Fixing the Moon

When I look at the moon, I think: Wow, we gotta fix that thing. The moon’s been struck pretty badly, given its four-billion year life. Its lack of atmosphere allows meteor strikes, and the windless plains deny leveling forces, forces that are normal to me and you.

The moon is battered.

Most people, virtually everyone, would agree that the moon has a damaged surface. If they are right, and if the moon is important to humankind, then what would it take for us to enact repairs? What could be done to fix the damage, if we could prove that the costs, and the practicality of such measures, were not insurmountable issues?

If we had the means and access to do the work, we could organize teams, or robotic machinery, to rake and level the irregular landscape. The surface is soft and workable. We could fill the craters and heal those scars. The moon would become a better place. It would be smooth and look whole again. Presuming of course, it looked whole, once.

Who would argue there is no need to help out– to clean up– our own Heavenly Body?

We would need to consult with scientists around the globe to determine how we’d best protect the newly-repaired surface from future strikes. This is much more than simply protecting our investment, although protecting what we’ve built is a human tradition in the finest order. The moon is hit by an estimated 6,000 pounds of meteor material per day. Consider: What type of minimal atmosphere could we reasonably set in place, to stop a percentage of the strikes? Then we could get on a schedule to fix the surface as needed, perhaps on a quarterly or even yearly basis.

How about the moon’s shape? Would we correct it?

Despite what we see from Earth, the moon is not a perfect circle. It’s more like an egg shape, with the bigger part of the egg facing the Earth. What could we do to reshape the moon, or at least bring it a percentage closer to a true spherical diameter? We could set a goal of perhaps a 15-20% correction. Who would argue against the moon being modestly adjusted to the universal symmetry standard of a bisect line, with an equal mass and shape to the left and right, top and bottom?

To keep this discussion reasonable, and our costs lower, we could propose the following. Let’s set aside our direct and admittedly pie-in-the-sky plans for reshaping the moon. Instead, let’s do this. If we identify the parts of the moon that need more mass (the top of the egg, the “pointy part”) why don’t we relocate the tons of surface we’re shifting during our crater-filling activities? This concept of double utility has served us well in the past and can serve us today. Even if we only fix the moon by five percent, that is something.

We’re not talking planet-sized work. The moon end-to-end doesn’t even stretch the length of the United States. These projects could work, if we are in agreement to prioritize positive change. That, in effect, is what this discussion is all about. If we aren’t in agreement to prioritize positive change, then I don’t know what to tell you! Step aside! We need to look inward before being afforded the luxury of moving outward.

Space truck those tons of lunar dust north my friends. Dump it, resettle it, and come on back for more. Don’t worry about the path you’re leaving. We’ll fix that, too. Each step you take, you’re moving forward. This can’t be argued; process is progress.

And then, we can say we’ve done a good thing and go home satisfied.

THE COURT WILL NOW LISTEN TO THE OPPOSITION.

When I look at the moon, I see what people have been gazing at for centuries. And yes, it looks like a dead-on circle to me.

Is the moon damaged? Or is it just simply, the moon?

Why is it our responsibility to effect a change to it? What if our work causes unforeseen problems to it, and to the Earth?

The fact that we’re considering reshaping the moon is terrifying. The so-called imperfect egg creates lunar gravitation that has served Earth very well for its lifetime. If any of our adjustments to the moon happened to cause a change to our planet, there would be no undo button. We could not know if reverse adjustments could make things better or worse. We have no good experience in whole, sweeping unified changes to nature. Yet the discussion is before us, due to someone deciding an oval shape is inferior to a different kind of round.

The talk that all steps are progress, and that progress is inherently good, is childish and incomplete. Have you ever seen someone walking in the wrong direction? They are progressing in the wrong direction my friends, and so shall we, due to people who are not inclined to accept rough or cracked rocks. Why aren’t we polishing the Maine coast? Why aren’t we filling the Grand Canyon?

A crater-less lunar surface would increase the sun’s light reflection. What would be the effect on the millions of nocturnal animals who know only the natural way? Talk to the scientists, the opposition says. I would get a lesser assortment of answers by asking children.

There is one object that people have looked to, in universal wonder. It is hanging in the stars and has connected loved ones, living continents apart. The moon has been a unifying point for us to fix our eyes, to join us, and ease our loneliness.

That object is not broken, and should not be changed.

Our sole natural satellite has inspired the greatest songs, poems and writings the world has known. Not one of those works speaks of the flaws of the moon.

The moon is not the sand trap of space, to be raked smooth at any dent or fissure. The moon is not our sculpture, to form into a so-called normal shape that happens to be a current political party’s fancy.

We are told to get on board, or step aside. I would rather go to the tallest skyscraper, and throw the moon reshaping funds off the roof. At least in that way, the money would find its way to people in the street, who could no doubt put it to better use.

This debate hall will be demolished, with all of us long gone and buried, and the moon will eclipse us all, changed a bit each day but unchanging in its way.

The moon was created just right. Its system, shape, and means of absorbing violent strikes is perfection. Moonlight is the nighttime’s custodian of sunlight, its lumens determined by God and nothing else. The moon is ours to be inspired by, it is not ours to change.

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Fixing The Moon by Ara Hagopian.
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One Year Ago: February 21, 2020

Last year, in late February, I wrote the following piece. This occurred just before the nation-wide restrictions on nursing home visits. What you are about to read may never happen again, because people can’t freely visit nursing homes anymore. Let’s hope it changes.

From last year:

Last week, by accident, I made a new friend. She is one of the elderly residents at a local nursing home, and I happened to pass by her a few times. Each time I walked by, she smiled at me, as she sat in her wheelchair.

On my 5th pass I stopped to say hello. We talked for awhile, I asked her name and where she was from. She told me she had two sons, one was deceased and the other, she said, didn’t visit. Of course with the elderly their reality is their own story, which may be different than what’s really going on. I took her word for it.

Nursing homes are lonely places. I shook her hand and our ten minutes was the highlight of my day. I would like to see her again, hopefully tomorrow.

Here’s something I wrote for a photography exhibit. I’m posting it here, along with the picture that went with the words. I wrote this for a spot of grass, not an elderly person. But if you bear with me, and read it through, maybe you’ll feel like it could apply to my friend. Tell me what you think. Here it is, from MANHATTAN BEACH: 72 HOURS:

PLAIN GRASS. Somewhere near 11th Place, a resident had chosen to maintain a tiny spread of grass, where typically cactus or exotic flowers grew. The lot was about four by eight feet. The grass was free of weeds and was perfectly plain, growing long but not in need of a trim quite yet.

Underhand, she felt like a Golden Retriever’s coat, thick and orderly, demanding a careful touch and not minding a ten-minute stay. Let’s hear her voice. Here’s what she has to say:

“You walk by because I have nothing to interest you. If you’d stop, and sit, and give some attention, you would find so much more than you had passed by.

“As fate would have it, I can’t stop for you. I count on others to pause, and say hello, and put a hold on their world. It hardly ever happens, that’s the truth.

“Are there more interesting things in the world than I? Yes, there are. If you do what you do every day, you will never find the time to sit with me. There’s no justification for wasting your time; there will always be something more vivid, elsewhere, for you to seek.

“One day, you will make a mistake with your momentum and you’ll stop your world, and join me right where I sit. Before you realize I have very little to offer and you get up to move, think of this: You have something to offer me. And I do nothing all day but wait, for someone nice like yourself, to pay me a visit.”

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The Biggest Move

The biggest movement is stopping. That was what I was thinking in regards to art, which is my life. Too many times, when I’m busy, pre-occupied, and simply being functional, I don’t stop from points A to B.

That is an art-less life.

Odd as it seems, moving is the easiest thing, when I’m being functional. Pausing to listen, lingering in front of a painting, halting for a hallway’s photograph, pulling over to watch ducks on the water—stopping can be the hardest thing to do.

Stopping costs you time. Stopping spreads your time. Inflates your space. Stopping where there’s no one else means you’re the one who has a chance to appreciate what’s in front of you!

Stop and look, before it’s gone. Stop and look, before you’re gone. Stop, before it changes. Take it in, and then maybe, you can tell someone about it.

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An Inconsequential Being

If you ever want to see the evolution of thought, on the topic of life–such as animal life and plant life, then do no more than to look back to yourself. Think of how you treated living things when you were five-, ten-, and twenty-years old. Are you brave enough to remember? Look at it squarely; it was you, after all.

Now let’s play long ball, and move forward more decades. Consider your experiences with the losses of a parent, a friend, and a pet. How have they changed you?

If you see an arc of accommodation across the span of your years, from your young days until now, you can chalk it up to this: Life is scalable. Loss will implore you to look past size. The deaths of those who loved you will force changes to the person you’re growing to be.

One of those changes might be empathy. And empathy bleeds downwards, on the size-spectrum of life. Empathy wants no regulation to its flow. It’s the charity that turns no one away.

That is why I say, life is scalable. We feel for the big creatures, such as people; and the little ones too.

Your young-to-old arc of accommodation may be a slight curve, but over time the change is substantial.

I’m going to tell you a story of a being who’s inconsequential, to most. 

Last week, while I was shaving, I noticed a bug near the top of my bathroom medicine cabinet. It was climbing up the wood edge, towards the row of vanity lights. Antennas moving, body about an inch long, healthy as can be. At first I thought it was a large spider, but calm took over and I recognized what we generally term a “stink bug”. Benign, harmless. A pest.

First instinct: Kill it. Upon further review: Set it free.

But we had a problem. The January temperature that day was in the single digits. We had snowfall. I didn’t think he’d survive if I let him out.

I know stink bugs are occasionally in and around the house. I’ve vacuumed a few dried ones in the windowsill of my basement. When I saw a live one in the house last summer, I let him out the front door.

Not today.

 I decided to introduce him to a large potted vine I keep in the spare room. I carefully captured him in the tried-and-true glass and cardboard trap, and let him discover the greenery.

When I told my sister-in-law what I’d done, she said, “And what about all the babies she’s carrying on her back?”

We don’t know if my bug was in a family way, and I understood her point. Most people would probably feel the same way as she.

On Day 2, he had discovered the small table we kept near the vine. He looked like he might have a problem with his leg, by the way he was sitting still. I let him be.

Day Three he was on the rug. I used the glass to get him back to the vine. 

I decided to look up whether Stink Bugs could live in the cold, and what they might like to eat. Here’s what the searches brought up: “Why are they called Stink Bugs? How do you kill them? Are they dangerous, what poisons are safe to use, what damage do they do,” etc.

There was nothing regarding care, because the creature was deemed a pest. Between the internet and my SIL, I realized I was a lone man, regarding the preservation of an inconsequential being.

The searches mentioned that the bugs moved towards light, which explained the medicine cabinet sojourn towards Vanity Bulb Row. I also read that they ate vegetation. Have at my vine, fella. It’s all right.

Days Four and Five he was off the vine again, on the nearby window sill, and on the move. He wasn’t lame at all, quite alive and a glass walker. What talent!

Day Six saw quite a bit of snowfall. He was very active on the window again, and flew from the shade to the glass, back and forth. I could hear him while I worked. The whiteness of the snow must have attracted his sense of light.

By Day Seven I made a decision, he was going to be set free. My reason was this: He didn’t seem to care about opportunities on the vine. He just wanted out. I didn’t want him to dry up as I’d seen in the basement. I opened the window and let him go.

I wish I could tell you a good end to this story. There is not. The Stink Bug flew for a moment then landed hard into the snow-covered hedge below. From what I could tell, he remained buried. I’m guessing the shock of temperature did him in, right there.

If no one cares for this creature, that hits me in the pit of my stomach. If there’s no regard for him going about his life, then I need to write it out. He was not an inconsequential being, not to me. I have killed insects before and I will kill them again. I have saved a few and will continue as best I can. This is not uniformity; it’s just the truth.

It’s easy to set a pretty ladybug free. She could have a series of storybooks written about her and the illustrations would garner more emotion than half the greeting cards in the country.

Empathy slides past the ladybug and stops alongside the Stink Bug. Empathy bleeds down to new territory and brings me right along. I’m on the ride because the bug was minding its own business and at that moment, I could handle it. I tried helping out because back in the day, the people and pets I’d lost were looking for just one thing while I had them. They wanted to live. I wasn’t great at understanding this when I was young, but I have changed.

Day 7

.

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What is Wandering, part 2

Thursday I told you what I did two weeks away from home in 1976. And I told you why I did it. I expanded it with an analogy to the UFO I spotted that week (someone else was wandering far from home) and I anchored it with a hospitalized mother. Those two elements provided context for a ten-year old’s adventure.


Three days ago I told my mom about that moment in my life. I looked her in the eye and said, “you’re going to learn something about your son. You’re going to hear something new. I’m going to tell you what I did that time you were sick.”


On Easter 1976, my mom was preparing to host our extended family for the day’s dinner. Her stomach began to hurt badly, but there were a million things to do, and of all days, it had to happen today? She agreed to lay down for a moment. That turned into an emergency room visit. In the end, she had most of her lower intestines removed, and her three sons were temporarily sent to different relatives’ homes while dad focused on mom.


45 years ago a 45 year-old faced one of the worst moments of her life. When we, her family, were reunited a few weeks later, we were just jubilant she was all right. Two months later she was hosting my friends for my 11th birthday, and in September she was dancing at my sister’s wedding.


In all the joy of recovery, I never told her of my adventure. There was no cause to tell her. I was just a kid, I didn’t know how wrong it had been, what I’d done. I decided last weekend, now was the time for her to know.


She listened, patiently and wordlessly. When I was done, she said, “Oh, my.” I said, mom could you imagine if someone told you at the time: “Right now your son is wandering three miles from your sister’s house on Glenwood Road. And no one knows about it.”

The Russian story goes, “Everything’s stupid when it fails.” With my being okay that week, it’s easy to think that my three wandering walking days were really no big deal. Maybe so. Some foolish things don’t fail. That’s what we call luck.


To be able to share these thoughts with mom is a blessing. She would hold my hand today as fiercely and as firmly as she held it the day she had all those tubes in her and couldn’t speak to me. She has a grip with the strength given by her mother, who had seen much more difficulty in the old country. I am fortunate to be a beneficiary of such a grip.

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What is Wandering?

When I was ten or eleven years old, I stayed alone with my aunt and uncle in West Hartford, CT. This vacation lasted a week or two. They weren’t used to a child on hand for days at a time so I had many days on my own. I also went to work with them at the company they owned, a large photo developing plant.


For those weeks I was restless, and a wanderer, so my aunt kept me safe and out of her hair by tasking me to use a blank piece of paper to try and punch the employees’ timeclock exactly every ten minutes. I had to report to her on the hour with the evidence, then hurry back to the clock. It didn’t keep me from quick-duck exploring the plant and grounds, but it did prevent me from wandering off.


One time, driving home through Hartford, my uncle and I saw a real UFO. It looked like a dumpster-sized box with a small light flashing on top of it. It traveled slowly and I was excited to see it and report its details to uncle, his driver’s side view obstructed. The next morning we were having breakfast and the radio said a UFO was spotted over the city!


West Hartford is a very nice suburb and Glenwood Road was just a starting point for me. I’m sure aunt and uncle would have been fine with me reading the 1974 Guinness Book Of World Records (which I did devour, btw) but I got to walking–a lot. Thinking back, I put myself in danger, and no one knew about it.


I would simply start walking, one street to another. Glenwood to Mountain Road, which was a busy street with cars galore. Over a mile down Mountain I took a right to discover Westmoor Park. From there I walked to Coolidge Road and beyond. I was miles from home base and gone for hours.


I remember thinking, as long as I remember the street names I was juncturing, I could trace back. I didn’t think of the whole path; that would have been confusing. And if I got confused, I would have been lost. It was just, “This street will lead to that street which will lead to that street, which takes me to Mountain Road and home is off that.”


If my family knew what I was up to, they would have been concerned. Unfortunately my mom was in a Massachusetts hospital with a 50/50 chance of recovery, with a lower intestine disease. She was in a bent bed with tubes in her, and barely able to speak. My father was with her every night, but they felt it would be too much for me to be home at this time. Mom’s sister stepped up and took me in.


They brought me to the circus. Took me to New England Whalers games. Introduced me to Prestige Park and space ships in the 7PM sky. They cared for me and took my mind off mom.

What if, while on one of my long neighborhood walks, I’d lost control of my precious system and forgot the track back to my aunt’s house? I’m sure I would have been in tears. If a kindly set of parents found me on their streets, they’d ask: “Where’s your mother?”

In the hospital.

“Where is your home?”

Wakefield, Massachusetts. I’m staying with my aunt and uncle.

“Do they know where you are?”

No.

“Where do they live?”

The chances of someone knowing Glenwood Road would have been next to nil. They would have asked my aunt’s last name and I don’t think at that moment in my life I could have come up with it. Of course they would have got me settled and safe that afternoon, but oh what a lost boy I would have been. Never mind if an evil adult had come my way.

In all, I took a total of maybe three daily walks to that faraway neighborhood. Those were big, sunny days and adventures for me. I was far from where I was living, and even farther from home. Like a UFO over an Earth city.


What is wandering? Wandering is a free enterprise, gilded by no one’s permission and enhanced by secrecy. It causes a man to recall an obscure day of streets in 1976, beyond so many other days in his life. Wandering is a child’s risk, which is a horrible concept on paper but wholesome on his or her own terms. It’s being scared, with excitement just eclipsing the fear and the unknown. For me, most of all, wandering was a son’s mobility, when mom was stuck, far away.

My West Hartford wandering, 1976.

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The Cold Tear

One recent morning I was laying in bed, not thinking about anything in particular, and a tear came out of my right eye. It surprised me; I wasn’t sad or experiencing any feeling one would associate with tears. No mourning, no dread, no stress, no loneliness. Yet, the tear came out, and took the short route to my pillowcase.

The drop was cold. In duty to whatever allegiance it assigned itself.

What was I to think of this?

Generally speaking, I don’t need hard evidence to form a conclusion. Evidence is the vault of humanity’s folly. The vault is carpeted; it’s air-conditioned, neat and organized. It’s designed to assure you, to keep you from straying.

I like to wander.

I tend to conclude, and quite well, from a long line of soft points, observed over time and gathered here and there.

Why did I cry. If this were a movie, with a close-up of my face, there would have been a dissolve to another scene, from long ago. Perhaps we’d see a final goodbye, or two young people dancing, their entire lives in front of them. Maybe the camera would show you a picnic scene for two.

The camera would have shown you evidence. Pushed you into a locked room. Here is why this lone man was crying. Right here. This dance. This conversation. This picnic.

But, I haven’t been to a dance in ages. There are no traces left of any moving conversations. And I can’t really recall one specific memory that would warrant such a focus.

For the life of me.

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The Lost Wallet Photographs

I want to tell you a story about three pairs of strangers, and an old man they worked to serve. We can’t know the resolution to the story, for reasons that will be shown, but I can tell you what happened because I am the only person who interacted with each stranger.

This event happened Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, three days ago.

I was taking an afternoon walk on Groton Road in North Chelmsford, and as I crossed Marinel Avenue, I noticed one of those clear photo packets, like what men keep in their wallets. The packet was in the middle of the road and at first I wrote it off as just another lost item that will be ground up in short order, as Groton Road is heavily-trafficked. But then I stopped, turned, and picked it up. There was a picture of a pretty gal in the first partition, and the photo didn’t seem like some stock, throwaway thing. She looked to be someone who was somebody’s.

I got out of the road and gave her a quick look. The picture was black and white, and she looked 20-25 years old. I didn’t give a good examination of what I held, but the packet had maybe six sleeves to it, none with an obvious address or ID. I had a few quick thoughts.

This was a definite personal item. It had been lost or discarded. I dropped it back in the road where I found it. If the owner was looking for it, why disturb what I’d found?

Then, as I’ve done many times, I re-thought my quick decision. I took the packet back– of course I couldn’t leave her there. The sleeve would be crushed if it stayed in the street like that. Maybe I could lean it up against a phone pole? Maybe there was more info in the packet?

On the back of the photo “1966” was written in blue ink. I saw another, smaller photo with a man and a youngster when I heard a lady call to me, “Hey did you find that in the street?”

A woman and a man stood on the other side of Groton. “Yeah!” I said. She waited for traffic to clear then ran over to me. Her companion stayed on his side of the street.

She’d found the rest of the wallet. We compared what we had. She said, “These things look important.” I agreed. She asked, “Maybe we could mail it to him?” We looked through what she had and there was an address. “Do you want to mail it?” I asked. “Yes.” I handed her the photo packet, waved to her companion and went on my way.

I told you this was a story of six strangers, plus an old man, and you’ve met three of them– the gal with her half of the wallet, her friend who waited for us, and me.

I also told you we can’t know the resolution to this story, so stop reading if you’re one of those people who must know how it turns out. We can’t know, unless something grand happens.

Still with me? The next morning my wife came back from her walk and told me she saw that adorable Petey cat we always hoped to see in a certain window about a mile from our house, and three bunnies on a yard on Dunstable Road and oh yeah, two ladies were looking for their dad’s wallet on Groton.

What? I told her my story and we jumped in the car to get there. We sped and she told me I was driving too fast– the ladies were probably gone anyway. But no, they were there, searching a few streets up from where I’d found the packet. We parked and called to them across the street.

I told them I’d found the wallet. There was so much traffic at the moment, I couldn’t get into details and just had to wait interminably for the cars to clear. I crossed to the women and told them what had happened, and what I’d found.

They were ecstatic. I’ve blurred some of the details but this is the gist of what I remember. They told me their father was a widower and their mother’s photo was in his wallet. He was living in the elder residence facility nearby, someone had taken him for a cup of coffee and he’d left his wallet on top of the car.

I described the picture I saw, and yes, that was their mother. I walked the women to Marinel Avenue and to where I found the picture sleeve. I told them of the lady and man who’d found the rest of the wallet. I said the lady had agreed to mail both parts to the address that was listed on the medical card, and the ladies confirmed that was a good address. We talked a bit more but there was nothing else to be done. Satisfied, we parted.

Six people pieced together an odd occurrence in North Chelmsford this week. None of us knew each other; I don’t know if the gal actually mailed the items, nor do I know if the man received them, or if the correct address was used, etc. I trust that the items found the old man, because I can’t imagine how bad he must feel losing that special photo. His wife would be about 80 years old if alive today. Strangers did the best they could to make it right.

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The Pivot and the Model Pictures

For the past two years, 2018 and 2019, I was voted Member of the Year for a popular diecast model collectors forum, Model Hangar III. I make model photographs on a nightly basis and show the other people on the forum what I’ve completed.

Lorrie, who’s an English friend on Facebook, looked at one of my diorama photographs and said “It looks so real.” That is a nice compliment. Other times, hardcore scale modelers—not diecast model collectors—will pick out certain details and say the shot isn’t accurate, and the tank wouldn’t have fought that way, in that place.

Purist model makers also frown upon Photoshop effects and filters. “Why can’t you just show the diorama?” They ask. “Don’t manipulate the images like this.”

I agree that most diorama makers, other than myself, strive to make their scenes accurate and realistic. I enjoy looking at their work and what they can do.

My lot in life is different. I collect fine diecast models, which by nature are less accurate than what skilled modelers build and paint. I accept diecast models for what they are, and love the hobby of collecting them. I also love creating artistic pictures of my models in Photoshop, and other bits of software. The feeling stems from my experiences as a preteen when I started building models. The enjoyment from those days inspires the scenes and pictures I make today.

The pure fun from my 1976-78 days when my friend Tommy and I played with tanks and planes carries forward, and helps dilute my modern-day stress.

Here’s my philosophy on why I make my style of diorama pictures.

My goal is illusion. I’m not working towards realism. I am not trying to illustrate a particular event or probable occurrence.

If you like normal pictures, there are more on the internet than you could ever find the time to discover.

I want it to be seen that my subjects are models on sets, where the components are physically and then digitally integrated to create a believable place where that model exists. A place where, for a moment, the models and figures come alive.

I am creating the models’ place. Not what you have fixed in your mind as to what can and cannot be.

I am not depicting replicas of real things. I am showing you an actual real thing, which is the model itself.

Read that again, and then I’ll ask you: Can you alter your worldview, in the pivot I just provided? The “I am not depicting replicas of real things, I am showing you an actual real thing” thought is perhaps going to require that you, the viewer, change what you think about such diorama scenes.

Let’s set that aside for a moment, and talk about the process of transforming models into vibrant, or contrastingly stark, scenes. Models can take up an entire computer monitor eighteen inches wide, but in reality they’re so tiny, would you believe that three tanks could fit in the palm of your hand?

The main reason I use digital filters and effects is to knock down the sheen variations between the multi-media set pieces, and to give a scene a unified look. I also like to fill in corrective measures such as closing gaps between track and ground, adding backgrounds and skies, and removing seams, blemishes and flaws.

Making a picture artistic is important, because I want the scene to look pleasing.

With neither accuracy, history, nor realism being my goals, I’m free to let the models “come alive” and do what they could never do in typical static displays. For a moment, on your screen, the model and scenery are unified in a fantasy.

This is fantasy for sure, but within that realm, a real place is created. Yes, it begins on my kitchen table with tacky paste, miniature trees and bricks, but it doesn’t end with my final Photoshop click. For the picture to work, you have to look at it, and get involved with it. The picture is filled-in with your imagination.

It goes nowhere without you.

With my models and scenes, I am celebrating one thing: The immense joy I felt as a kid, playing with models and being with a friend.

Now, a few words to continue the pivot. Can you let an entrenched thought go, and consider a new idea? Come with me.

War is men fighting.
My photos are one man at peace.

War is suffering and death.
My photos are enjoying my life.

War is destruction.
My photos are construction.

War is heavy tanks.
My photos are light models.

War is the waste of youth.
My photos are the celebration of my youth.

War is nations pitted against each other.
My photos are me in daily chats with mates all over the world.

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What I Notice Is What’s New

Last week I took a walk down my street. I looked down and saw a growth of moss on the pavement. I passed it by. A few steps later I saw another tiny circle of green. I stopped. What was going on here?

What was happening exactly? Was I noticing the moss for the first time, or was this something new? New and nature don’t really go together. The Earth’s been doing it’s regular thing a long time. What I notice, is what’s new.

I took a few steps back and picked up both pieces. They weren’t attached to the ground. They weren’t sprouts. They weren’t from here, they were, actually, new. My walk was officially postponed.

There’s a length of grass and dirt adjacent to the road. I found a few more pieces of tiny, fluffy green. I picked them up.

The only way I could see what was in front of me was to get close. I crouched down and got within a foot of the ground. I’m sure I looked curious, but I am a curious kind of guy. The pieces of moss were strewn in an approximate ten-foot area.

From what I could conclude from a large indentation in the ground, a branch must have fallen here recently. It was gone now, but these growths must have come off during the violence of the drop, and removal.

I made four visits to this area in two days, to collect all I could. I had a plan, because I’m a planning kind of guy. These pieces, newly dead, would make perfect scale trees for my model photographic scenes.

The moss growths are in a dish, drying out now. Five tiny ants have emerged and I’ve relocated those creatures into some potted grass and fresh soil. My attention is back on the moss. The moss’s life has ended in one way and is starting another.

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