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.”

Why?

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

172 Comments on “Absinthe ~ Sojourn with the Green Goddess

  1. Wonderful photos and prose. And life is certainly what we make of it no matter the hand we may be dealt.

    • You say it well, we play the hand we are dealt with the best we can, and enjoy the game while we are in it. You’re a good example of this. Wish you a great autumn ahead Timothy.

  2. Beautiful evocative writing: thank you for sharing some of your journey with the green fairy.

    • La fée verte ~ she is a pretty interesting companion 🙂 Thank you very much for the nice words.

  3. Ah Randall, you know how much I love your photography and this post is no exception (esp the colorful shop reflected in the rainy pavement). You’ve really shown your mastery of DOF for mood creation on this one. But I must add you’ve also woven one of your most magical tales this time as well. Very film noir. Wonderful. I can just see Bogey playing the lead 😊.

    • Your comment made my day Tina ~ I think it was Bogart I was picturing the whole way 🙂 The shop reflected on the rainy pavement was the first photo I had in mind on this piece, it had a peaceful beauty to it and part of the attraction I have for New Orleans. The city had a mood I never imagined, and coming from the Pacific Northwest I had to keep reminding myself I was in the States (granted I spend most of my time outside of the States anyway). A beautiful creative energy there, and fit in well with the photos from Budapest and good ole’ Hong Kong. Wishing you a calm, storm-free, autumn Tina, take care 🙂

    • Sidran, this may be one of the most valuable comments I’ve ever received 🙂 I admire Wong Kar-wai, one of my favorite directors. A very unique style, was introduced to him after my first trip to Hong Kong where I stayed at the Chungking Mansions. ‘Chungking Express’ remains my favorite movie of his, in part because I also met Faye Wong years later in Beijing. Lyrical and poignant ~ yes, that is Wong Kar-wai. Perfect, and thank you.

      • Thank you very much. This is one of the best
        responses I have had. Wong Kar-wai is one of my favorites. I am partial to In The mood for Love. Still remember the sparkling impish Faye Wong. Tony Leung is also a great actor and I was remembering him while I was in Bhutan as he had got married there. I am not too impressed with Wong Kar’s recent movies. Nice knowing that you are inspired by this artistic genius.Cheers!

      • I’m going to have to watch In the Mood For Love again, it the favorite of my friends ~ a good weekend for it! Agree, his early material is brilliant. He’s one of a kind, a global inspiration. ~ Enjoy the weekend 🙂

  4. The fear that keeps those in power scrambling to preserve their place keeps us from asking more of ourselves. Naked woman aside, this is something we are struggling with at the moment with our son, in our own way. We want to see him asking for more of himself; he shows no intrinsic motivation. I am proud of you for all the things you have pursued, R. I’ve no doubt your parents feel the same and more. And I appreciate the honors, I don’t take it lightly. I know you guard your gallery jealously (and rightly), and wouldn’t hang just anyone’s name on the door.

    • Your opening sentence captures the essence of what I wrote, how external forces keeps us from asking more of ourselves. I can say that up to the age of 25, my parents would have said the same about me, wanting to see me “asking for more of himself, he shows no intrinsic motivation.” My reply would have been simple “I have none because I do not know what I want nor what is out there…” To my great fortune, my parents let me explore and pursue without limits. Words of wisdom, yes, but encouragement to make this life my own. I’m sure they worried as did I, those moments we all have when venturing out in life again and again. Tennyson will find his way, without a doubt 🙂

      Being able to search and find the true freedoms we have, to understand how fortunate we are in the West to be able to pursue is something special. Much of the feeling behind this post is reflective of the US becoming torn apart with politics, with excessive bickering on both extremes, unwilling to seek a true understanding. Powers that be wish to keep things secure, remain at status-quo and stagnate, stay frozen in time. Fear of the unknown. The divisiveness that is tearing up society in the US right now may be a necessary step for us to grow. To become better. One-step-back, two-steps-forward kind of advancement…yes, I am an optimist.

      Then again, maybe when the clock rings 5pm, it is time to pour another glass 🙂 Thank you very much D., and wishing you and your family well.

      • I’ve sent your first paragraph to Mr. Wayfarer in the hopes of encouraging him on the heels of our distraught discussion about T. The thing is, T has had every luxury to date – which grieves me to think upon, in light of the nothing that he’s doing with it. We’ve made it a point to expose him to a lovely spectrum of experiences, physical to aesthetic, to present him options for himself. In any case, I appreciate how you used the current darkness of politics as a hopeful flash point for art, R. If we (the world) survived the Holocaust, I suppose we will plow past this, though the worrywart in me wonders at what cost. That 5 o’clock drink sounds wise, lol. I had to wonder if you wrote your post before or after mine. I love the shared currency of the muse. 😉

    • I feel the same way, Sue, wish I could be there right now. The atmosphere of the city suited me very well, enjoyed the people, culture and of course the food very much. I was happily surprised how much I enjoyed New Orleans. 🙂

    • Thank you, Takami, wishing you a beautiful autumn too ~ should be some beautiful scenery for you to shoot. 🙂

  5. There are many layers of truth here and the harsh reality of our choices on your magical green journey! We are creating our reality with every choice. Wonderful quotes and photos Randall ☘🍀

    • It is always interesting to see the fine line between truth and harsh realities, and how we deal with it. You say it well, with the many layers of truth, with such a fine line it is up to us to create our own reality with every choice. Thank you very much, Karen.

  6. Randall, this is such a wonderful, evocative post! Thanks to this, I will never see absinthe, or anything really, in the same way again. We are so used to objectifying things, but only if we see our connections with those ‘objects’ more deeply, can we peel the layers of ourselves and ask questions we otherwise wouldn’t think of.

    • Ha, ha, it is always good to get a different perspective to see things in a new light 🙂 Thank you Bama, and agree only by peeling through the layers can we fully understand all sides of a story. Until then, asking questions and peacefully figuring things out is my preferred method. Cheers to a good day ahead!

    • A bit of a change of pace for me, enjoyed the writing portion quite a bit. Thank you, and wish you a fine start to the autumn Dana.

      • A big change, same pleasure to read your words at the end of a hard day.
        Wish you the same!

  7. Wow. Every bit the evocative, provocative, edgy, dreamy and vulnerable post and images all rolled into one. I’ve never tried absinthe in my life, and don’t drink because I physically can’t tolerate alcohol – one sip and my head starts to spin. But I suppose that is what you feel in the process of getting high (whichever means one chooses to) and having a good time that makes the heart beat.

    ‘no control and enjoy this feeling of helplessness. I think that’s a very pleasurable feeling – to have no control, to be free, to surrender yourself to what comes to you in the darkest hour. Maybe during this moment you’ll discover something and something within you awakens – and perhaps an epiphany in the most fleeting moments.

    For me, I observe and feel most awake when night falls. My poison of choice is chocolate and chips on an average night when I want to enjoy myself. Pretty tame. But then there are days when the stresses of reality get to me and let’s just say I like to pop some off the shelf medication to feel a bit better. Let’s just say sometimes I take quite a few…and the high that comes with it makes me feel like anything’s possible again, sort of like an out of body experience as you feel like you are more than you are. As you alluded to, sometimes that is just what we need to feel again.

    On the subject of change and power, I think that’s very true. Some of us at the top resist change because without that golden throne we feel we are nothing and don’t serve a purpose. To be honest I find moving forwards hard as I find comfort in routine. The OCD and anxiety parts of me likes to be in control. But of the times I’ve let go, I’ve always had a revelation.

    Also very interesting use of the colour green in this post. Absinthe, green. Lights, green. Even the sunrise at the end is a touch of green. It’s the colour of jealously, the opposite colour of the red light district, and arguably it’s the most calming colour to look at.

    Great post as usual, Randy. Always worth the wait for each one.

    • This post mirrors the feeling of venturing out. New cities, but even more so new cultures that get the creative process churning for me. Being in a new situation or having a new experience allows me a different perspective than I otherwise might not have. This post’s foundation came from such feelings, with the photography and writing being able to blend-in together. It is a little funny, in a sense, as my style is not one that would normally include such photography in a post, but it was such a “must have” here ~ fitting the myth of absinthe and such a part of life. :-).

      During those rare epiphanic moments, you describe so well, when everything flows together, I know the exact photograph/words I want, and getting them is a feeling of the world lining up just perfectly. The philosophy of Lao Zi (Dao de Jing) describes this well.

      Absinthe made for a perfect topic, as I do enjoy it ~ but there is this undercurrent of misunderstanding with the drink as well that fits so perfectly with the societal chaos in the US right now too. In a sense, I hate change too…but change does demand us to act, and it is amazing to see how often people thrive when forced to act. Good can result if change is encouraged and understood.

      Sometimes, though, I think it is best to play dumb and focus on the simple the beauty of life: raw sketchiness, vivid imagery, and if we are lucky a little romance. 🙂

      I like your take on green ~ it has such a different feel than other colors, especially red. Definitely had the feel and the undertone of jealousy…I like it. Thank you for a great response Mabel ~ wishing you a great day (and autumn).

      • You said it very well, that new experiences bring new perspectives. They put us out of our comfort zones, and if we willingly allow ourselves to free fall, we may experience a kind of euphoria we’ve never felt. The world lining up so perfectly is always a rare, rare thing and often we don’t want it to end.

        But those moments do come to an end as you mentioned in your post – and that’s where change comes in almost so seamlessly, almost unknowing as we ride the highs. Hard to see you hate change because from what I’ve read and seen of you, you seem very much flexible 🙂

        I know playing dumb to well…just think simple, keep things simple. A little romance never hurt…it’s a feeling that makes you want more 😉 ❤

        Wishing you are great autumn, Randy. Here we're hurtling so fast into spring and I am loving it 😀

      • Nothing quite like it when one is in a zone, seems like nothing can go wrong, and we never want to change. And then there are the other times :-).

        I dislike change, but also realize that it is a catalyst for good, so I do not fear it any longer 🙂 I think my business in China made change a constant companion, as things moved so fast here. My sister gave me a good line when I first left for China and I’ve used it ever since: take it slow, keep it simple. And I’m amazed at how well it works. Wish you a great weekend ahead Mabel.

      • Your photography seems to always be going to new heights, levels and places too. That kind of creative change over the years must been so, so, sweet 🙂 Love that line from your sister. I will keep it in mind. Wishing you a good day and a good week, Randy 🙂

  8. Wow Randall. What a dreamy and creative divergence from your usual post. Kudos! And beware the charms of Diana greek goddesses and absinth. 🙂 May we choose love.

    • It is a bit of a divergence from my normal photography and writing ~ but still the same feeling of getting lost in an idea and letting go 🙂 Thank you very much Brad, and yes, I think it is a good idea to understand the risk of being charmed ~ so, in the end, you go willingly.

  9. What an amazing journey you have taken us through, as we venture into the labyrinth of the mind.. Through that haze of thought, you evoke emotion through the seduction and lure we of the modern world often fall prey, as the addiction to find answers through the bottom of a glass..
    A glass which for some view as half empty and for others who view it as half full.. Depending upon our fate. And to how our perceptions are coloured.

    Your play on words, and the tantalising images evoke us to See what we have become..
    Questions of Why?

    As ‘she’ takes hold, and the reality of the night sink in..
    ““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.”

    ‘She’ is right… ‘Be part of the answer..’
    It all comes down to our choices.. And I have been through a similar searching within my mind recently as I vented, then I rose above my negative emotions..

    Life is indeed what we make it.. And we have been making our lives far to complicated, with our attachment to THINGS.. Which is why coming back to your part about Why those with wealth are unhappy and those who have nothing are happy..

    Those with wealth spend their lives thinking the more they have the more happier they will be.. Then worry as they fear who is about to take it all from them, and how to hang onto it..

    While those who have nothing, life is simple, Things do not hold importance. Their lives are what is important.. Often because they are so busy living in the now of each of their days trying to survive the now.. Yet so many times those with nothing hold the largest smiles.. Because they hold no fear..

    Which is why I also like to Dream… Envision the impossible dream… For I know LOVE far out ways the energy of fear if we truly begin to embrace it..

    May we continue to seek the best in ourselves Randall, This truly was a wonderful thought provoking post . And your artistic skill in the photo’s amazingly beautiful illustrations ..
    Many thanks for sharing..
    Blessings Sue 🙂 ❤

    • The description in your first paragraph is perfect. “Through the haze of thought…evoke emotions through the seduction and lure we of the modern world often fall prey…” And it is our perception of our reality, our life, where we make the decision on whether the glass is half-empty or half-full. How we chose to live, act and in the end decide whether we wish to spread/feel happiness or allow our spirit to get locked up in conflict, spreading dissension all around.

      Of course, there are days my mood is at the other extreme, this is simply a part of life and living, but when considering what is important in life ~ it is as you write above: living without fear and holding onto the simple pieces of life is where happiness lies. Thank you very much Sue for putting this together, such a thoughtful piece of writing.

      • You are most welcome Randall, Your posts always hold a deeper meaning.. And our Moods are often reflected in our posts..
        Taking that step back to look through the Haze of though, is in its own way our firsts steps to healing that which we see is taking us away from our centre.
        So much of the addictions we see in the world today, be it phones, alcohol, gambling, drugs, smoking, or a sweet tooth.. Each one is a replacement, a comforter of something lacking within..
        Finding our inner balance, and altering our perception, learning to live in gratitude for the small things, and seeing how others live with so little, is indeed humbling..

        Many thanks Randall , I always love your posts and excellent photography.

  10. This is an amazing post. It is dreamlike how the absinthe infuses your photos and your thoughts. I first had absinthe at the Old Absinthe House when I was twenty and a student at Tulane in New Orleans. I wasn’t asking questions about what I wanted to do or having romantic phantasies. I did learn the word phantasmagoric in those days. Maybe that was enough.

    • It was nice to come face-to-face with the myth of absinthe 🙂 Tulane ~ wonderful. I considered attending Tulane’s Freeman Business School but did not mainly due to my advisors (they thought it would be a culture shock for a kid from small-town Oregon!) ~ I should have listened to my heart. What a city, and it would be great to sit down with you over a glass of absinthe and talk about your time there. 🙂 Agree with you, learning the word phantasmagoric is enough 🙂

  11. A creative post, i laud your imagination here. I don’t drink so couldn’t relate with a few emotions…i just imagined them though 😛

    • Yes, I think absinthe or any drink is no match for the imagination 🙂 So many emotions our imagination can conjure, a gift we all have.
      Thank you very much Alok ~ wish you happy travels and a great autumn ahead.

  12. Moody and evocative, even more than your usual high standards. I’ve never tried absinthe, so I can only guess at how much inspiration it rendered. As for that final truth, it does seem like some of those in power flex it to cover for their own fears and insecurities, not realizing that if they had real power new ideas would not subvert their power but rather add to it.

    • Thank you very much Dave, it seemed a perfect post to begin autumn with ~ my favorite season of the year. The green anise used in the production of absinthe, give it a strong licorice flavor which is very refreshing more me, granted I do not drink much (I’m hearing my friends laugh at this comment…). I think you absolutely nail it about those in power having such strong fears and insecurities ~ where only those who understand if they share the power, create transparency, there is so much more to have.

    • Thank you Eliza. With this post, more than any other, the blending of writing and photography came very naturally, synchronized so I was not quite sure whether the story or photographs came first 🙂 Enjoy the autumn, and wish you well.

  13. A very different Dalo here. Not the clear well-focused Randall Collis photos, but dreamy, impressionistic ones. I am not a poetry man, but the visuals were a different story: I got drunk!

    • Very much enjoyed adding the gritty, surrealistic feel with these photos – thank you very much Kowie. Nothing like getting drunk on words and visuals. Enjoy the coming autumn and wish you the best!

  14. I never knew so much can be said about a drink. Awesome photos! Like the dreamy, surreal feel to them.

    • I’m with you…and then I met the Green Goddess, and there is enough to write a few books 🙂 Thank you Edwin, very happy you enjoyed the photos.

  15. Answer: one is more intoxicating than the other but neither compares with a passion recalled. Best documentary 🙂

    • Yes indeed, Mary, nothing can compare to the passion/artistry in which we all react and respond to the world 🙂 A fun documentary to make as well 🙂 Wishing you a great springtime ahead ~ as we head into autumn here in the north 🍂

      • Though I am enjoying spring I love autumn and am glad to have it to look forward to.

  16. Such a psychedelic tribute. As someone who is a connoisseur of absinthe, I know your words and photos are not contrived. There is no other intoxication like it. Like wandering into a tunnel of clouds. I think I tried the green stuff once…but then I discovered La Blanche. The white. Made by a tiny distillery in the south of France. So smooth you can drink it straight, without sugar even. The fairy becomes an angel.

    I have not been getting notification emails for your posts. Very annoying.

    • You’ve answered my prayers, Julie, thank you 🙂 I will definitely have to set up a date with La Blanche…with the dream of the fairy becoming the angel you describe. I’ve heard of the white, but my absinthe experiences are with larger mass production or some stingingly strong Czech brands. Mmmmm, I’m looking forward to the next appearance of my Green Goddess 🙂 Wishing you well in your travels, and perhaps if you make it back to Bohemia we can catch up ~

  17. Ah… you were having quite an adventure, whichever way you look at it. Adventure has to have extremes, otherwise it wouldn’t be an adventure. It would be grey, not green. The colour of regeneration and hope. The Green Goddess brings many gifts. And great advice. ‘Be part of the answer’… I like that. 😊 Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    • Yes, it seems extremes within ourselves and our life can create all types of opportunities, there is so much beauty in life to be discovered and we learn a lot about ourselves in the process 🙂 Thank you very much, Ali, and the Irish green is always a sign of regeneration and hope ~ and yes, I agree on the advice: be part of the answer. Cheers to a great weekend ahead.

    • Thank you very much, Alison, I enjoyed this sojourn very much. Also, thank you for the link to Badfish, a great post and his opening paragraphs were an incredible read ~ enjoyed his writing and experience. What is even better, when I get back to the Czech Republic, I found a new spot to check out and continue my pursuit of the Green Goddess 🙂 Cheers to a great autumn ahead.

  18. First thought on photography and prose – The Universe is a green dragon. A very seductive post. Makes me want to drink, smoke, visit red district, hang around the bar, feast my eyes and mess up my mind. Brilliant, Randall. The 7th shot of nudity and alcohol can be a great advertisement. Perpetua

    • You say it perfectly, Perpetua, the universe itself is the green goddess/green dragon, and it is our goal to figure out as much as we can. I must say, you’ve got the adventurous spirit to find it all and more 🙂 Opening our eyes and mind to all facets of the world is the only true way to begin sorting through the human spirit, especially our own. Love your response ~ head out, and if you need a partner in crime, let me know as it is always good to jostle the mind a bit 🙂 Cheers to the autumn ahead, may it treat you well.

      • Randall, aren’t we all already partners in crime by posting in the biggest playground ever in WordPress? Tee hee… Your site I live my life vicariously. As for Universe is a Green Dragon, read the book by David Swimme, a dialogue between the youth and elder, filled with wisdom. Hey, GQ will be able to use #7 as a centerfold. Blessed day to you, Perpetua

  19. Oh my goodness this post held me spellbound! Your words your photography all skillfully interwoven together bringing to the reader intensity and truth. Being in a place where raw and pain are my existence, barriers and blinders being rudely torn off, leaving me bleeding and naked, I’ve begun to know yet again I have come into a time of space to rebuild, restructure, rethink, in order to see through the illusions so rampant around me. Your words stirred my soul, Randall. Incredible photography …. so seductive and just right out beautiful. You took the plunge on a different road with this post and look at what you created. Powerful!!!! And thank you for giving me this incredible experience to take with me to apply to my own life. 💝

    • Thanks, Amy, every now and then it is good to rebuild, restructure and rethink all that is around you. Change can be a very powerful thing and stirring of the soul even better. The ever-evolving life we live contains so many ups & downs, and every experience so valuable. Wish you a more peaceful and smooth autumn.

  20. The most expansive journey one can take is into the Valley of Who We Are. It is difficult to avoid the cave of Who Others Think We Should Be, and sometimes fording the river of Who We Truly Want To Be is the most arduous of passages.Those riverbed stones seem the most beautiful, and most difficult to master. Humans seem better at tearing down bridges instead of building them, but if we can link all of the possibilities and be the best we can at any moment, holding close the ability to laugh at our own follies, faults and pretensions while extending others the same grace – then we know we are on a veritable unending journey, unfolding, improving, learning, always. No ticket required 🙂

    PS. The photos are breathtaking!

    • So true. It seems the further and further I go into this Valley of Who We Are, the more I am amazed at what we have and how good life can be. 🙂 Makes every day an adventure, and family and friends are to be treasured as the journey continues. Thank you very much for your words.

  21. Perhaps a little playful and funny, as in light or mild, the way your words and images seemed to flow as I was reading, also feeling impressive as usual, though this post… slightly entrancing too. Surely I had to read a bit more about absinthe on this occasion. 🙂
    What draw my attention in a lovely way was the smoothly interspersed color interplay and blend. “Picking out colors from the blur.” and “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…” hues fusing and melting smoothly, and even without any precise mention of many color words all along, so perhaps due to the subtle imagery, the softly conveyed feelings, thoughts or sensations… and the transitions between them. And I liked the delicate suggestion floating at the end, “Choose heaven…” only adding to the fairy air all the way through. A uniquely beautiful combination, words and images, the first photo is simply splendid, it looks like a painting to me.
    Thank you for such a fine read, Dalo, and wishing you a wonderful autumn!

    • You pick out such an important underlying theme in my post I really hadn’t thought about ~ how colors of the night, the absinthe and even color of the days/life are supportive throughout my writing. Thank you very much, Nicole, and this observation of yours does not surprise me as your work and words always carry such of feeling ~ a transition between reality and just beyond. Cheers to great days ahead.

  22. Randall, A thought-provoking post. It mirrors the feelings I have now of the political chaos we witness on a daily basis…quite like a night of consuming absinthe, I presume. Your images reflect that dreamy world- one of feeling unbalanced and unsure of what comes next. But with it, perhaps, comes the strength to seek change and resist the chaos. Love your artistry in making these images. Thanks for a great post.

    • Thank you, Jane, the surrealism of this post for me comes close to paralleling the scenes politically in the USA as well as around the world ~ of course, I think I have a much better of comprehending absinthe versus our current state of affairs. Seeking change by first trying to understand the differences is the best way to avoid the chaos. Wishing you a great start to October.

  23. Oooh, this sent shivers down my spine. Amazing photography and beautiful prose. Not sure I’m brave enough to travel down the path of the green goddess!

    • Thank you very much, Mary, I think you’d find yourself in very good company with the Green Goddess Mary 🙂

  24. 1st of all: you’re an artist and a poet, Sir… your post shows the “ambiance locale” & your pix have reminded me of Baudelaire and Rimbaud… ❤
    * * *
    2nd of all: love NO where I took a photo of Toulouse street(of course!) and the pun: absinthe – absent(e)…

    • “An artist and a poet” ~ not something I’m often called 🙂 Could you imagine sitting down with Baudelaire and Rimbaud, sharing a bottle of absinthe with them throughout the night…the tension of despair and faith of their words ~ the night would be neverending.
      Would make for some great stories and photos, be it in New Orleans or somewhere in France 🙂

  25. Ethereal, raw,mesmerizing and honest all in one breath.You possess a rare photographic eye, a glimpse into glorious shadows most people dismiss as dark empty spaces. Outstanding 🙂

  26. If your Muse could allow you to cram the whole of your talents into one post, Randall,
    it may have just so happened right here. And, here I sit, feeling like I’m too stoned to speak
    anything comprehensible. Osmosis? Did your high rub off on me? Am I hypnotized concurrently?

    What a way to start a dark and cool rainy Sunday! How dreamy! How visually intoxicating!
    Demented, like a tale from Poe, and poignant as a Playboy centerfold from the 3rd dimension!
    And here I am, writing out a list for the grocery store…where am I? What do I really want?

    I really want to try that green stuff someday. For sure, that’s where I am — left wanting. 😉
    Cheerz to bucket lists! Travel and adventure! Hooray for entertainers (like you) and trippy trips undressed!

    • Now there is a description I can fully get behind “Demented, like a tale from Poe, and poignant as a Playboy centerfold from the 3rd dimension!” 🙂 My muse, the Green Goddess, is out there just waiting to be had by the next soul who comes by with an open mind & heart. Thank you very much for your words UT, they mean a lot. Seems I poured a lot more than just a few glasses into this adventure, so happy a few could partake in the experience. There is a bottle out there calling for you 🙂

      • You’re welcome, Randall. This post was a doozy! 🙂 My daughter tells me Absinthe is not available here in the states. Is she right?

      • Actually, it is now available ~ although I think there is control on the amount of thujone, but most European absinthe can now be found in the USA. So…enjoy 😱✨

  27. Wonderful stuff Randall, the photos and narrative appeal to the poet in me. I seldom drink hard stuff, but now I’m curious. 🤔

    • Curiosity is good for the soul, John, and maybe a little snifter or two could help appease 🙄 Wishing calmer autumn days for you, versus the excitement of the summer-of-fire over the past few months. Thank you very much.

  28. Randall, I have read your reflections twice, your Green Goddess is as intoxicating as your words, so different from your usual philosophical insights about life. I had visited this post last week also but found it too heavy…such a lethal combination needed time and mood! Thanks for nudging me over here today but I must confess, my head is spinning…such is the power of your cocktail – an amalgamation of emotions, energy, environment, imagery and ambiance! Perfectly crafted! Stay blessed and keep inspiring. 🙂

    • Thank you Balroop, the post flowed pretty freely ~ writing, it felt very similar to my previous ones, but there was a definite edge to this one I had hoped to capture; a gritty, darker mood I rarely experience. Very happy that you enjoyed it, and wish you a perfect day.

  29. Love the tinctures of phosphorescent green you interjected into your photos. I was expecting it from the first sentence and you delivered. I loved seeing it done in so many different ways. This post reminds me of Thomas de Quincey’s “Confessions of an English Opium Eater.” Truth tinged with the melancholy of an otherworldly dream-state.

    • I’ve just checked out the Thomas de Quincey’s book, and downloaded it on my Kindle…looking forward to the read, thank you very much. Now, if I dive off into the world of opium my family knows who to blame 🙂 You’ve written a perfect line, “truth tinged with melancholy” ~ a great descriptor of the way we sometimes see the world. 🙂

  30. Psychedelic, disorienting, the stuff of dreams. I’ve never tried absinthe, but this is, I’m sure, exactly what the sensation would be like!

    • Thank you very much, Andrea, the dreamlike state was something I definitely wanted to create with both prose and photography ~ to bring the sensation to the reader. While I often miss with such goals, I like your description to a point where I think I could have achieved a bit of this 🙂 Wish you well.

  31. I’m lost in another post of yours .. transported to a green world with beautiful images and prose that always leaves me wondering. Another superb journey with you Randall 🙂

    • The green world is not a bad place to be transported to Julie 🙂 Thank you very much for your kind comment and wishing you happiness as we enter October.

    • Thank you, Georgia, sometimes it is necessary to stretch out into something a bit different 🙂

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