at some point a great gush of hot oatmeal had so much pressure that it formed a wedge of sort, and actually pushed apart the layers pages of the paper ... that after it did so it hardened in place ... the "oatmeal," or, in real life, "crystalline pegmatite granite" (that's hot, molten rock from way down deep in the earth), is much, much tougher than the layers of layered schist (be careful asking your students to pronounce that one), so it tends to weather more slowly ...


... but ... but, even for schist that when you stub your toe it takes a month to heal, granite so hard that if you strike it with a hammer the face of the tool is likely to shatter, there is no permanence ... wind and water and time, and scrub grass roots, too ... soon—at least, geologically speaking—soon all will be returned to the silent darkness beneath the sea ... and, after that ... after that will be new mountains and prominences and, never changing, the sound of waves crashing upon a rocky shore ...

... as a child i sat in church listening to the minister explaining the creation ... "six days" ... i tried, but even as a part of my brain was struggling to accept his wisdom another of my voices was ticking away points:  "wait a second, how could there be 'days' before the sun lit up," ... "if g*d was so big and powerful, why did g*d need six days, why didn't g*d just do it all in an instant" ... and, of course, "why would g*d need to rest" ...

... later, i'd learn that originally the word used to describe the amount of time didn't necessarily mean "twenty-four hours," as i would also discover that there are those willing to go to war over which meaning was implied by the authors of the ancient texts ...

... bishop usher calculated the age of the earth, determining the creation took place on october 23rd, 4004 b.c. (if i recall correctly, he even figured it down to the exact hour and minute) ... geologists and astrophysicists, counting spinning electrons and measuring the movement of distant quasars, calculate the universe to be 13.77 billion years old ...

... now, in these times, it is a controversy so emotionally divisive that you can determine where you are in the united states by inspecting the curriculum of a school's science program ...

... i just don't get it ...

... if it's inspiring to think that an infinitely powerful and timeless entity created the universe in a very short period of time, say, six days, then how much more inspiring it is to think that an infinitely powerful and timeless entity devoted 2,920,000,000,000 days towards doing so ...

... i remember handing my book report to ma, "what do you think" ...

... "it's good" ...

... i relaxed a bit ...

... "put more time into it, it'll be even better" ...

... to stand upon the shore at pemaquid, listening to the laughter of the tourists providing chorus to the song of the waves pounding against the rocks, this pulsing of the sea simply one movement in the symphony of time, and then to know that the faint whisper of my breathing is equally a part of the music, to comprehend that i am both infinitesimally small and yet so infinitely important ...

... not so long ago, as the rocks would measure, on a beautiful afternoon off the reef of a far away tropical island, i had a conversation with g*d ... it took me a long time to understand it, or, better put since i'm still involved in the process, understand some of it ... i do know that g*d said, "patrick, you have to figure out for yourself" ...

... so ...

... me, and you, and pemaquid, too, i figure that if there is a plan we're all wonderfully a part of it ...

RESTORATION

... ma's dear friend, barbara, asked me if i could "fix up" this photograph of her parents ... i actually enjoy doing this sort of work, so i gladly accepted her request ...

... about three hours my nose to the computer screen, of which over half the effort was dust spotting ... for this project i decided to keep track of the number of steps in photoshop's "history" ... 1,114 different filterings, including tone and contrast curve alterations, clone brush corrections, and spot "healings" ... i also tightened the composition a bit without losing any of the image or altering its 8x10 proportions ...

CLICK ON THE PICTURE AND IT WILL OPEN FULL-SIZE, THEN USE THE LEFT-RIGHT ARROWS TO SWITCH BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL AND THE RESTORATION

... i'm always amazed when after an hour or so of working on images like this, often zoomed in to the point that i'm correcting image imperfections the size of a human hair, i begin to feel as if i know the people in the picture ... in my mind i start to write little stories about them ... i know absolutely nothing about this couple, of course, but after connecting with them through the transcendental magic of a photographic time warp this lack of knowledge does nothing to prevent me from wishing that they were as happy as they appear, that her future turned out as bright as the look in her eyes, that he was as warm and gentle as his smile ...

... i know, pure foolishness on my part, but, i suppose, that's the whole point of being hopeful ... after all, how sad would be our lives if we couldn't every once in awhile give the world a most foolish embrace ...