February 26 – Hilltop

02-26 Xavier Hilltop post“The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away.”

~Marcus Aurelius

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This is my meditation spot, and this is certainly not the only photograph I’ve made of it. Up on the hill overlooking the San Xavier Mission outside of Tucson is a shrine to the Guadalupe Virgin and a large white cross. You can hear the faint whisper of the highway off in the distance, and you can see a cluster of Downtown Tucson buildings on the horizon.

This is the place to watch the sunset. This is the place to find one’s center. Just thinking about it, looking on the pictures I’ve made there with my Yashica TLR camera, I feel a calm washing over me. I look forward to going out there again. Soon.

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February 25 – San Xavier

02-25 San Xavier post“Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort, you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, You cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation.”

~Plato

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January 22 – Piano Guts

01-22 Piano Guts post

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
~Plato

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This past week I have been spending my days in church; most of that time has been spent tearing it apart.

But no. I’m not a rock star and this sanctuary isn’t a hotel room. I’ve been remodeling it with a carpenter friend who’s been teaching me some of the finer points of woodworking and repair. This week’s project had us redesigning & rebuilding a stage. Sledge hammers and circular saws aren’t anything I ever associated with church when I was growing up. Back then, church was this big room where people mutter the same responses like wind-up toys, kneel and stand over and over, and I always left feeling more perplexed about religion than when I arrived.

Even after being forced into catechism, most of my lingering questions remained unanswered or ignored. The King James Bible isn’t the most relatable piece of literature to a twelve-year-old. Hell, it barely makes sense to most adults. Religion was a frustrating experience altogether, which is probably why I elected to reject religion outright from an early age. I have since made peace with those adolescent frustrations. I still haven’t found god, but I don’t feel like I’m being judged just because I stopped looking. There’s a really big club called the Catholic Church, and I just happen to not belong to that club. And that’s okay with me.

Morality and decency isn’t defined by your faith. It’s defined by your actions. I made a house of worship look a little more grand today, and I have every expectation that the congregation will enjoy the things that I have built for them. At least that’s the hope.

There’s this upright piano that the church is remodeling, too; they’re going to install a keyboard but keep the veneer of the old piano. Keyboards don’t go out of tune quite so easily, and the church had been spending over a hundred bucks a month just to keep the old piano in tune. Earlier tonight, before grabbing my water bottle and coat, I snapped a few pictures of the piano’s interior. I’d never actually seen what the inside of one of those vessels actually looks like, and I thought it was a fascinating, industrial arrangement.

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