Absinthe ~ Sojourn with the Green Goddess

My glass of absinthe arrives accompanied by an Oscar Wilde quote: “A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world. What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?”

The hues reflecting into the window, while a sunrise instead of a sunset, agree with this claim: beauty, wrapped within inspiration. I make a silent toast and close my eyes.  Exhaustion slowly working its way through my body.

The fog of last night makes it difficult to remember how we met, but from the first touch, the first sip, I saw the world through a different lens. Light became particles dancing in front of me ~ waves of color never seen before, flowing and carrying me to my next destination.

I snap my eyes open part in fear of becoming sucked back into the night and disappointed to find she has not returned to sweep me away.  La fée verte.

Yesterday, late afternoon, I felt as if I was in the late 19th century, at the Old Absinthe House in New Orleans watching the world zoom past.  Picking out colors from the blur.

A beautiful blend of cultures, each offering a gift of inspiration and ingenuity to make this New World a better place.  Within a life full of pressure, the peaceful dance between us all relaxes me and I’m without a care.

It is here she reveals herself to me, a penetrating gaze.  Eyes with a story to tell, I look away.

She haunts me all day, her aura evolving with my mood: a day full of dreary work highlighted by a blinding beacon of light.  The sultry air accentuating her smile before slowly dissipating.

She, unknown, has taken a hold of me.

The falling rain mirrors both the loneliness and need for a new reality. I look down at my glass, artistically placed. The enlightenment begins, for to reach the glass I inevitability must brush ever so lightly against her.  Electricity.

A single drop of her potion, is it truth I seek?

Each sip, the world takes on a different meaning.  Her eyes reflect the cloud of green in my glass, twisting around me with a promise, “an experience, forever remembered…”  And she pours herself into my mouth and soul.

Absinthe.  This psychedelic myth, a catalyst for adventures from which many never return, and I suppose, never regret.

Rubbing my eyes, I am tired but in no way sleepy, and begin to play with excuses for my faulty memory and actions of last night.

“A curious soul has no choice but to wander this path…while a courageous soul owns this path.”  This is the rationale I replay continuously in my head. Experiences I’ve long desired, making the question of any regret irrelevant.

Inhale. Exhale.

Her eyes are the invitation. Her warm breath is the distant echo of summer and with a slight tilt of her shoulder, the light dress of summer falls to the floor.

A crisp chill of an autumn breeze hypnotizes me.  A season of change sweeps in and the Green Goddess begins the introduction into my soul; a quick read while hers, conversely, descends back millennia.  Impossible to comprehend.

I have no control and enjoy this feeling of helplessness. Hand in mine she leads me to new places, to realities never imagined and in doing so removes decades of stress from my psyche.

The golden hour of sunset has long since given way into the depths of the blue hour, slowly taking on a yellowish hue as the wicked green hour swallows me whole.

Her invitation had long ago been accepted.

Absinthe, on the rocks with a 3:1 water ratio and a mind open to change and acceptance.  My adventure begins around my third glass… along with another Oscar Wilde quote:

“After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were.  After the second, you see things as they are not.  Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”

“Seeing things as they really are…” Politics of fear shuts borders while diversity fuels bold ideas.  Cowards hoard power while the courageous share.  And evil only exists as a contrast to good.

“Why are there such extremes not only around the globe,” I ask, “but within myself as well?”

The Green Goddess watches as I try to make sense of the world, letting her poison soothe me before adding, “there are people with so much, yet they are completely miserable. And there are people with so little, yet they are incredibly happy.”


Lightly she pushes me down on the sofa, beads of rain glistening off her skin. “It’s because those in power fear change.  Fear to lose their power to those who dream.  Who fantasize.  Who achieve.  Frozen in the past, unchallenged, they create a barren reality where escape is impossible.”

There’s an empty sadness in her voice.  “Be part of the answer.”  She rises and before walking away, leaves a quote hanging in the air. “In the words of John Milton from Paradise Lost,” she exhales, tears running down her cheeks, “The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

Disappearing from the doorway, I hear her faint response blend with the slamming of the door, “Choose heaven…”

Yes.   Life is what we make of it.

Experience it.  Let go of fear.  Embrace differences.  Pursue.  And understand a little absinthe can go a long way…

“… artistic discovery is a never-ending journey where we see both the best and worst of ourselves.”  For appreciation of an artist, a recent post by the Holistic Wayfarer,  Writing: A Hermit’s Journey

175 Comments on “Absinthe ~ Sojourn with the Green Goddess

  1. Very creative imagery in words and pictures, this sounds like a night out on the town, where the green potion of choice makes everything seem magical at the time. The hard reality is we wake up and have to deal with the truth which is harder to hide in daylight. Sitting uneasy with our hangovers and maybe even regrets of the night that past in a colourful haze. We have all been there at some point, human nature is an interesting study Randall. A different angle from you, changing it up keeps life interesting, well done.

    • Very true Kath, this post in a sense was the accumulated experiences of those times of imbibing a bit too much. Everything seems to be a good idea during the nighttime, and then comes the ‘day of reckoning’ the following morning. 🙂 Sometimes a perfect catalyst for creativeness, but more times than not, the complete opposite! A definite change of pace for me here. Cheers to a great weekend.

  2. Love this green and slightly blurred mood and your narration. Absinthe has acquired quite a bad reputation for reasons I have never understood. My parents kept a bottle of absinthe in a cupboard in case someone gets an upset stomach, which makes sense because all its ingredients are specifically stomach-healing herbs. There is no mystery in absinthe. Playful green fairies and their queen are to blame 😉

    • I never fully understood the bad reputation either, as you say it started out as a medicinal drink ~ and I like to think of it as such 🙂 I think like you Petticoat Loose post, it is fun to let another side of creativity loose every now and then. Cheers to a great weekend.

    • It is always a bit fun to let the creative mind take over and run with it 🙂 Thank you Val.

  3. Oh, Randall. Truly enjoyed your creative encounter with the Green Goddess in N.O. Pure magic. Life is indeed what we make of it…learning that again and again.

    • Something special about New Orleans, I enjoyed the city and overall relaxed environment much more than I imagined. A part of the States I’ve never visited, so in many ways it felt like a foreign country 🙂 You are so right, life always has something new for us to adjust to, as difficult as it may be at times. Wishing you a great week ahead.

    • Thanks, Rabirius, it parallels my thoughts with the many experiences over the years so nice to be able to create a post where the concepts turn into words (and photos) 🙂

  4. The dizzying captures of your photography are a fitting tribute to the highs of life. Disorientation is a strong indication of letting go. I find that very hard to do. The few moments in which I have — have been liberating! Great post as always! 🙂

    • Very much agree with you, Cheryl, there is something about letting go and seeing what else is out there that is very liberating ~ a new sense of freedom to make life richer. From your adventures, I can sense you share the same thoughts of finding what else is out there :-).

  5. Your photos play on the intoxicating elements of life… including alcohol and sex… The woman’s gaze held you, as your words said.. and you continue to hold us entranced with your quality posts!

    • Thank you very much, Christy. This post was one of those opportunities to cover pieces of life we often tend to keep out of view/out of mind but play an important part of being human. Trying to figure out just what life is about 🙂 Cheers ~

    • Looking to make it a great week ahead, thank you very much, Aquileana ~ wishing you the best.

  6. Very interesting trip, we felt can feel it through pics and words. Really loved this post. It’s different and felt like you were taking me on an intoxicating journey. Having crazy fun in Czech?

    • Ha, ha, yes it was nice to be able to combine really three countries into this post: Czech, USA (New Orleans) and Hong Kong where I ended up writing this piece ~ it was a perfect recipe of chaos for me 🙂 Cheers to a great week ahead!

  7. This was so deliciously sonorous, I only have one thing to say … “I’ll have what he’s having— and bartender, make it a double.” I love the extraordinary beauty of your world.

    • Now, this may be the classiest line I’ve had written here in a while (perhaps since the last time you wrote something!). Yes, definitely make it a double, and wishing you a perfect break and hope to hear from you soon. Cheers to both a great Sunday and coming week ahead W., thank you!

      • You’re welcome! I love your world. A double dose suits me well -straight, no chaser. 🙂 I’ll be back before our 2nd Anniversary … you know the one. January 18th .. International Winnie the Pooh Day. I just wouldn’t be able to celebrate it with anyone else~ Hoping new enchantments find their way into your week!

      • Straight with no chaser ~ a girl after my own heart! January 18th ~ look forward to this anniversary with a smile 🙂 Enjoy the day…

    • A bit different post than I usually write, but felt the same getting lost in both the photography and writing 🙂 Thank you, Kamila, wishing you a wonderful day.

  8. This ethereal offer of yours, an allowance into your mystic mind, is most exciting. Honestly, after that second paragraph you had me convienced, unware of where you were going, but willing of the journey. Not just anyone can accomplish what you do. Your muse looks good on you, Randall. Diana’s writing is true and honest talent. I look forward to reading her post, as well.

    • Ha, yes after that second paragraph I think I too had no idea where I was heading with all this and therefore just decided to let it flow letting the pieces fall where they wish 🙂 I was just finishing a longer than normal series of trips, and nothing felt better than being able to sit down a create with words ~ this post provided me the needed downtime and relaxation Aud, I think you can understand how a creative process can deliver us to another world at times 🙂 Wishing you a great Sunday and even better week ahead.

      • Of course, I can relate. Allowing yourself to wind down enough, so that your heart comes out so purely as it did here, is when we benefit. Thank you for taking us with you. Nowhere else I’d rather be. Enjoy your week, Photographer Philosopher Extraordinaire

      • 🙂 Something about those moments where you just let go and escape into wherever it is you wish to go 🙂 Wishing you a great day ~

  9. Well done, Randall! Mystical, intriguing and captivating narratives and images in one post! That’s it, “life is what we make of it.” Thank you for sharing another inspiring post!

    • Thank you, Indah, it seems we are on similar paths ~ just coming at life from different areas: me West to East, and you East to West…so much to explore and discover. No matter where we are, there is nothing quite like understanding “life is what we make of it.”

  10. Wonderfully moody and vividly sensual! You are an absolute magician with your words and lens Randall.

    • Thank you very much, Madhu. The mood within the photos made the writing flow, those are the moments I love.

  11. Intriguing post, Randall. I like the green theme throughout your photos here. I don’t have any experience with absinthe but I feel I might need to try sometime.

    • It is actually a pretty flavorful alcohol, I put it on par with some of the Chinese bai-jius (白酒) and especially the Chinese medicinal herbal liquors you find on the mainland. The post is almost an agglomeration of experiences I’ve had… Very much worth trying. Wishing you a great November…I’m missing HK right now, a little cold here in Czech 🙂

      • Ok, I have tried baijiu but I don’t quite like it, ha. Thanks, I hope you have a good November too in Czech Rep. I am not in HK anymore as I moved to Taiwan.

      • Baijiu definitely an acquired taste, but then along with the culture and history is pretty fascinating 🙂 Taiwan is fantastic, enjoy!

  12. I have always liked your sense of duality as that has been part of my thinking to. You can’t appreciate the light without dark, health without sickness, good without evil. I don’t think humans have the capacity to understand without contrast. What a fun and sexy post supported with glorious images seen through that green haze. At times the writing style felt like the narration cadence of an old time detective novel. Moody and marvelous.

    • The duality of nature is one I’ve been fascinated with for almost my whole life ~ Lao Zi and the Dao de Jing is wrapped around this thought as well. We need contrast in life, for understanding the outside world as well as our inner worlds. I find it a fascinating topic, and at times there is nothing like a little drama to bring it all out 🙂 Enjoyed your comment about the cadence of writing, it was the tone I felt with the photography and hoped somehow to pass it into the writing. Thank you, Judy, for noticing 🙂

      • Just saw your note back. I really did like the tone of the writing. Perfect for the images and subject matter. I have been thinking of tasting the predicate drink ever since.

  13. Pingback: China Sojourns Photography

  14. 😁 Oh Randall… I’ve never had the fortune (or misfortune) of trying the green goddess. Your brilliant post has instilled me with a blend of curiosity and dread. If I were to summon the courage, I’m sure Tricia would insist that the camera stays at home. 🙂

    • Ha, ha ~ yes, sometimes it is best to leave the camera behind… The Green Goddess would definitely treat you well, with all the travel and creative video work you do, I think she’d have many questions for you and Tricia and all you’ve seen during your sojourns. Cheers to a great final couple months of ’17. 🙂

  15. Life seen trough a bottle of Absinthe. Your words and your photos are like one composite poem, beautiful, touching, sad and melancholy – full of wisdom. You make it all come together as a spiritual invitation, an invitation into the human soul. Even for me who have never enjoyed the tast of the green goddess…

  16. Fabulous work, Randall. You have outdone yourself. Again. Wow, this is pure magic! 🙂 We have to get a bottle, have never tried this stuff. 😉

  17. A green beauty
    Heaven in full might
    With a Goddess by night

    O elixir of reality
    If only for the sake of ever sipping ya
    Keep me company!

    (Admitted or not—in one way or another, everybody wants an apple, I guess 🙂 )

  18. Good afternoon, dear Randall,
    oh dear, unfortunately we don’t have some Absinthe to sip from while writing. What a great article, well written and well photographed!
    As Absinthe was such a topic in art we tried it and were amazed how strong it is. Wow, it makes you see the Green Goddess after a couple of sips. We liked this ritual how you preparing it let it run over the sugar. Drinking the Absinthe then has the flair of an erotic, twilight world, we liked and at the same time we were a little afraid of – oh dear, how rigid we are … At least it made us aware of our limitations. And it tasted sweet like sin. We can very well relate to your photography, we suppose the Green Goddess did help 😉
    Wishing you a happy pre-Christmas time
    The Fab Four of Cley

  19. The Oscar Wilde quote really brought the entire piece together; fascinating combination of photos, philosophy, and travel.

  20. An intriguing, creative and tempting post. I know of Absinthe but have not tasted it. I feel I should now.

  21. An intoxicating night, your words and photographs transmit that state in which mind has passed that threshold in which we limit ourselves with conventions. If my dreams were not lifelike it would be something I should indulge more frequently, if I try Absinthe certainly I will think in this moment, reading you.

    • Wonderful thought, and I this is the exact feeling I had and wanted to give the reader: “…mind has passed that threshold in which we limit ourselves with conventions.” The mind, as in life, has so many places to see and experience ~ so it is good to dream and wonder about all that is out there 🙂 Thank you very much, Francis.

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