Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmastime in Venice Beach

By the way, have you read the Placebo story?

I find it interesting that the placebo was allegedly helpful to IBS patients even when they knew if was a placebo--the Ritual of Pill Taking is powerful beyond its material warrant. It called to mind old National Geographic photos of southwestern Navajos sitting in the center of elaborate sand paintings during shamanic healing rituals, and stimulated my ongoing theological ruminations about the modern assumption that material reality is ultimate reality;  perhaps ultimate reality for humans is always anchored in a faith system, whether or not this faith system is conscious.  Such as: people know and believe that material reality is final (the placebo is zilch), but their faith is that medical consultation and prescriptions (pills for our ills) will help. So they do, even when patients know the pills are zilch. I am interested in this study as a tidbit for the Catholic discussion of the relationship between material and ultimate realities encapsulated in the code word: "transubstantiation." 

Bait and Switch, sorry. Here's more photos from the Boardwalk:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Round Valley Pastures in Early Winter

Mules and horses are being moved from high corrals in mountain pack stations to winter quarters in low valley pastures. My favorite photo of a horse is out-of-focus, but I have posted it anyway -- since in winter, the landscape here appears blurry, streaked, brindled and blown, or has a stark, still, abstract quality to its natural forms.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Colors in Horton Creek

Late in November I visited my summer camp ground, Horton Creek Recreational Refuge -- now in winter closed to people and open to deer. Silent and all the green riparian creekside thickets turned over to red: oranges, russets, purples, lavenders, aqua and iron blues, and fools gold, cold stones and ice.