"AN OLD SILENT POND. / Into the pond a frog jumps. / Splash! Silence again." It is perhaps the best known of all Japanese haiku. No subject could be more humdrum. No language could be more pedestrian. Basho, the poet, makes no comment on what he is describing. He implies no meaning, message, or metaphor. He simply invites our attention to no more and no less than just this: the old pond in its watery stillness, the kerplunk of the frog, the gradual return of the stillness.
In effect he is putting a frame around the moment, and what the frame does is enable us to see not just something about the moment, but the moment itself in all its ineffable ordinariness and particularity. The chances are that if we had been passing by when the frog jumped, we wouldn't have noticed a thing or, noticing it, wouldn't have given it a second thought. But the frame sets it off from everything else that distracts us. That is the nature and purpose of frames. The frame does not change the moment, but it changes our way of perceiving the moment. It makes us notice the moment, and that is what Basho wants above all else.
- Frederick Buechner, originally published in Whistling in the Dark.
A native of New York City, Lucas Thorpe’s photographs have been shown in national and international exhibitions, and in both print and online media. His photographs traverse the public space depicting a narrative of order, disorder, and re-order. Lucas received an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts and a BFA in Studio Art from the University of New Mexico. He recently completed a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership from Fordham University's Schools of Social Service and Business and is the Programs Organizer at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City.
Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized
Harper & Row San Francisco, 1988