“It is important to know a landscape intimately.
Be married to it.
See it every day.
There is always something new to be seen.”
A visit to a forest burned in Nova Scotia in 2008
JERRY KATZ is a Canadian writer, artist and founder of Nonduality.com and the discussion forum, Nonduality Salon. He also co-organized the first Science and Nonduality Conference and edited the seminal classic, One: Essential Writings on Nonduality. In his previous feature on the site, Let the Scene See You, he outlines his creative processes through the art of taking digital pictures of the surrounding landscape of his native home.
In this month’s guest post for The Culturium, Jerry puts his philosophy into practice by documenting the juxtaposition of death and life in the aftermath of a forest fire in a series of stunning photographs and a meditation on the rejuvenative qualities of the natural world.
ON 13TH JUNE 2008, a forest fire broke out near Porters Lake, Nova Scotia, destroying two houses, damaging several others and burning six thousand acres of forest in total. The fire was believed to be caused by a campfire and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police laid no charges; however, it was determined that residue from Hurricane Juan fuelled the fire. The fire was the largest in an urban area fought in Nova Scotia and the largest fire in 30 years.
Titles suggested for the above photograph:
“Slender Prayers” —Amrita Nadi
“Ascending” —Victoria Svoboda
“Scriptures from the Firelands”—Bev Byrnes-Laird
Scriptures from the Firelands reminded me of when I was 12 years old.
I would go to the synagogue on Saturday mornings because I had to.
I felt freer when leaving the house of worship.
That freedom felt more like God than the God prayed to in the synagogue.
Walking home, I would see that the leaves on the street
and gum wrappers in the gutter
were pages making up a Torah I understood.
Another page of the Crazy Torah I read as a young boy:
Seeing every element in nature as letters making up the Hebrew Torah
is taking every fork in the road at the same time: slender prayers.
Fire-sculpted trees are what I am
I am the burnt forest
… both gone from the world
and supporting the world at the same time.
A path leads into the darkness of the burnt forest.
I meet the three friends.
Through the single path leading into it,
I leave the burnt forest.
- Jerry Katz: Let the Scene See You
- Jerry Katz: A Simple Life
- Ron Rosenstock: The Invisible Light
- Ansel Adams: The Search for Beauty
- Roy Whenary: Open Awareness
- Danila Tkachenko: Escape
- Andy Richter: Serpent in the Wilderness
- Laura Emerson: Deep Sea Contemplation
- Gabriel Rosenstock & Ron Rosenstock: Haiku Enlightenment