Rise Again

Born out of a moment of joy
A soon to be mother and father
Ahoy, a random boy to destroy
Another “I” for the slaughter

Awoken open 45 years ago
Fallin’ a sleep ever since
No flow while pushing the scuffle hoe
The very thought makes me wince

Humanity is not to blame
Victims themselves of a broken being
Playing the same lame game
Clouded from that which is freeing

Searchin’ for my-self in this existence
Double my effort before the clock runs out
Persistence in my resistance no matter the distance
This continuous battle arouses doubt

A reality under my control
External influences attempt to breach
Kicking my soul into the ole dark sink hole
These are all just figures of speech

Watching thoughts run through my head
A feeling the corruption can be reversed
The dragon’s head not dead but realizing instead
The false belief of constant thirst

Yesterday’s but a thought
Tomorrow’s make-believe
A mind fraught with a taught plot
A clash of conflict you will weave

Rise and notice with conscious attention
Thinking patterns that are scattered
The ascension to a dimension observing the tension
Realizing the NOW, everything else shattered.

-Geary LeBell

The Bathtub

bathtub-field
Photographs taken at Legacy Vintage Building Materials in Cobourg, Ontario.

Distant echoes are all that remain of my life before being torn from the place I called home. The cool ceramic tile floor, dressed to the nines in polished chrome fixtures in a home kept toasty warm with wood heat. My pristine appearance was always a going concern. Of the few families that bathed in my presence throughout the years, the one that makes me smile both inside and out when in my thoughts were a young couple, deeply in love. Being a permanent fixture in what you could call an “intimate environment”, you get to see truth in people that they normally don’t reveal to others and it was plainly obvious that these two were in it for the long run. During our fifteen years together they had a child and I was witness to some joyous, although messy times; you know kids… Many times I wanted to come out of the closet; so to speak, reveal myself, communicate that I care for and appreciate them, but could not allow this. Their awareness would jeopardize my position in the home. I mean, think about it. Who would knowingly embrace a supernatural presence in their company? And so the years past, the silent poltergeist observing but not interacting.

bathtub-ghotThere was no reason to suspect this renovation would be any different than the two before. The sink, mirror, floor and once, even the walls were taken away and replaced with more modern accompaniments. I was witness to all. My completeness shattered, then renewed as I got to know and love my new ensemble. Like a wise old man, with iron bear claws firmly planted, I commanded respect and held the room together through thick and thin. Then, came along a new owner. I knew something was amiss as I observed the main upstairs hallway through the bathroom door transform from a timeless classic into something foreign. I felt a darkness and distance growing between us. Towards the end, it was somewhat like being on death row; caged with no escape; knowing my end had been slated.

When dreaded day arrived, there was no question that my reality was about to be reluctantly redefined. The renovation, although, I prefer the term “massacre”, seemed so much more brutal; maybe because it was happening to me this time. The free standing iron pipes that fed me water were severed with indifference. I was stripped of my chrome fixtures, dragged and toppled viciously onto my side without regard. All I could do is lay there powerless and witness my world be ripped apart. The journey down the stairs, across the foyer, and out the front door was surreal, reminding of the same journey 75 years prior, but in the opposite direction; then suddenly, jolted back to reality as they damagingly toss me into the back of a truck.

You know, I thought I was the only one. I don’t remember where or when I was created. My first memories are being unpacked and installed in my previous home. But here I was, in a vintage salvage yard, surrounded by 40 or 50 other similar looking bathtubs somewhat uniformly staggered on an unkempt, weed infested field. The worst part, I was the only tub who seemed conscious. It was like being surrounded by brothers and sisters that had all deceased; an observer to my eternal graveyard. People would walk through and occasionally one of the other tubs would be taken away. I like to imagine that they’re getting a second chance; picturing them all setup and comfortable in their new home. Not me though. The damage to my left side during transport has rendered me essentially worthless.

old-pianoDumped in the snow on a mid-February morning; it’s a coldness never experienced before. Surrounded by the other tubs that are mostly covered in snow; it’s almost like a burial ground. A rough couple of months to say the least, but could there be light at the end of my tunnel? The last snow melts away and the temperature climbs revealing a place full of color and life. My eyes have been opened to a world hidden from me for over 7 decades. The flutter of a starlings wings racing past me to a nest in a nearby weathered piano that stands crookedly on three feet; the field grass grows with randomly placed blue and white followers shooting up everywhere around myself and my silent tub friends. The sound of crickets, bees and the consistent locomotive that passes at the same time every day is a music I’ve never really listened to. The fond memories of my previous home will never fade, but after three seasons of experiencing this miracle of constant change that surrounds me, there’s no place I would rather be. A continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth in all its beauty. Never the same, I am awe struck and thankful for this front row seat to life.

-Geary LeBell

Broken and complete coexisting

baby-buddha-cham-shan-temple-niagara-falls
Photograph taken at Cham Shan Temple in Niagara Falls, Canada

Last weekend Irene and I were in Niagara Falls, Ontario looking for something “non-mainstream” to do. Tired of the usual Clifton Hill trek, Irene took to Google to see what we could find. Turns out there’s much more to Niagara then the typical Falls and shops that we usually frequent. Several options to fill a few hours were quickly revealed, but ultimately, we decided to visit the Drummond Hill Cemetery and Cham Shan Temple (Ten Thousand Buddhas). The cemetery is the burial site of Laura Secord and was also the location of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane between British and Americans soldiers in 1814. The Cham Shan Buddhist Temple on River Rd. is a 7 level complex on a 3 acre property. If you want to view inside the temple though, you’ll need to visit between June and October for one of their guided tours, as we found out. Photographing the exterior is OK, but you cannot bring your camera inside the temple or main building.

So the car is parked, the camera is out and we start our unhurried and observant walk through the entire property. I’m not sure how busy it gets during “peak” season, but going this time of year there were almost no people around, plenty of space, time and peace. Needless to say, I took many photographs, which I’m sure you’ve seen on my social accounts or website.

While exploring I came across a small baby Buddha statue (see above). Just slightly larger than a hand and resting on the corner of a sizable solid base that held another larger Buddha statue. It caught my attention because it seemed so out of place. Similar bases were located all over the property, but this was the only one that had a baby Buddha resting on its corner. Then I did something I shouldn’t have, I touched seemingly solid statue with my finger; ever so gently as to not disturb it. The interesting thing is, this article wouldn’t exist if I had not touched it. As my finder came in contact, I noticed movement in the right arm. As I inspected closer, the small statue was in fact broken into several fragments. A strong wing, a person accidently bumping or carelessly touching the small statue is all it would take for the pieces to separate and fall to the ground most likely breaking into even more pieces.

There was a great deal of symmetry that day. Buddha statues, dragons, the architecture of the Cham Shan temple all perfectly aligned and fascinating, but it was the out of place, broken Buddha statue I’ll remember the most. A solid stone sculpture that could fall apart at any moment over a delicate nudge and interestingly, there’s someone here to pick up the pieces and put it back together. My memory of the small broken stone sculpture can be accredited to the individual who gives their time to put the pieces back together. I find myself wondering how long has the tiny Buddha been broken, how many times has he been reassembled, how long has he been sitting peacefully on the corner of that concrete base and the really intriguing question, will he be there the next time I visit? I hope so.

Thank you to the person who demonstrated coexistence of broken and complete.

Dog of Carnage

dog-of-carnage
Photograph taken in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

As you can plainly see, my vacation to Puerto Plata in took a turn for the worse when encountering this aggressive beast of a dog. The solid iron fence structure barely contained this ferocious monster; I swear I could see the bars starting to bend! The owner, a deceptively delightful little old lady did nothing but sit there and smile as I stood traumatized, shaking camera in hand, praying that this savage killer wouldn’t end me where I stand.

Friendship Poem

only a path when traveled
this moment defines direction
looking back it’s unfolded
inside, a time for reflection

friendship connections mature
separate beings becoming one
occasionally a brewing storm
lightning strikes, we’re done

created from a genuine place
evolves into something more
drifting into the distance
can’t get back to shore

pieces fall aside
an incomplete puzzle
no matter what we convey
feels like an awkward muzzle

communication is key
vulnerable without guard
honest and true to oneself
lead a life less scarred

-Geary LeBell