“It is true of the most beautiful flowers ~ in a flash of power and life, they rise up from the ground, burst open their silky petals, releasing an intoxicating miracle pollen into the skies for the admiration of bird, bee and man. The epitome of vibrancy, of vivacity, and of ephemeral beauty. Then, one by one their petals fall, back down to the ground; their stems wither and snap in the wind: a perfect marriage between progress and decay. Once again their magic is gone, sinking down into the earth, stirring root and worm.
But some of the rarest flowers are denied such a temporal existence. They are plucked in their prime, firmly pressed between sheets of glass, or a decent book, pinned down and forever frozen to time and nature. A beauty immortalised and held…”
Words are a wonderful thing. Memory is a wonderful thing, especially if it is expressed truly and simply. We shouldn’t dwell fully on the past, for sure. But I think to walk through its scenes brings no real harm from time to time, providing it is not a great distraction for the waters of present; of the mind. Still, for all these things, I would say that some things are better said without words… some things are better left to the unspoken melody that exists between and binds all tangible things.
Recent times have given me the chance to swim a little in that great wide pool of remembrance, and, especially, to move a little through my time in India ~ a strange, wonderful, and wholly mysterious land. I spent a few months walking hill, city and jungle, back in time. I remember it well! It was my first trip shooting digital (beforehand I had been living in Italy as some of you loyal readers may recall, shooting on my old film camera all those classical scenes). Italy+Film to India+Digital was quite a jump back then…
It was spectacular! I feel sick, excited, alive even writing about it now. The memory is so strong. A pungent scent, fresh and overpowering, like the strongest pollen of the most exotic flower. So many photos from that time! Many I have never shared. So… I do so now, in a series of posts from the ‘archive’ …a few pages that never saw the light of day, or were lost at the back of this Aesthete’s tattered old diary. Recomposed together now. A little sonata. A simple pictorial love letter, a tribute to India, from my heart.
et lumina florum
of Flowers and Lights
“What was hard to bear is sweet to remember.” — Indian proverb
Take your time. Drink each scene in, and find your own narrative…
“If your mirror be broken, look into still water; but have a care that you do not fall in.” ~ Indian Proverb
Above a Hindu priest leaves his shrine. One of thousands of photos I took wandering alone around the backstreets and neighbourhoods of Bangalore, Karnataka. The vibrancy of life in these places is unfathomable. People here are alive, seemingly more aware of life’s jewels, treasures of existence; closer to the fragility and very fabric of time. When a man has less to hold, he is more freely able to give…
Sitting on the rooftop of the house I lived in for a little time in Bangalore, Karnataka. I used to love watching the hawks flying by above my head, the cacophony of hustle and bustle rising from the streets below, the bells of the temples and call to prayer seemingly every hour or so. Cows and goats, buyers and sellers, children playing cricket, stray dogs, mopeds, bicycles, rickshaws, dust, heat and dirt. There was a beautiful Jain temple on the corner of my street. I would often walk around, barefoot, just to feel the cool, richly-carved marble mosaics beneath my feet. I never saw a single Westerner anywhere in these areas. Not one. In weeks and weeks. I realised I was more than just a tourist, or visitor here, when one night during heavy monsoon rains, I was the only nutjob running carelessly through the streets, leaping over puddles and piles of trash, when suddenly I hear my name being called from among the crowds of people lining the streets taking shelter under the shopfronts. “James, James!” – it was an Indian friend of mine beckoning me over to take shelter too. I did, briefly, before convincing him to join me and run through the streets wildly, laughing as we went. Outwardly it is chaos, inwardly, in the pools of my soul, it is an entirely different existence, a peace which passeth all understanding. 🌹
I travelled so much this land, chasing its many beauties; its flowers and lights…
So many things, feelings, I could never put into words. One day I will sing them to you… My pen will make sweet music, of devotion, of life… of Truth. Do not doubt the lips of the heart… Let your body be humbled, and your life be the richest song. If I told you the full truth of my life, you would not believe me… You would say ‘he lies’… But one day I pray you will be ready. My dear soul, do not believe your own illusion! Do not seek yourself in the world. Seek the world in you… Find the oasis in your spirit, and forget the mirage. All true travellers know the perils of mirage… it leads to an endless and unquenchable thirst.
Some stories are better told not so openly, but… in beauty, simplicity and love. A secret kind of devotion, visible to all, yet understandable to only some…
As always, I hope my art inspires and entertains you, my dear reader. My intention is always to share what I have seen, simply and from my heart, to show parts of the world and cultures perhaps unknown or unreached, and to share and enlighten with the wisdom that has been laid before me, on this long and fascinating journey. Of course, this global disaster we have all faced recently has been devastating to many people across the world, and I myself have lost someone very close to me, have been unable to work and travel, which has left me in a bit of a tight squeeze. It has been a tough and yet somehow enlightening time, let me tell you! As I am sure it has been for many of us.
Somebody recently told me, “once you expose yourself to the Light all the inner shadows are revealed…” how very true?!
I am of course keen to get back on the road as soon as I can, to once again document and share our wonderful world with you all, and others. I always said I would keep this website free for all until I reached a readership exceeding 10,000… we are nearly there my friends! Which is wonderful and exciting. Although, right now, I am pretty sure I will continue to keep most content on this site free and accessible to all (I may begin doing ‘premium posts’ in the future, but we will see…) If any of you have means to help me keep this dream going, please donate to Diary of an Aesthete by clicking here. Perhaps you are unable to help yourself, but maybe you know somebody who can… then please pass on the link. Any donations made will go directly towards exciting and inspiring future travels, to updating my camera gear so I can start to make proper little films for you all, and also towards administration fees for this website, which, being so media-dominated, is expensive to run !
But don’t worry my friends! God has us in the palm of His hands. Our only worry should be to not roll off… there is always a will, there is always a way. The Journey lives on.
God bless you all! Comments and shares are always appreciated. I love interacting with you all when and wherever I can. It is truly a beautiful and inspiring thing for me to read through the comments across this website, and to connect with your souls. Take care my friends. This life only ends when we stop breathing… sort of. Take heart and do not be afraid of what man can do in the world. Be more afraid of a world without God, a life without Truth and a race without Love.
As always, I can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
And you can connect we me on Instagram here for more regular updates.