Nell'istante in cui succede qualcosa
Diventa una verità stabilita,
Nessuno può negare allora
Che così il per caso non esista

Nella storia la si vede chiaramente
Questa rete di circostanze
Ben legato è ogni filamento,
Ciascuno porta al successivo

Non è questo il riflesso del cosmo,
La nascita e la morte di ogni stella,
Il nostro microcosmo in piccolo,

E la ragione per cui la vita è bella?

Image and poem © Mirino (with many thanks to a fellow contrarian). 
October, 2014

Digital digressions

Today's digital world seems to have gradually conditioned us to exist in function with numbers. Almost everything is rated and registered numerically. We have identification numbers, account numbers, credit card numbers, code numbers, road numbers, social security numbers, contract numbers, billing numbers, phone and cellular numbers. We are inundated with numbers. The media try to influence us with unconvincing opinion poll percentages regarding our ministers and heads of State who defy the odds in trying to govern us. A numerical order of preference is established of those the Press think should govern us in the future, apparently without ever having learnt anything from their previous disastrous errors of judgement.

When it was once thought that by the nineties everyone would be benefitting from the freedom and technology of having their own private means to fly, we are restricted to our regulated, look-alike, numbered, ground vehicles now full of digital electronic equipment and we must comply to the laws of either crawling along at whatever maximum speed number is permitted, unless we pay the digital toll fee to drive at a faster speed number authorised on the motor ways. There we are digitally warned in advance of traffic jams, road works or digitally measured pollution levels that advise us that we have to reduce speed using a lower gear that will logically (digitally) increase the pollution.

No one bothers to open their car bonnets anymore, because of the unfathomable mystery of digital electronics. When I was young, one could service one's own car quite easily. You only needed a grease gun, a can of oil and a basin to catch the used engine oil. In those days a car had what they quaintly called 'nipples' onto which you would plug your grease gun in order to pump the grease into the working parts and bearings, etc. In certain vintage cars the brakes housed in brake drums were activated by a cable tightened by virtually standing diagonally on the brake pedal with as much weight as possible. When something was 'US', it meant that it was unserviceable. Incredibly it had already reached the end of its lifetime.
There was no upgrading in those days, because most things were built 'to last a life time'. This phrase was often used to promote whatever was built to last, because at that time, the world we now live in, when things are considered old, or out of date, after only two to four years of use, would obviously have been totally inconceivable and considered nightmarishly mad, which perhaps it is.

Thankfully today, in our digital world, there are ironic exceptions to the rule of datedness and upgrading. For example, I have always used Apple computers. One of my Macs is very old by modern standards. It seems immortal.
It has a drive for what were called "floppy disks" now completely obsolete due to their absurdly limited digital content space. It also has a Zip drive, and although still practical, in comparison with USB keys, their content space is also very limited. And this old Mac has a CD drive but it cannot write ('burn') content to CDs. I added a USB card to the Mac to connect a now "old" seven colour printer as well as USB keys, etc. But one has to be careful with the keys. If their capacity is too large for the old Mac, it crashes. It can accommodate modest content size keys, however.
Anyway I keep this old, very slow but ever faithful computer and its heavy monitor, simply because the driver for the printer no longer exists for modern iMacs. And as the results obtained from this printer are very good, there is no reason why I should 'upgrade' it. But this, of course, is also a sign of the times. The constant need or quasi social and professional obligation, if not obsession, to 'upgrade'.  The technical (digital) improvements are realised so rapidly, and often too rapidly (because not enough time can be spent on making sure there are no consequential problems) that one seems to be conditioned into having either a guilt complex or regrets if one fails for whatever reason to purchase the new upgraded digitally improved model after two or three years or so. Then with the new computer one has the duty of upgrading the system for as long as that particular model is regarded as 'valid,' and this also in what seems to be constantly shortened periods of time.

The same applies to automobiles, although more on a four to five year basis, but logically their life span will also be gradually reduced according to digital and environmental developments. The improvements are remarkable, but sometimes one might be tempted to go too far. The new radar devices for example, would drive me balmy, including what could be likened to mini firework displays which are additional, futile digital distractions from actually driving.

To return to the computer. Those who write web-logs (to avoid use of the hateful word) might be interested to know how popular their site is. The page-view counts are thus digitally measured and it's fascinating to note the rising number of viewers in different countries all over the world. There are also sites claiming to be able to digitally grant an order of merit to such sites. I referred to this once before, because most results are absurdly incoherent, and more so as this link no longer leeds anywhere.
Nevertheless many writers of web-logs aspire to reach the top number one. Naturally it would be an illusion, even if one believed that these assessments make sense. For today how long will one remain number one before sadly sinking into the abyss of multiple figures once again? A few hours? Can one seriously regard such assessments (which never correspond with each other) as valid and reliable measures of any originality, talent or art? The illusion of short term fame determined by morons.
Through the history of civilisation, rare is it when art has been accurately assessed for its real aesthetic value during the period when it was actually created. For despite technology we still have to contend with the imperfections of immutable human nature.

Meanwhile the digital seconds of our lives tick by inexorably. It's probable that digital technology could perfect a means whereby our physical condition and subsequent life-span could be approximately determined. For those digitally conditioned or perverse enough to be so curious, individual life duration watches could be made available to be worn so that one could actually vision their life time digitally dwindling away. However, nature always has the last word, which has to include human nature, and like nature herself, the mechanism of the universe is subject to its nucleus of incredibly advanced, ever evolving, subtle mathematics, which would make our fabulous era of digital electronic technology seem too rigid, and relatively insignificant in any case.

Text and images © Mirino. October, 2014


Writing naturally becomes more important for people who can't hear very well. This doesn't mean they need to hang small blackboards round their necks and carry sticks of chalk as a means of communication, but it could be a reason why they feel they are being rudely ignored when they don't get a written reply as soon as they would like.
Deafness has its advantages however, providing one can get by reasonably well with a good hearing-aid. It could even be considered a luxury to have the choice between silence and noise at the flick of a switch. And sometimes, miracles can happen.

For if after years of living a sort of enchanted lie without being aware of it, we finally agree to settle for individual freedom, then start to regain confidence in ourselves, we might be lucky enough to discover that we only have to be ourselves to be appreciated and even loved. And this is what actually happened.

To love a person for herself, and to be loved for oneself, might sometimes seem a rare privilege by today's standards, but obviously it's possible. Comparing such a privilege with any other, less positive, affective experience is pointless, because there is no comparison.

The first miracle was that in this blissful, new found freedom so warmly enhanced with new found love, after years of disillusions and deafness; in spite of the fact that I am totally deaf in one ear, I could actually hear in my 'still in 30% function mode side' far better than I could ever remember, and this even without any hearing-aid.

This remarkably improved physical condition brought about thanks to a new life with a wonderful new relationship, lasted for two years. A marvelous gift. And the fact that the miracle was not to last, by no means reduced its importance.

The second miracle might seem more of a fabulation, but essentially aren't miracles fabulous in any case? It's the miracle last touched upon, effleuré. The impression that with time, instead of getting older, we are getting younger. Is it because life is being appreciated increasingly more?

When a woman is properly loved, comblée et contente, she is ever beautiful. It has nothing to do with age. She blossoms on and on, hors de temps. She goes beyond Shakespeare's famous sonnet. She becomes increasingly desirable and enchanting to the person who loves her. And her beauty, charm and desirability naturally determine and perpetuate her lover's own 'eternal youth'. Thus blissfully they dance on forever in this sublime enchantment.
(In any case this is a far more agreeable interpretation than putting it all down to the ramblings of an incorrigible old romantic, and selenium).

Text and image © Mirino. September, 2014


Plus jeune
Avec les ans

Le parfum
D'une rose
Aussi belle

Hors du temps

Aux nues
De jouvence

  Pour C. 

Poem and images © Mirino. September, 2014

Celestial moments

After a storm when the last embers of the sun win through, they bless the south with a little rainbow smile. That's all, but more than enough.

The following evening promises to be even more glorious. Just before the rising moon is veiled by misty cloud, it seems to indicate the enchantment that's about to begin.

Such fleeting moments are breathtaking. They make you feel small but privileged, and give you wonderful, warm feelings of hope.

When you capture such magic, you feel rich. You know that this is the first and the last time you will ever directly see this. For if you are fascinated by such sights, then you know that they are always totally unique.

Each beautiful, ephemeral poem has a beginning and an end. It is complete and moving in every way.

To look across and into the depths of such beauty is almost like flying. A dream flight between drifting clouds warmly lit by the sinking sun, and mountains softly blanketed in mist.

Slowly, blissfully we glide on in this paradise, above cool, Alpine peaks towards warm heavens of sunlit caverns.

To our left the sky is a deeper, cool azure to contrast with the curling cloud lit up like winter fires that one might gaze dreamily into. Polaric blue and orange determined by the truth of the moment.

Then the ragged, raging cumulous like a great, doomed dragon destined to die.

Or to be metamorphosed into stretched arms of giants, their hands groping to reach each other, arching across the heavens as if to bid a last farewell.

The third and final moment shows the uniqueness of each day's end. The low, humid, steel-blue cloud about to shroud the sun denying it the right to paint the sky crimson.

Some distant cumulous briefly spared, reflects a little warmth, whilst to its left two snarling beasts rabidly tear at each other's muzzle.

The low cloud has won this third day, yet like windswept trees of African Savanna, others grace the sky.
Three successive evenings in the mountains early in September.
Part of what I love so much here. A tonic that puts all concerns in a truer perspective, from celestial stars to twinkling lights of tiny villages in the valleys below. Riches of the mountains that one finds where rainbows smile.

Photos and text © Mirino. September, 2014

De tout malheur

De tout malheur vient quelque chose de bien. One should believe it, because when the "worst" happens: what one has been dreading the most, it would be logical to believe that from then on things can only improve. Or better still, a redeeming miracle might take place so that nothing is lost and that the temporarily blocked project that one aspires to realise is finally, gloriously fulfilled.

For the night after having received catastrophically news, I had a curious dream. A small green shoot grew from my left arm about two inches above my elbow. I plucked it out to discover that it was a lettuce shrub. Another one immediately appeared, and as fast as I could pull them out, others grew. That part of my arm was peppered with little holes, and the little shoots of spreading lettuces were littered all around my feet.

Following this weird episode I squeezed where my arm was peppered with holes and this caused a live finger to come pointing forth for about half its length. It wasn't making a rude sign. It was a finger that would belong to an adolescent. Stupidly I checked my left hand to make sure that it wasn't one of my own fingers.

My mother (who had passed away at the turn of the century) was there in my dream. I asked her advice. As per usual she reassured me. It was nothing to worry about. By this time the finger had gone and the previously peppered zone of my arm had become a squarish hole like a narrow tunnel or gallery that one could peer down into. It was quite long and totally empty. That was when I woke up.

It was a dream and not a nightmare. Was it a mental attempt to come to terms with what in reality could be considered a nightmarish situation? If so how should one analyse such a dream? The shoots of lettuce, if shoots of lettuce exist, were not alien, parasitical or aggressive. Would they represent physically harmless developments previously regarded as being inconceivable, not in the natural order of how things should evolve? Thus the unanticipated shock.

And then the finger. Would it represent the unexpected hand of consequential circumstances? An indication of the helping hand. The hint of a saving personal engagement from an interested party?
And the presence of my mother. The philosophical reassurance that all will be well, come what may.

Finally the squarish tunnel, the long gallery. The unknown destiny. The future devoid of any clue of what it will reveal, apart from its tenebrous vanishing point, which never needs an explanation.

Text and image by Mirino. (Illustration from Alphonso's Dream. All rights reserved). 
September 2014