Best Response

Best Response

There are innumerable accounts in written history and in literature (reflecting the truths of life throughout history) … accounts of abuse and bullying ruining lives.

The accounts cover the gamut from horrors of war, to abuse between identifiable groups as often as not closely related to each other, to religious based hatred gone amok, to scapegoating of all kinds including systemic lies created and augmented against an innocent and even admirable person … lies that ruin the innocent in order to allow the larger group experience some cathartic release of dissonance created by their own internal conflict which is too expensive for them to honestly recognize and deal with (see Girard), to conflict between intimate partners where one, often a high functioning borderline personality which is able to charm others to believing the most horrific lies about their partner bringing the innocent and admirable partner to ruin for actions and despicable behaviours that actually belong to the person with borderline personality.

While our (my family and I, and many others including my ex) faith is Lutheran Christian, a particular faith based on mystics’ and sacramental (mundane made holy by God’s Grace alone) theologians through countless generations, and while our Canadian society now identifies bullying as an unacceptable behaviour and focuses on children, youth and young adults, we are doing very little to name, address and eradicate bullying by adults of adults. And we have not ‘cracked that nut’ because our leaders who could call us to account more likely as not have built their careers on bullying others in order to get ahead, to gain the power that they exercise.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying “Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict.[1] Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Rationalizations of such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size, or ability.[2][3] If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.[4]”

Between intimate partners bullying takes on a very personal, psychological devastation of the victim as the very relationship that ought to be based on unfettered trust and ought to provide unconditional love, while the victim engages in the relationship to provide all of that for the abuser (often as not unrecognized as the abuser by the victim until it is too late), the abuser exercises all sorts of control, projects her own failures on to her victim and makes unreal demands of behaviour of the victim who soon enough recognizes the extreme costs to not complying … the costs are devastating loss, often loss of children, financial security, home, and reputation … and in the end always the loss of one’s own life.

See http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/PFVB1100-men-abused-by-women-booklet.pdf, http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/PFVB1401_men-abused-by-women.pdf, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/domestic-violence-against-men/art-20045149, and https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/women-abuse-men-often-called-abuse-fiff/:

“The ease with which the genders in the piece can be reversed shows that abusive relationships are about power and control, not specifically male or female behavior, and that women use the same power levers, as well as some of their own (such as withholding affection or sex) to dominate their victims. Additionally, in “genderizing” abuse as a primarily male behavior, we minimize and, in a way, legitimize, women’s abusive behavior.”

So we focus on bullying by children, youth and young adults, projecting our own abhorrent behaviours on them in order to exorcise our own cognitive dissonance about our own behaviours that have netted us our privileges and power. And we focus on abuse by men of women, fully denying the devastation caused by women abusing men, women who are more often than not dominant passive aggressive manipulative controllers who exercise demeaning control over their males partners that way too often leads to suicide as the only escape. For the foundational work on surviving the devastating effects of a loved one with borderline personality disorders see STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul Mason, Randi Kreger, and the companion THE STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS WORKBOOK, Practical Strategies for Living with Someone Who Has Borderline Personality Disorder.

While our faith calls us to recognize that each person is simultaneously a sinner (dammed mess of a human) and a saint (a perfect example of God’s grace embodied in a human – but not by merit of the person, only by the Grace of God transforming that sinner into a saint), and as recipients of Grace that makes us able and deserving (by grace alone) to even breath air yet alone enjoy the privileges of life Jesus Christ calls us imperfect yet perfect humans to exercise that same grace toward each other … which means we sacrifice our lives (from small bits to our actual mortal lives) to exercise forgiveness and unconditional acceptance of other sinners in order that they also can hear of and experience the transforming power of God’s Grace for them … while we are called to sacrifice in contrast the people of the world around us, and even many of us, including those with borderline personality disorders, systematically and habitually exercise abuse and bullying against all in their path in order to get ahead, and then falsely judge others for supposedly being exactly what they are.

Caught in the devastation of a borderline personality disordered beloved, and the ensuing scapegoating and bullying that threatens to not only ruin my life but likely end it, how does one, living by Grace Alone, respond?

There is only one response: to live with grace, to live as well as one can, to find Grace and Beauty in each moment in each person encountered, and to live with as much joy and gratitude as possible.

For me, as a photographer among many other vocations and skills, that means to use the equipment I have left (one result of abuse was the loss of my some of the best SLR cameras, lenses and lighting equipment, as well as software) to capture and share beauty right in my ‘own backyard.’

Enjoy with me that these photos are possible, even with a cell phone camera. What a marvel compared to my first digital camera that cost more than three times as much!

On the water with my wife’s canoe, the marvelous item that makes our presence literally on the water possible. While others have yachts and houseboats and ski boats and fishing boats and even kayaks, this simple and relatively inexpensive, therefore possible, possession requires our own muscle power to get it into the water and then our own muscle power to move it across the water … but what a view into the marvels of beauty:

The Boat

Shoreline Trees Caught in the Sunset Light

The Loon of Haunting Cries

(Sorry it’s not with a telephoto lens to capture the loon properly!)

Sunset on the Water

A Rare Selfie: Golden Light on a Face Made Ancient by Abuse and Bullying

Relaxing by the New Fire Ring Properly Made (as we clean up yet another trashed random campsite on crown land.) That’s sand on an area without roots likely below, covered with the sand not 10 feet away and clear of trees above, ringed with substantial enough rocks to contain the fire in a ring large enough and a bit oblong to not necessitate wood laid into the fire also laying across the ring of rocks and outside the ring.

 

 

We bask in a night’s rest in the quiet beside the lake, to the lonely cry of the loon … As the sun rises we wake to the white bark of birch against the marvelous sparkling water of the lake.

Life is good, even if some (many) people simply cannot be even decent yet alone grace-filled. As for me and my family (and all my children), we will live Grace and appreciate beauty.

Hanging Loose, Hanging Tight

Hanging Loose, Hanging Tight

We found ourselves out in the mountains again. Observing the environment of plants, animals, humans, and machines.

The spectacular sights outside our window in the morning make it all worth the effort.

 

 

The expanse of the clouds above the mountains off in the distance as we were nestled in the privacy of the trees on an open field with the sun setting made it wonderful.

 

 

 

And literally taking the kitchen sink, the bed, the toilet and tub, the table, the fridge, stove and furnace, and our clothes and luggage make for an easy waking in some marvelous spots.

 

From a very helpful machinist we got the tip that there were three falls just a few paces off the tarmac. We investigated in a heavy downpour.

 

 

We only found two but these are a combination of human engineering and beaver damming that result in protecting the road from surely otherwise eroding away.

A bit upstream we found another falls and rapids series, and never did find the third as we were soaked and cold.

 

 

But the creamy white and the wild wet rocks played along well, as long as we could hold out.

 

That evening we hung the truck and camper not loose at all but very secured to the side of a decommissioned logging road. The specular light turned the green canoe (another part of the trip) into a bronze wonder.

 

There, on the side of the mountain the wake up out the door view was even more breathtaking and then breath giving, as the sun played with the clouds and the valleys were visible for miles and miles.

 

The dreamy feel comes from the fog laying low on the mountains as fresh rain evaporates to fill the air.

 

The vegetation is lush, framing (sometimes blocking) the views.

 

At our feet daisies and red paintbrush flowers created a carpet of colour.

 

The sky for just a moment even took on the hue of the lush lilac coloured flowers dotting the mountainside in lines and groups.

 

The sunsets were awesome.

 

The light bedazzling bringing the trees to life otherwise not there.

And that is good photography.

Some of all that can be reduplicated with ordinary photos and lots of software work, usually hdr, to try to bring out the light, but nothing works as well as finding the moment the light dances, and being ready to capture it, in order to share it.

 

While I was out I remembered quickly the difference the exposure time makes on water.

Creamy here.

 

Sharp and clear here.

 

A landscape with just one spot of colour.

 

Or a portrait to lose almost all the colour except the one rose.

 

And playing with the focus if you just let the camera do its thing, sometimes everything wrong is in focus and the thing out of focus.

 

So you have to make sure you control what is happening to get what you want.

 

Sometimes the great difference in light levels is just too much and something is lost.

 

And then multiple exposure HDR can sometimes bring the light of everything to be seen in one photo. – But with better software there are better options.

 

Real Beauty

Real Beauty

When I wake in the foothills at the late hour sunrise, and the sun dances off the mountaintops out the window at the foot of the bed I get my camera on the tripod and shoot.

But the delay of that simple preparation allows the light to shift and the mountain is by comparison less than dancing alive.

Looking around there are other light plays to focus on.

But the best of the light is past.

So I decide to make a study of this, having encountered a photo of a young photographer, untrained but able to naturally see and capture and process photos to make them amazing for many around.

I often use hdr software, though I miss the really good hdr software I have on my desktop, to bring out the light in bracketed exposures. And then these images also play better than any of the single exposures as I pull the various light level out to play anew.

 

 

The fun and somewhat surrealistic use of the software is available.

 

The surrealistic leaves one craving a return to planet earth.

I rarely enjoy nature turned into a nightmare, rather a somewhat alternative view of what never was is good enough playing with reality for me. Creation has it’s own beauty that the right light brings to life.

That’s the reward of good photography, and the fun of playing around getting there.

Sun Appears to Set

Sun Appears to Set

After a sunny morning that turned overcast, rainy and full of thunder through the afternoon, it was a pleasant, not forecasted, delight that the sun appeared as an orange smudge, then fireball, and reflected a trace across the lake, just in time to set, leaving a quiet hush after a windy day.

Free Air, Free Sun, Free Tornado Warnings

Free Air, Free Sun, Free Tornado Warnings

5 am

After the winds blew tremendous and the lights were mostly off but then suddenly, momentarily full back on as if daylight again …

The froth kicked up by the wind borders the beaches

 

The fishing boat is still secure

The moon still wanes

And the birds are still soaring about.

Mostly life goes on, though a few trees met their end and some hopes were dashed,

But life mostly goes on

Limited as it is by families split, and wars started, villages burned out and camping spots still riddled with bullets and glass.

Who heard of leaving or putting a 22. Bullet in a campfire ring!

And the young women is on her way to the hospital.

Rehabilitating Hilda Lake Random Camping Area

Rehabilitating Hilda Lake Random Camping Area

This is the ‘bush party place’ left with broken glass, burned out campers and all sorts of results of obviously irresponsible behaviours and disrespect for the land. There just is no excuse for this.

A huge clean up and accounting project was undertaken, and it is a pleasant place now, still needing lots of ‘small piece’ cleanup.

This was someone’s idea of a good use of the resources here: hack at at live tall mature pine tree and leave it to suffer.

Our fire area had a second fire spot, no rock rim or metal container, right on top of live roots, or maybe formally live roots.

We started to pick up pieces to finish burning them in the proper fire ring and noticed lots and lots of nails.

So out came a garbage bag and the shovel.

Then, with all the nails we could find and the junk they were attached to in the bag, we brought over some sand from the roadway, and then spread some forest floor decaying matter on the spot.

And then we turned to clean up and remake the rock rimed fire ring. And there were more nails and broken rocks … and a second heavier garbage bag filled with the mess.

Done we had two heavy garbage bags of mess, and a lot neater fire ring.

The brown bag was the start and finish effort. We’ve kept picking up broken glass shards and debris and detritus from around this and the other campsites. Into the brown paper bag. And it along with the fire pit mess of nails, metal, glass and pieces of half burned wood goes out with us into an appropriate garbage receptacle.

It can be clean if everyone who enjoys a few days here does the same, cleaning up, collecting garbage and hauling out more garbage than they themselves make.

My challenge is that each of you, who can use Canadian Parks this year, document your stories with photos or video of you clean up contributions.

Tell the story, be the story, make us all proud.

Testing Testing

Testing Testing

With so much to write, and so many little things not working still on this borrowed camper it’s time, all about time, to get a few things tested and tried, and proven. So an evening away from the pressure, the woods all around, no city yet, but the mosquitoes are out in full force like vampires miniature taking what the will.

 

The lush greenery encroaches on the parking spot, with a view to the lake at sunset between the trees

More views maybe later, after the first onslaught of itching subsides and the quiet supper is enjoyed.

Just the task of backing the trailer in to the site was immensely easier and safer. The back-up camera that would not work for so so so long no matter what is now working. Which means worrying about lining the camper up in to place is much simpler and the fret of possibly hitting something in reverse is all but taken out of the picture.

Leveling the camper still begs to be improved. Ideas abound, but it takes some planning and doing.

For now, the lights work, the back-up lights work, though this time of year they are rarely going to be needed, and the screen door is fully functional and sort of bug tight, which may entice us to tweak it a bit.

What Gets Your Goat?

What gets your goat?

A simple question: and the answer to this one is a short hike up a lonely hill with camera to watch, and find and shoot the goat … with the camera, of course.

What gets your goat?

Climbing a short and steep, well-travelled, but still deserted, hike out into the mountains, this goat just showed up over the top of the horizon hiding the expansive river valley behind her.

She posed, and then circled around me, closer with each step, not challenging me, but as if to show off, assured I was no danger, coming within a few yards of me.

What gets my goat is – people who circle around your life, playing with you, posing for the famous shot to get everything out of you they can even if that means you are left with nothing or worse, unable to survive. For it is all about their image and reputation; that someone must pay for their mistakes so that they can appear to be without blemish.

The walks that day and the next gave us wonderful views, and great photos of crocuses, a favourite ever since they used to grow up the hillside on our land, always a challenge to photograph well.

What gets my goat is –  people who take beauty, hard won and paid for with forgiveness and love, diligence and hope, based on trust and promises … and systematically destroy it so that it can never be found again, so that next spring, they just will not blossom for fear, real fear of what will happen next.

As I returned to the path, the goat already ahead of me across the path, she turned one last time to look, to inquire, to insure I was no danger, to pose, knowing if I was even half decent she’d have her photo immortalized.

For the short life of a goat leaves little in memorial.

What gets my goat is –  people who take all that is the memory of a person, and through manipulation, deceit and outright lies, trash it, so that there appears to be nothing left of the person, and instead the lies create a monster of that person, a lie, but one that is who people think they meet and deal with when they see this person.

A wise person, fictional but still wise, said that the one thing to ensure as you choose a spouse is that the person is kind.

What gets my goat is –  people who pretend to be kind, but try to kill you, and when that does not work ruin you, and blame you for what they are doing to you.

This person, no matter how you frame it, is wise and honest, loyal and hopeful, is above all things, kind and gracious. That makes for life that is beautiful.

It does not make life easy or simple or even guaranteed; but it does make for life that is beautiful.

What gets my goat is –  people who are very intelligent and persevere at making sure they win at everything no matter the cost to others, even children, people who guarantee only other people’s destruction.

This is simple beauty.

Simple on the far side of complexity, the complexity of emerging early, even as frost still haunts the nights, and snow easily falls; at an altitude that is though easily attained still not quickly, and then one must bend low in humility and peer as one normally and simply cannot between the grass blades that become obstacles or makers of a photo … and then to focus as focus cannot even be easily seen.

To know where the focus is, not outside but deep within.

What gets my goat is –  people who only see the world through a fully reductionist approach, discounting all the information of truth and reality until they can justify declaring lies to be truths, deception to be light, and the person abused and killed to be responsible for all the fallout. Experts who have the degrees and with the adeptness of a sociopath set out to declare imaginary things to be reality, who twist and turn love-and-trust-and-forgiveness-and-hope into accusations of delusion, to make whole and laudable people and efforts seem to be ugly; simply because they cannot see beyond the grass and twigs to focus on reality which is very beautiful.

 

The view up close …

What gets my goat is – people who do not see to the horizon and beyond, so they never know the reality that is skewed to create deceptions deadly.

The view less up close …

What gets my goat is – people who cannot change their perspective to see reality.

 

The view starting to look through the trees up close …

What gets my goat is – people who cannot see the trees for what they are, nor have the courage to look through to see the horizon. And worse, they think because they do not have the courage to even try to see past the trees, that others who do are either stupid, wrong, or insane.

The view looking through and past the trees up close …

What gets my goat is – people who do not know the beauty of the people up close and the crowds that make up the community and the world of grandeur. It may be unreachable and unfathomable but it can be seen and seen to be beautiful, even promising.

The view of the mountains framed by the trees up close …

What gets my goat is – when I cannot see the frame, nor the distant beauty.

 

The view of the distant mountains without losing touch with the trees up close …

What gets my goat is – people who cannot see what is up close, nor what is the context of what is close, who make what is up close into something it is not, and who ignore that is the environment. And they destroy everything trying to make sure they are determined to be right … even when they are so wrong.

There are lots of paths to follow, through the beauty of the trees, some paths deeply trodden and marked by wheels, others barely visible at all.

What gets my goat is – people who think that deceiving others into believing the well-trodden paths are the only paths to take, because true kindness, grace, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, love and promise are often barely chosen, or stuck to very long, for the brambles are high and thick on these seldom traversed paths.

The view, amidst the grass, of beauty emerging promising even more … and many promises not so obviously, more blossoms so tiny, yet emerging.

What gets my goat is … people who cannot see promise as hope, hope as the only guarantee to be trusted, and love as the only thing that has lasting value. Instead they crucify others trying to force hope, trust, and love from money, things or winning.

God save us … all.

Enjoy the view, relaxing in what is provided.

There is beauty even if people get my goat so commonly. People are beautiful, even though they are ugly mean at the same time.

The Falls This Time In Late Spring

The Falls, again so lonely.

Where is it falling,

Just a little lonely compared to the last time

 

With so many feet running every which direction

 

And just a little shinier in the early evening light

 

 

And a whole lot colder with the falls’ water freezing making it all slide a bit more,

 

 

and what …

 

What a view

 

to the light

 

and the person of hope.

 

With trees leaning into the future.

Simple Spring Snow

Simple Spring Snow
As the heavens poured out the white, winter, down-duvet-split-open-softness on to our heads and campsite and woods the colours and light danced so quietly
as my boots crunched, the water gurgled and Karin’s beer spray protected us all from invisible rye and malt humour.

So is the bed of peace and hope.

There are a few children missing, but nothing more than what is being done can be done. So pray with us, for us, for them.

 

There are views of life that are so subtly similar, yet a step to the right, left or ahead provide a completely different perspective, seeing in through the cracks that are in everything the light that is Grace and Hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trees, alive with light on the walk out of the warmth into the wilderness.

 

 

Water the source of life, the wonder of life, the beauty of life. Green. Why?

Not because it’s cold, but because it is not cold enough to keep the glaciers from melting.

 

Glowing, white streams in the green of gorgeous. Can you see it here, too?

 

The River looking onto it from various points, perspective that changes light and subject, all the same yet completely different.

 

Turtles, of the snacking kind were at the table the night before, and here they appear again, a bit molded and quiet, looking not to be eaten anymore.

 

The soft look of fallen snow and fog on the mountains beyond the river.

 

Rocks … below and …

Rocks below … and …

 

Rocks beyond …

 

The River Upstream

 

Turning 180°

 

More turtles and …

 

Rocks and …

 

Rocks and …

 

Rocks and …

 

 

 

Rocks … until …

 

There are no more rocks in view as one looks downstream to Pyramid Mountain.

 

The path back to coffee and breakfast.

 

 

As the snow hangs tight but loosened by melting, waffles wait with syrup from trees and butter enough.

 

The light and the drips of water frozen in place the evening before.

 

 

The Pine trees up-close, frozen mid-drip.

 

 


The victory.