I have been insanely occupied, and as a result pretty silent here, but several things have come to my attention in this past week that feel too magical to not share. So this will be a lumpy post, but one that will lead you to several fantastic places. On we go:
ONE: A blog I’ve been following, Yew Tree Nights, is written by a wonderful artist named Jodi Le Bigre, who at the moment resides in France. She has, each day this past week, written about a particular part of her amazing journeys across the world, sharing photos of spectacular landscapes, hidden but miraculous human endeavors, and little jewels of histories and mythologies. For example, she takes her readers through the incredibly mossy cryptomeria forests of the island of Yakushima, where she hiked to visit what is possibly the oldest tree in the world...
...to the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, where signs of hope and the will to peace have been gathering since as long ago, possibly, as the 1300s. During the Soviet occupation, these crosses were flattened by bulldozers several times, and their pieces covered in sewage, but still, the gathering grew and grew, added to in very risky nighttime stealth maneuvers, and continues growing to this day:
(Note that each of the larger crosses is also covered in smaller ones, for example necklaces.)
And also, she presents the Laotian Wonderland of Bunleua Sulilat:
Each of the posts is filled with photos and history and her own musings, and each is a fantastic experience, so don’t stop here...
As I mentioned, she is an artist herself, and she chronicles her artworks on the blog as well:
TWO: Also, I have come into contact with a photographer named Pete, who goes by the handle PurpleCactus on Red Bubble, where you can buy his prints, and who blogs here.
Pete takes magical photos of the natural world, and also creates his own worlds:
which he often writes stories about...
He just put together a slideshow of some of his exquisite photos with an incredible piece of music, Gambrinus, by Loyko. Here is the slideshow, to tantalize you into a visit:
THREE: And, finally, a project I took part in, the Kooky Pets Workshop on Koldo Barroso’s imaginative and fun site, has culminated in a book:
This book was created over the past year as part of an internet collaboration by followers of Koldo’s blog. During a particular week, we would each come up with an aspect of the new character, and then Koldo would lock himself inside his head to figure out how those traits could come together into a single character, and he would write the story of his or her personality. For example, we have here Smokey Bookie:
...about whom Koldo told us, “His real name is Misty but he likes to be addressed as Smokey Bookie. “Smokey” because, when he uses his capability of vanishing away like a ghost, his fluffy tail becomes smokey. “Bookie” because all he likes to do is to read Western books. He’d like to be a famous cowboy like Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane and ride horses in the Wild West, but every time he gets excited he just starts vanishing away in foggy cloud of smoke.”
Smokey Bookie can thank me for his cat-head (specifically lacking cat ears), although the particular smirkiness of his smile comes from Miss Jody, and his vanishing act was provided by Amir... Koldo infused this creature with his childhood love for the wild, wild West, making him very special...
This book will contain a surprise for me, when my copy arrives, as I am a character in it! Koldo created a mirror-existence for those of us who took part in the ‘discovery’ of these creatures, as a team of scientists, explorers, and intellectuals. Ah, but we are also mites. That is how we study the creatures, you see. We hide on their bodies, so as to ‘watch them in microscopic silence,’ in their natural habitats. I, myself, am a Professor and Magician mite. Buy the book, and see a side of me neither you nor I have ever seen... :D