Zen & the Arts - Field Notes

For the last decade of their thirty-year marriage, Roger Jordan’s wife suffered from severe Meniere’s Syndrome, an affliction of the inner ear that includes unpredictable and sometimes acute spells of vertigo, tinnitus, and nausea. For him this was a time when life itself seemed to tip and spin, projects and expectations ever “depending,” life rigged to the uncertainty of her condition. After she recovered, they divorced, and Roger moved from Boulder to coastal Seattle. He lived on a boat in Lake Washington till his friends said his clothes smelled of mold, then he moved to the water’s edge on Vashon Island, in Puget Sound. Every time he looked outside the picture was different. Ferries slid back and forth. The tides did too. An osprey flew past, the fish in its talons face-forward, and eagles tried to steal the fish. Blue turned pink, orange turned green, gray turned yellow. Clouds bulged, feathered, and streamed—bent and boiled and doused the light—drenched, then emptied the eye. Eventually he bolted a camera to a post and spent an entire day photographing a fixed 25 mile sightline of open water between his back deck and Whidbey Island–a single prospect that never stayed the same. Captured by a sky uncapturable by any one view, “my own dark inner landscape stretched and recalibrated to make room for a light that was sometimes painful to take in.”

The next day he did it again.
And then again, every day, for a year.

Here he shares a bit of that.

-Trace Farrell


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