Saturday, May 31, 2008


Greetings on Behalf of Our Environment
(Subject of image, writer of piece: Paula Obe)

i hide morning in my gaze
so that i may remember

the scents and sights

of green early morning

Friday, May 30, 2008

R & S

Greetings on Behalf of Our Environment
(Subjects of image, writers of piece: Reshmi and Shireen)
So will the Sun?

Fields of green are turned to debris and dust.

Trees uprooted in an upward thrust.

I look at myself, turning barren & bare…

I wonder where is my future – I know it’s not here.

Corruption & greed, trust is violated.

Murder, rape, steal, lie, kidnapping, terrorism, hate,

Rage is the cry of our age!

Mine, theirs, ours, yours - teardrops grace history’s page

Penned in blood of those animals hunted down…

Then there is nowhere to plant, all is gone.

But, profits have risen, and………………… will the sun?

I never pray to find out what will happen when this is all over and done.

I tried to breathe, and a deep breath I took.

But I couldn’t afford the price asked to inhale open air…I can only look.

So a mask I wear to survive this world…

And dream of a brand new day, a new life, a new existence to unfold.

- S. Ali & R. Ramnarine -

Thursday, May 29, 2008


(Subject of image, writer of piece: Anonymous)
I hide my face in shame. We have failed our children. What's going on in this place? We hide our faces behind masks. We are afraid to show ourselves. We cannot correct other people's children lest we get 'shot up'. So we keep losing our precious little ones. They are growing up not knowing right from wrong.

Do you think we should remove our masks and be brave? I say we should try.

- Anonymous -
Note: Subsequent to the story of 8-year old Hope's gruesome end, the subject of this photo chose to write not about our natural environment, but about our rapidly decaying social one.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Greetings on Behalf of Our Environment
(Subject of image, writer of piece: Andrea)

Wearing the mask, I saw haze rising above the mountains and I knew that one day that haze will not be from the dust of the dry season, but from pollution not fit for human lungs. One day there will be nowhere in the world we can go to escape it.

- Andrea -

Monday, May 26, 2008


One of the cards in my interactive Greetings on Behalf of Our Environment photo-series
(with image of Dara Njeri and poem below by Dara Njeri)
We of Superior Intelligence
Who run amok in blissful negligence
innate genius creating computers
and pyramids
and machines that fly
yet cannot understand the concept of Finite Supply.
We Human Beings
whose upright gait and sense of entitlement
have made us too proud
cocky creatures
send men to the moon and proclaim out loud
that our achievements are vast
before cleaning up our own home,
maaan, we going nowhere, fast
cuz it’s
soaring food prices and no one asking why
so they dump needed food just to keep their profits high
while hair falls in clumps til scalps shine and glisten
and young bellies filled with clay pies swell from malnutrition -

when will we ever listen…

To the whisperings between leaves
warning us to take heed
cuz you can’t reep tomato
when you plant pepper seed
unsettling rumours of war
Karma come to settle She score
An’ She doh fight nice
weather conditions reclaim our much-needed rice
and so
from tsunamis to
to global warming records hit
can’t drink the water anymore
so instead we swallow spit
see we shit where we eat
and yet shocked at defeat but
Earth’s cry was ignored so Her vengeance is untold
watch us scatter like ants as the pell-mell unfolds
drop to our knees, we too weak to even breathe
as UV rays brand our backs with the planet’s boiling seethe
best hope for that Mother Ship to wisk us away
pour libations with foul water and mobilize to pray
for Earth to find it in Her mercy to somehow self-heal
and for us to find clean food to make our next meal.

Who doh hear, go ha’ tuh feel.
all who doh hear, go really ha’ tuh feel.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Greetings on Behalf of Our Environment (online and offline exhibit)

This year I am a participating artist in the Red Earth EcoArts Festival, Trinidad (see info below). The 2008 theme is 'Air' and I have interpreted it through photographs.The photographs, made into greeting cards to enable the interactive aspect of my piece
I have a few hundred surgical face masks, given to me in 2006 by some young activists (when we were actively involved in the anti-smelter movement). At first, I started taking portraits of people wearing the masks - to make a statement about air pollution created by smelters and all of the industrial 'parks' so rapidly being established here. But as I continued taking the photos, I realised that the masks speak about more than just air pollution. In T & T there are so many other elements stifling the lives of the people who live here. Crime, corruption, ignorance, rising cost of living, ineffective leadership ... the list goes on.

I invite you to check in on this blog over the next five days as I feature a 'mask photo' per day and an accompanying statement provided by the subject of each image. I will feature only five of the sixteen images online. The rest can be viewed at the off-line exhibit.

I will exhibit the photos at the Red Earth Festival as a series of sixteen limited edition 'activist greeting cards' (Greetings on behalf of Our Environment), each with a stamped envelope addressed to relevant 'people in power' ... i.e. those who are supposed to have the ability to put policies in place to help 'save' our environment. Those who purchase a card (or cards) at the exhibit are asked to not keep the card, but to write a heartfelt message on behalf of our environment and post it (stamp already provided) to the addressee on their envelope. Getting a multitude of people to sign the card on which you write your message should add impact.
The following is a release from the Red Earth Organisation, providing more details about the 2008 festival:

The Red Earth Festival is organised by the non-profit organization - Red Earth, which was founded by a group of environmentally motivated artists, administrators and other professionals, to promote environmental consciousness - through the arts. The Red Earth Festival will be held from 6 – 8 June 2008 under the theme: ‘Air’ the media through which we experience light, sound and ultimately, through which all life on our Red Earth travels.

Red Earth Unplugged The Red Earth Festival presents acts that can be staged with a minimum of disturbance to the natural acoustic environment. Red Earth is Unplugged. The three-day festival of the performing arts will be held in the beautiful natural environment of Tucker Valley in the Chaguaramas National Park. Performances will be staged in the open air at multiple locations throughout the park – the Bamboo Cathedral, Maqueripe Beach, Mango Grove, Samaan Park and other scenic sites in the valley.

The Festival Programme
The Festival programme will feature an eclectic mix of Aboriginal performances and contemporary work by local and regional artists with a preference for acts that are more acoustical and organic in nature. In 2007 the Festival included: Jazz under the stars, urban spoken word performers, contemporary dancers from Brazil, Suriname and French Guiana, the work of Salvadorian photographer Ludwig Rosales whose photographs of indigenous children have won him international acclaim, a smoke ceremony performed by the Carib Community of Trinidad, and outdoor cinema from Cuba. The Festival also included star-gazing, nature tours, beach clean-ups, children’s events, workshops and symposia.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A bumper sticker day

Bumper sticker of my car, PAX, who is currently getting her transmission rebuilt.
So I wasn't driving her today, but the bumper sticker still applies.
Today on the way to the yoga retreat, running late, I decided to take the highway, thinking I would get there faster than if I went over Lady Young (my normal route). Far from it. There was an accident on the highway (an overturned SUV, with ambulance and fire engine attending) and the long snake of traffic (l'embouteillage) was at a standstill. About 15 minutes passed and, at 9 a.m. when the retreat was supposed to be starting, I was still stuck in one spot, surrounded by thick black smoke created by garbage being burned outside of a shack at the side of the Beetham.

I thought to myself: "The others must be tuning in now." So I sat there and tuned in where I was, chanting the opening Ong Namo mantra five times and then Ad Guray Namay 5 times (instead of 3 times each). As I completed the final chant, suddenly the cars began to move, both the highway and the smoke cleared and everything began to flow. It was as if nothing had ever been there.

By the time I reached the location of the retreat at about 9:30, the women were now starting to tune in (Ong Namo) ... having started 'late' themselves.

But perhaps there is no such thing as late. Everything is in perfect timing.
These are the opening mantras (as explained at this source):

is the Adi Mantra that precedes Kundalini Yoga practice, tuning one in to the higher self. Ong is "Infinite Creative energy in manifestation and activity". ("Om" or Aum is God absolute and unmanifested), Namo is "reverent greetings' implying humility, Guru means "teacher or wisdom", Dev means "Divine or of God" and Namo reaffirms humility and reverence. In all it means, "I call upon Divine Wisdom".

is the Mangala Charn Mantra, and is chanted for protection. It surrounds the magnetic field with protective light, and means "I bow to the primal Guru (guiding consciousness who takes us to God-Realization), I bow to wisdom through the ages, I bow to True Wisdom, I bow to the great, unseen wisdom."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy 1st Anniversary

On Saturday my friend Rosanna will be having a women's Kundalini Yoga retreat and she asked me to drum for some of the meditation chants. Yesterday evening I took my drum to her house so we could work out what we would be doing. We went to the Botanical Gardens, up one of the hills and sat under a grove of bamboo, overlooking the Savannah below. There I drummed and we chanted several mantras.

Sat nam (Truth is my identity) - chanted to awaken the soul and call upon the Truth that resides in all of us

Ek Ong Kar, Sat Nam, Siri Wha (He) Guru (There is one Creator whose name is Truth. Great is the ecstatsy of that Supreme Wisdom)

Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung (Sun, Moon, Earth, Infinity, I am Thou) - powerful healing meditation

While drumming/chanting, it struck me that it's around this time last year I had purchased Dandelion, my drum, in Toronto. So I checked my old blog and scrolled through the Canada Chronicles to see when that was. Coincidentally, the blog entry for 22 May (yesterday's date) was also about an outdoor drumming experience, also on a hill with J, who is also a yoga teacher. Maybe the 21st and 22nd May are special yogic-drumming-on-a-hill days.

Turns out Dandelion's special day of purchase is this day.

Happy 1st Anniversary, Dandelion. You are one of the best purchases I ever made.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Selling some of my favourite CDs for a worthy cause

I'm selling the CDs listed below. Some of my favourites are in there (the Bjork CDs in particular) ... but the truth is, they were all sitting on a shelf gathering dust and someone else will enjoy them. Plus, this is for a very worthy cause.

CDs $20 each
(all proceeds to the animals of AWN)

The Animal Welfare Network will be having a car boot sale in aid of the animals: Saturday 24 May from 8:00 a.m. at the International School in Westmoorings (see here for their announcement). All kinds of bargain items will be sold from people's car trunks. I will be at an all-day women's yoga retreat, so will not be able to make it, but if particularly interested in any of my CDs, make a beeline for the Greenlight Network vehicle, which will be Glen's maroon coloured pick up truck: TAR 5559. Items will be sold out of the tray. Undoubtedly other car trunks will have interesting items as well. Come early and grab up all the goodies while they're still there.

Deep Forest - Boheme
Bjork - Vespertine
Bjork - Homogenic
Bjork - Post
Bjork - Debut
Lamb - What Sound
Depeche Mode - Violator
70's Audio (burnt CD of 70's songs)
Melting Euphoria - Inside the Gardens of the Mind
Stevie Nicks - Trouble in Shangri-La
Plugged In - Electronica Compilation
Buddha's Party - Compilation
Buddha's Dinner - Compilation
Norah Jones - Come Away with Me
Sinead O'Connor - So far ... the best of Sinead O'Connor
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I May See
Vanessa Mae - Storm
Bill Whelan - Riverdance
Laventille Rhythm Section (burnt CD)
The Greatest Hits of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Pandit C. R. Vyas - Classic Masterpieces: Tribute to My Master
Sheila Chandra - The Zen Kiss
Tassarama - Trinidad the Land of Tassa
Disco Party (burnt CD)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recent offerings

I had taken a shot of the dove in my hand and was sitting in bed loading it onto the laptop when Jasper came and sat behind the screen, resting his head near the image.
Last night I had one of my best flying dreams ever. At a gathering with some people I spontaneously demonstrated how to soar. I floated up, as usual, then started to flap slowly like a large eagle. Normally, because I don't have wingspan, my arms don't support me in the air, but this time it's like I had invisible wings and was able to manoeuvre my way through the sky. Not too expertly, because I bumped into a roof once - but the flight felt great. My spirit was flying. This must have been one of the effects of last night's (Kundalini Yoga) Healing Ring of the Tantra Full Moon Meditation.

I woke up this morning to find one of Jasper's offerings: a dead Dove on the floor, small feathers strewn everywhere. In the midst of it all, the bird looked as if it was sleeping peacefully. It wasn't like the pale, half-bodied gekko which Jasper had also brought for me - during the night (luckily I woke up abruptly as he jumped onto the bed with it). Interestingly, lizards are associated with the dream time. I find their symbolism very powerful.

Thank you, Jasper. As much as I don't like the carnage, I know it's your nature and your offerings always bring important and confirming messages.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Nothing else matters.
Focus on the centre.
Slowly and deeply.
Feel your scattered pieces come together,
Like swarming ants becoming one still body around a drop of honey.
Slowly and deeply.
Project your self.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A new Spanish word

Recent correspondence from sponsor re Veronica's House
I shake my head each time it happens ... the mispronunciation or the gender confusion. Such a simple and straightforward two-syllable name! I can only assume that people who see my name as a male name are Spanish speaking.

El gato - the cat
El cielo - the sky
El sol - the sun
El coche - the car
El speth - the producer/director of VHouse

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Surprise guests

Dancing in the wind
Yesterday's photo shoot went great. Far from getting 'at least 30 people', there were six ... and three surprise guests made it nine, which was perfect.

I'm glad I had changed the venue. Had we been elsewhere, our three little surprise guests would not have wandered by. They were three little boys from up the hill who, obviously curious about what was going on, had seated themselves at the base of the large samaan tree in the field, watching us. They were simple, in their little shorts and t-shirts, reminding me of 'the good old days' when my sisters and our friends (and children in general) could freely roam the streets of St. Augustine in small packs, either on foot or on our bikes, without a care in the world.

I explained the basic concept to the boys and they willingly put on the surgical masks (which they also kept as souvenirs) and took part in the shoot. Afterwards I asked them a few questions and Andreamuse (who was there helping out) scribbled their answers onto a piece of paper.

I won't post any of the images from the shoot at this point - but I will when it is time.

Instead, I'll feature one of the few photos I took last night at The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial organised by RED Initiatives. Everyone in the crowd was given a helium balloon to release in memory of those lost to HIV/AIDS. The image above features my balloon dancing next to its neighbour.

Tonight there will be other Candlelight Memorials in POS (organised by CARE) and in Chaguanas (organised by Voice of One).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Anna's outfit

Lying in bed, holding up Anna's outfit and looking through it to the light on the ceiling
Yesterday a friend and I went to another friend's house. I would say our friend, Mitch, is like a local Crocodile Dundee jungle man. One of the animals he has rescued and now cares for is Anna, the boa. As we were leaving, I saw Anna's skin hanging on the fence, like a large outfit drying in the sun. Mitch ripped off a big piece and gave it to me. Anna's outfit reminds me of the constant process of shedding my own skin - the parts of myself that are no longer needed or no longer fit as I grow. Sometimes it is a conscious shedding, sometimes it is involuntary, sometimes it feels overwhelmingly intense and urgent (to me), but is not necessarily visible to others. It is an inevitable desire and a never-ending process ... peeling off my 'surface' and going deeper ... not only to reveal, discover and understand more of who I am, but to fully be that in my truest form.

"What is your truth? Ask your heart, your back, your bones and your dreams. Listen to that truth with your whole body. Understand that this truth will destroy no one and that you're too old to be sent to your room. Move into your truth as though it were an old house. Walk through each room. See, hear, and feel what it is to live there. Try to love what you find, and remember the words that come to you as you explore. If you embrace it, if you are faithful to it, your truth will reward you with unimaginable freedom and intimacy with yourself and others. You won't land in a world made to order; some people in your life may not like what you write. But those who remain will be allies, people who breathe deeply and listen. It will feel good to be seen completely and loved as you are." John Lee, Writing from the body (I found this extract here)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Change of venue

Please note change of venue for tomorrow's photoshoot.

Date: Saturday 17 May, 2008
Time: 11:00 a.m. sharp - about midday

Place: Small field with large samaan tree across the road on the eastern side of the Creative Arts Centre, Gordon Street, St. Augustine. In the proximity of the base of hill going up to Santa Margarita.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Requesting you for a conceptual photo shoot

Those who have read this message already, please note change of venue.

Self portrait
Dear All,

I need at least 30 people to gather so that I can take some individual and group portraits/photographs for a particular project I am working on. The session will be quick and simple.

I will give each participant a surgical mask (such as the one I am sporting in the above image) to wear for their photo. Those who are camera-shy or feel they are not 'photogenic' need not worry. With the mask on, only your eyes are visible. Clothing-wise, you may wear whatever you want. The main focus will be your face, although parts of your body could be visible depending on the angle of the shot.

Date: Saturday 17 May, 2008
Time: 11:00 a.m. sharp - about midday

Place: Small field with large samaan tree across the road on the eastern side of the Creative Arts Centre, Gordon Street, St. Augustine. In the proximity of the base of hill going up to Santa Margarita.

Anyone reading this message is welcome to come. Keep in mind that once you turn up, you will be used as a model. Feel free to bring others with you (any age, gender, height, size, race, etc). The more people present, the more effective the concept will be. Masks will be provided upon arrival.

Those who are sure they are coming, please contact me by e-mail (see side bar for e-mail link) or by leaving a comment so I can estimate numbers.

By taking part, you will be joining me in making a subtle but thought-provoking artistic statement on behalf of our environment.




What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn't have any doubt. It is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn't want to go anywhere else.

Hal Boyle

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Finding a loving home for J-Lo

J-Lo being adored
A true animal lover will always make the best decision for his or her pet, even if that decision is the very difficult one of finding another home for the animal. In this case, one of my peers, Anabelle, is seeking a loving home for her beloved J-Lo ... for the reasons described in her message below. If anyone is interested in providing a good home for J-Lo or knows of anyone who would, please contact me and I will pass the message onto Anabelle.

Annabelle's message:
I have recently moved to a new home which unfortunately has little or no garden space. It is a very hard decision but consequently and very reluctantly I need to find a kind and loving home for my beloved J-LO . She is mixed breed and I think has some Doberman in her, female and spayed, about 7 years old. She is a very good watch, smart, very loving and humorous! J-Lo particularly loves to run and would be happy with access to a good sized outdoor space ... as you can see from the photo very good with children.

Please be kind enough to pass this on to anyone you know who may be able to help .

Thank you very much.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I am Two-Spirited

Traditionally, the Two-spirited person was one who had received a gift from the Creator, that gift being the privilege to house both male and female spirits in their bodies. The concept of Two-spirited related to today's designation of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons of Native origins. Being given the gift of two-spirits meant that this individual had the ability to see the world from two perspectives at the same time. This greater vision was a gift to be shared with all, and as such, Two-spirited beings were revered as leaders, mediators, teachers, artists, seers, and spiritual guides. They were treated with the greatest respect, and held important spiritual and ceremonial responsibilities.

(The above is an extract. The whole article can be read here)

This morning I went for my walk. Near the corner where I buy newspapers, there was an aged man from the Yoga Centre handing out little flyers for a lecture entitled: "Be Yourself for a Change!" As I approached, he said to me: "Brother or Sister, please take one." Like some people here often seem to be when they encounter me, he was confused.

There are some people who meet me or see me for the first time and in the first instant apparently don't know what to think. "Male or female?" I see them wondering as their eyes quickly scan me. It doesn't matter that I clearly have breasts. It doesn't matter if my hair is long past my shoulders or up in a ponytail on top my head or shaved short like a tennis ball. It doesn't matter if that day I have on a dress and make up or jeans and a t-shirt. It doesn't matter if I have on heels or sneakers or slippers or closed, flat shoes. I don't think it has much, if anything, to do with the physical.

The rest of the flyer that the aged man handed me invites the recipient to 'Join us for this interactive lecture' and advises, among other things, that 'Change takes place when we realize who we are.'

I am not one to readily apply labels to myself because they often come with so many warped societal stereotypes, judgments and misconceptions attached. But I have always liked the term 'Two-spirited'. To me, it goes beyond the physical, deeper than the surface and is more than 'a lifestyle' - it is a way of being from the beginning of being. The first time I ever heard it, I felt it fit with me.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I found this cracked stone in the driveway on Saturday morning. I took the below photos of it because, symbolically, it made me think of a coming together, a reunion after separation. To the relief, joy and ultimate gratitude of so many of us, there was this great reunion the very next morning.

Released. Returned. Reunited.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In between

Photo taken with my Pentax 35mm, on Bulb setting (2003)
In between birth and death, you have time to emit light so you leave behind a legacy.

Yogi Bhajan

Jasper's latest gift

This one was quite large
Those who have cicada as a totem are often in a hurry to discover who they truly are. Driven to understand their personal soul journey they always feel like they are running out of time and will stop at nothing to discover their true self. Anyone in a relationship with a person who carries this medicine must learn to move quickly or they will always feel like they are tagging behind their partner. This in turn can cause insecurity and instability within the context of the relationship.

The 13 to 17 year cycles of the cicada are very significant to those with this totem. Because the cicada has a short life span it shows us how to live each moment to the fullest. Major changes or a death-rebirth process usually occurs within the individuals life every 13 to 17 years.

Cicadas are best known for their conspicuous acoustic songs. The male cicada makes the loudest sound in the insect world. By vibrating the ribbed plates in a pair of amplifying cavities at the base of the abdomen their songs can be heard up to a half a mile away. Communication through sound is one of the things it teaches us. Sound can have pleasing effects on the psyche but it can also have the opposite effect. Cicada medicine people need to be aware of the sound and pitch of their voice and how it effects others in order to use this medicine appropriately.

Because the cicada spends most of its life underground it is associated with the unseen or hidden. To discover hidden truths a person is required to look beneath the surface. Cicadas teach us how to delve into the underworld without fear and uncover the secrets that lie beneath the surface. Those with this totem are exploratory in nature and should call upon the cicada whenever there is a need to understand the truth about reality and illusion.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Hawk's eye view

I looked up and saw You yesterday,
Circling over the mountain.
"You, above all, can see where," I thought.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Angels are everywhere

Once I went into a shop with a friend and saw little bags of gold coloured angels for sale. I think the bag was labelled 'Angel Confetti' and I thought "Wow!" (thinking of how useful they would be). The angels are a neat little size, perhaps just under an inch in height and their gold colour makes them stand out.

I keep them in my bag and every now and then I pull one out and leave it somewhere. E.g. If I am in an eating place, when I get up to leave I will place an angel on the table where I was so that the next person will find it. If I am at a counter buying something I surreptitiously leave an angel for the next customer. Sometimes I place one in the envelope when I am paying a bill using FasDeposit so the person in the bank will find it when they process my cheque.

Sometimes I will hand one to someone directly, without saying or explaining anything. E.g. I was in the paint shop once and, after paying for the paint I dipped into my bag pulled out an angel and handed it to the girl. She looked at it for a while, probably trying to figure out what it was, then she smiled, nodded, looked at me and we both laughed. That was it, no words were necessary.

Once standing in the line at the bank, I was getting something out of my bag and a host of the confetti angels fell to the floor. I decided to leave them there, feeling that someone who needed to see them would come upon them. Later, as I was further up in the line, I looked back and saw some women looking at them. They seemed curious, yet reluctant to bend and look closer or pick them up. Maybe all day people saw them and left them there. Perhaps because they were ultimately meant for the cleaner who would be there mopping and cleaning the bank after working hours. Maybe she picked them up and took them home for her family.

As I went for my walk this morning I wished for today to be that kind of day: a day when I myself go somewhere and find something unexpected that lifts me as I imagine finding those angels would. Serendipity. Lately there seems to be so much ugliness around.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I have spoken

Wikipedia defines 'hope' as "a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. Hope implies a certain amount of despair, wanting, wishing, suffering or perseverance - i.e. believing that a better or positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary."

Photo taken (2004) with my 35mm Pentax, in my pre-digital camera days.
In part of my dream on Monday night I was at a function. It was somewhere 'fancy' like Hilton ... or perhaps it was the Prime Minister's palace. I was talking with a group of friends when suddenly there was a stir and the PM appeared, surrounded by a bevy of admirers. He was joking and smiling and 'being charming'. As soon as I saw him I moved away from my group, went up to him and asked him what was going to be done about ... (and here I started listing the things that are wrong in the country).

He started to laugh at me in a what-are-you-talking-about-nothing's-wrong-with-this-country kind of way.

I calmly said: "This is not a joke, Mr. Manning." He made a flippant comment, dismissing me, and moved off laughing with his entourage. I followed and tapped his shoulder to make him turn around and face me. Whatever I told him at this point, I can't remember, but he started to say something in defense of himself. Before he could finish, I said pointedly: "I have spoken."

He stopped, surprised and started slowly backing away from me. He opened his mouth to try and speak, but before any words could emerge, I said in a quiet, firm tone: "I have spoken!" (For the relevance of this statement, see here).

Is the "I" in the dream a symbol of 'the people'? What have we said? Are we yet to say it? And how?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

At last

You Should Know

Artiste: Gillian Moor (lyrics/vocals)
Video: Elspeth Duncan (camera/edit)

Over the weekend I was looking through my video footage, cleaning up video space and came across a music video I had started working on about 3 years ago for a friend of mine, Gillian Moor. Gillian was my first ever 'customer' (in terms of creating a video for someone else). We never got around to finishing 'You Should Know' and it has been sitting in my computer all this time, "incomplete". However, when I looked at it this weekend, it felt whole. I found the visual mood and speed fitted with the sentiments expressed in the lyrics. The content is minimalist and simple, the speed is slow, the shots are lingering and dreamy, giving a more intimate feel ... the sense of gazing at something or someone beautiful, taking time to take life in and experience each moment more fully. Life is already so fast and crowded.

As timing would have it, today is Gillian's birthday, so I'm posting the video as a surprise for her. Happy Birthday, Gillian. May you enjoy many more years of music.
Love, Elspeth

Also: see The Glo (2005), another video I created for Gillian, for her song of the same name. In fact The Glo was the first video I ever did.

Artiste: Gillian Moor (lyrics/vocals)
Video: Elspeth Duncan (camera/edit)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pupdate: Remember ABBA?

Those of you who were reading my former blog around August of last year will remember the puppy in the above shot ... affectionately named ABBA (Read why here).

Her current owners, who had fallen in love with her at first sight and adopted her on the same day that I'd taken the above shot (I think it was a day after she was found) sent me a few photos of ABBA yesterday. Scroll down for the lovely surprise.

Don't you love a happy ending?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Dream Tree and a prayer for a friend's freedom

Everyone who was there for today's planting of the Dream Tree unanimously agreed that the experience was fantastic. Too fantastic to put into too many words. Smeared in cool mud after digging the hole to plant the dreams and tree in.
Circle of friends holding the flattened clay which we used to make the vessel for the dreams.
View from the spot where we planted the Dream Tree (with dreams) and its companion tree, which we named The Protector.
The dreams in the clay vessel/hole, just before we covered them with earth and planted the Dream Tree over them. I included the heart which had been on the Dream House window lamp. After all, dreams come from the heart.

For those who were unable to make it: see more photos (with captions) from the Dream Tree event here.
Closing prayer
After planting the trees, before leaving the mountain, we all sat in silence for a few minutes, meditated and sent out positive vibrations, prayers and light for a friend of ours, Phillipa, who was kidnapped yesterday. May God watch over her, keep her safe, bring strength and comfort to her family and those who love her and ensure her swift freedom.

Friday, May 2, 2008


This morning I went to the Forestry Division to purchase the flamboyant tree which we will plant tomorrow on the mountain. As you can see in the above photo, I ended up getting two. They are only $1.50TT each, but I didn't have to buy them - they were given to me. As George (the man who was assisting me) told me, normally when people come for trees they come for a whole set and they have to go through a lot of red tape before they can actually take them away.

"Too much to go through for two trees."

I got two because I didn't want the Dream Tree to be alone on the mountain. One will be planted with the clay vessel of dreams and its companion will be planted a short way off. I suppose close enough so that when they grow, their branches will reach out and touch, maybe even intertwine and form a canopy. The plan is to position them near the edge of the dam, where the soil is damp, so that even in dry season they will have water. And, as George indicated, they are hardy trees and will survive through all kinds of conditions.

In the days that passed after closing off Now is Wow, I realised that all that I had needed was a shift and change of online scenery. Hence this new blog, which feels a lot more sparse, spacious and lighter.

Making space for the dreams to grow.