Judging without knowing, giving opinions when nobody has asked.

Judging without knowing, giving opinions when nobody has asked.

Standing by the Stobo road, peacefully getting on with my own work…I have just found another carcass, another victim of the road! So many animals die on our roads hit by cars, some of which are often driven too fast on these country lanes not allowing enough time to  slow down and stop to let the animals cross to the other side, safe once more.

As an artist I get inspired by life, and everyday experiences. These days  is mostly my own personal experiences that spark a light, and give birth to the idea for a new project, allowing me the creative space to explore and reflect on life, and in this particular case is about my own reflections on death.

Since I hit my forties, death became a constant presence, and for many years it caused fears and anxieties. I dreamt it, I felt it rushing through my veins mixed with my blood and there were times when death felt more alive than my blood. 

No I wasn’t suicidal or had any desire to die, in fact it was the exact opposite, I didn’t want to die! I was so scared of my own physical disappearance from this world…but was it truly about the physical death? I didn’t know!

So, being me, my inner work along the new path of discovery and getting to understand death began. I cannot tell you how, or what I did….all I know is that I was walking on it, and I was going for sure to understand the whys and whats in my own way, as we all have our own ways to understand such things and none is wrong or right, they are just different languages that each one of us speak, maybe to refine it even more I would say they are like lots of different dialects spoken within the infinite regions of our unconscious mind.

Death was asking me to face it, to look at it in the eyes without trembling, and I was trembling for sure….a lot in fact. I always admired those people who were not afraid of it, I even had the fortune to meet children who were not afraid of death. They were like little gentle and peaceful warriors that just accept it without any resistance for what simply is.

Today, I’m still on that journey, but not as scared as I was, I’m a lot more relaxed about it, but still exploring it, and slowly making acquaintance with this other aspect of life which we call death. In the past few years, I’ve explored it through my creative work as a photographer, and taking portraits of “road kills”, is one of them. I don’t do it because I enjoy blood or the sight of it. For me, it is one way to look at death in close proximities, I need to see what it looks like and most importantly I need to feel it. 

Well, yesterday I was just doing that…I’ve noticed a fresh carcass of a beautiful badger that got killed on that road and I had to stop, I wanted to go back and take some portraits of its empty carcass, no soul, no heart beat, no blood running in its veins to keep that body warm any longer, it was the end of its physical experience….where is its spirit gone now?…I wondered!

I was very aware of the traffic, and cars passing fast, and I was very careful not to cause any problems to those drivers, so made sure I kept off the road, as I didn’t want to end up like the badger. Suddenly a funky red car with flowers stickers all over, came almost to a stop; I noticed a blond, young girl at the wheel, she passed me, than stopped, then reversed back to where I was standing well away from the road. She looked at me and she said: “That is sick and wrong what you are doing! What are you doing that for? Taking photos of a poor badger, would you like someone to come and take photos of you dead on the side of the road? You are sick, your mind is sick! “

I was surprised and shocked and replied that she had no idea who I was, or what I was doing exactly, neither she knew the reason for what I was doing…but she just continued judging me for what she saw and perceived in her own state of mind. Then she left with more foul insults!! 

At that point, I did something wrong, because in that particular moment I lost control over my own upset-ego and showed her my middle finger that she could clearly see in the mirror, and I wanted her to see it…Oh yes!

In retrospective, that was wrong, because that action brought me down to the same level, so there was no difference between me and her in our actions; I lost my coolness and focus there and then while instead I could have simply put the palms of my hands together in a sign of peace, like they do in Bhuddism and in Hindu culture. A beautiful gesture of greetings and go in peace I always loved…but totally forgot it in that moment, because I allowed myself to become upset after her commentary. 

Few minutes later, an older couple, in a big car, stopped. The man could not resist, asking what I was doing there photographing a dead badger!? I gave a very brief explanation and explained I was a photographer, and my concern about roads, fast driving and animals getting killed. He just couldn’t wait to tell me his opinion…but he asked me first if I wanted to hear it! I said yes, don’t know why…because I wasn’t really interested in his opinion or anyone else opinion, I wasn’t there to ask people’s opinions about the death of the badger or about what i was doing there….I wasn’t really interfering with anyone else life. Anyway, since I accepted hearing what he had to say, there he went: “ Do you know how many people get killed on the roads?” he said.

“These badgers are a vermin!” I would worry about people but you would not go and take photos of people who died on the road?!” - Then I thought that actually police most probably take photos of accidents and people who have died, to add to the paper reports…but maybe not, and that was an irrelevant thought.

They left.

I re-focus and finished what I was doing, admiring the beautiful fur of the badger, the breeze was caressing it gently, and the late afternoon sun was shining on the carcass, I saw ‘Beauty’! 

There was nothing sick or ugly or tabu that my eyes could see, only the beauty of that moment, and a small farewell prayer to such a beautiful creature who for a while inhabited the earth adding its natural contribution to all life! 

Life and Death are intertwined and never separate!

Life and Death are just two aspects of life! 

How wonderful and beautiful is this!

Peace & Love to all (Blond girl in red flowery car and older couple in big car are included)

Hanisa

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