Sunday Morning

moab-utah-arch

These are natural arches, holes in the rock, windows in stone, no two alike, as varied in form as in dimension … formed through hundreds of thousands of years by the weathering of the huge sandstone walls, or fins, in which they are found. Not the work of a cosmic hand, nor sculptured by sand-bearing winds, as many people prefer to believe, the arches came into being and continue to come into being through the modest wedging action of rainwater, melting snow, frost, and ice, aided by gravity…

Standing there, gaping at this monstrous and inhuman spectacle of rock and cloud and sky and space, I feel a ridiculous greed and possessiveness come over me. I want to know it all, possess it all, embrace the entire scene intimately, deeply, totally, as a man desires a beautiful woman. An insane wish? Perhaps not — at least there’s nothing else, no one human, to dispute possession with me.

~ Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire


Notes:

Get Up. Inhale. And don’t stop dancing.

Jeffrey_Vanhouette_05-dancer

Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you’d think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise.  We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely outnumbered by all the alternatives who might, except for luck, be in our places…

We violate probability, by our nature. To be able to do this systematically, and in such wild varieties of form, from viruses to whales, is extremely unlikely; to have sustained the effort successfully for several billion years of our existence, without drifting back into randomness, was nearly a mathematical impossibility.

Add to this the biological improbability that makes each member of our own species unique. Everyone is one in 3 billion at the moment, which describes the odds. Each of us is a self contained, free-standing individual, labeled by specific protein configurations at the surfaces of cells, identifiable by whorls of fingertip skin, maybe even by special medleys of fragrance.  You’d think we’d never stop dancing.

~ Lewis Thomas, M.D., Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher


Notes: Quote Source: Thank you Whiskey River. Photography: Jeffrey Vanhouttes via Ignant.de

 

Driving I-95 S. With Small Gestures.

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He’s not there every day, but many days.
It’s a five-second human connection.
But like tree sap, the resin sticks, and it’s impossible to wash off.

I pull up to the security gate.
I swipe my card.
The gate lifts.
I glance to my left.

In winter, the door is shut, the glow of the lamp is a beacon in the pre-dawn hours. He’s there, head down, turning pages of the morning paper or a paperback. He’s approaching the end of his overnight shift.

It’s summer now, the door is open, he’s standing, motionless.

I used to offer a “Good Morning!
I gave up on him after a number of intermittent attempts.
He failed to reciprocate. I was left empty.  I refused to start my day in a ditch.

Now the morning contact is wordless.
One man’s eyes fixed on the other. A recognition. An acknowledgment.
But no more. A Cold War.
But Not. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning.

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One thing we’ve learned this summer is that a house is not an end in itself, any more than “home” is just one geographic location where things feel safe and familiar. Home can be anyplace in which we create our own sense of rest and peace as we tend to the spaces in which we eat and sleep and play. It is a place that we create and re-create in every moment, at every stage of our lives, a place where the plain and common becomes cherished and the ordinary becomes sacred.

― Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir


Painting: Edward Gordon, Wind from the Sea, via The Sensual Starfish

 

Blue Moon. Heavy boots.

blue-moon

Heat lightning: at the horizon,
July in heavy boots paces the hot floor of the darkness.
A bulb in a wobbly lamp jiggles.
Or is that you, my friend,
approaching across the firefly hills,
swinging a sloshing pail of moonlight?

~ Ted Kooser, July. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Photo: Blue Moon by Masahiro Hiroiki taken on July 31, 2015 in Nanbu-Cho, Tottori, Japan.

 

5:00 PM Bell!

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Source: I post what i want

Suddenly it comes…

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Well – the sun will be up in a few minutes and I haven’t even begun to make coffee. I take more baggage from my pickup, the grub box and cooking gear, go back in the trailer and start breakfast. Simply breathing, in a place like this, arouses the appetite. The orange juice is frozen, the milk slushy with ice. Still chilly enough inside the trailer to turn my breath to vapor. When the first rays of sun strike the cliffs I fill a mug with steaming coffee and sit in the doorway facing the sunrise, hungry for the warmth.

Suddenly it comes, the flaming globe, blazing on the pinnacles and minarets and balanced rocks, on the canyon walls and through the windows in the sandstone fins. We greet each other, sun and I, across the black void of ninety-three million miles. […]

That’s the way it was this morning.

~ Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire


Photo: Stray Light Effect

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

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Source: gifak.net

 

Keep it together


“I was born 34 years ago in Oxford, Mississippi, to a sawmill father and a church piano playing mother. One taught me how to work and the other how to sing, and I try to do both as much as possible. Maybe the work isn’t as backbreaking as it was for me when I was younger and maybe the songs have changed, but I learned a lot in those day about what it takes to keep going, to not give up. I learned how to sing when my soul was down. Now I find that I just can’t quit. […] A little road worn and down, I took some time off in 2009 and 2010 and finished up a college degree I had long put aside. I read as many books as I could get my hands on. I took some poetry and fiction classes, trying to learn to write better. […]

I feel very fortunate. I don’t have to work at the sawmill anymore with my dad when I’m not on tour. My back doesn’t hurt like it used to. The lights are on and I had a decent lunch before writing this. I have learned to find the joy in these small things. I have learned to do what I have to in order to keep my energy up, because I love what I do and I want to keep doing it for as long as I can.”

Andrew Bryant, October 2, 2014

Note to Self: How good is he?!


Ripples outward and yokes circles of people in bonds of affection

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[…] Most people feel grateful some of the time — after someone saves you from a mistake or brings you food during an illness. But some people seem grateful dispositionally. They seem thankful practically all of the time.  These people may have big ambitions, but they have preserved small anticipations. As most people get on in life and earn more status, they often get used to more respect and nicer treatment. But people with dispositional gratitude take nothing for granted. They take a beginner’s thrill at a word of praise, at another’s good performance or at each sunny day. These people are present-minded and hyper responsive. This kind of dispositional gratitude is worth dissecting because it induces a mentality that stands in counterbalance to the mainstream threads of our culture.[…]

Gratitude is also a form of social glue. In the capitalist economy, debt is to be repaid to the lender. But a debt of gratitude is repaid forward, to another person who also doesn’t deserve it. In this way each gift ripples outward and yokes circles of people in bonds of affection. It reminds us that a society isn’t just a contract based on mutual benefit, but an organic connection based on natural sympathy — connections that are nurtured not by self-interest but by loyalty and service.

We live in a capitalist meritocracy. This meritocracy encourages people to be self-sufficient — masters of their own fate. But people with dispositional gratitude are hyperaware of their continual dependence on others. They treasure the way they have been fashioned by parents, friends and ancestors who were in some ways their superiors. They’re glad the ideal of individual autonomy is an illusion because if they were relying on themselves they’d be much worse off. […]

If you think that human nature is good and powerful, then you go around frustrated because the perfect society has not yet been achieved. But if you go through life believing that our reason is not that great, our individual skills are not that impressive, and our goodness is severely mottled, then you’re sort of amazed life has managed to be as sweet as it is. […]

~ David Brooks, The Structure of Gratitude


Photo Source: mennyfox55