Thank you Carol
An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. ‘Can they be brought together?’ This is a practical question. We must get down to it. ‘I despise intelligence’ really means: ‘I cannot bear my doubts.’
— Albert Camus
I know. I know. I am a handsome devil.
Image Credit: Paul Meriweather
We wait for the phone to ring.
For the obligatory college briefing call.
(As long as you feed from the trough, you’ll call home on Sunday. Non-negotiable.)
Rachel jabbering. Eric tight lipped…leaking information on a need-to-know basis.
Not last night.
Big day for me on Tuesday Dad.
I forgot it’s his 20th birthday.
You forgot right?
Of course not.
Of course you did.
You know that I’m leaving for El Salvador on Saturday.
I’ll be taking vitals…blood pressure, temperature…and recording it.
Dad, I’ve been told there will be thousands, all waiting for medical care.
We’ll be readying patients for the doctors and dentists.
And then feeding homeless at night.
I’m dressing for work this morning.
I check the weather app. -5° F with wind chill.
How many children are huddled and shivering in the cold? Hungry. A soda can and not much else in the fridge for breakfast. Not in El Salvador. Here. Right here.
I reach for a t-shirt. Folded. Stacked. Clean. White.
I’m drawn to the label. I squint to read the small print.
XL 100% Pima Cotton. Machine wash warm with like colors. Only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble Dry Low. Warm Iron if needed. Made in Bangladesh.
Made in Bangladesh.
“The enchantment of the sky, ever changing beauty almost ignored. Beyond words, without fixed form, not to be understood, or stated. It ravished away dullness, worry, even pain. It graces life when nothing else does. It is the first marvel of the day. Even when leaden grey it is still a friend, withdrawn for a time.”
~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, Measure of My Days
Image Credit: Natgeo
It’s frigid outside.
You’re going to lounge in bed or
Lay on the couch all afternoon looking for a flick.
Here’s your answer.
On the 2014 Oscar Ballot for the Best Foreign Language Film.
You don’t like Bluegrass music?
Watch it anyway.
You don’t like foreign films and subtitles?
Watch it anyway.
Does the racy trailer put you off?
Watch it anyway.
The Broken Circle Breakdown Movie Reviews:
- Washington Post (“stunning cinematography“)
- RogerEbert.com (“pure emotional release“)
- Nola.com (“Is a thing of bitter beauty“)
dk: Lately or average?
dk: Bit testy, no? Ice cream and pasta.
G: Do unto others…?
dk: Come on Father. I can’t believe we’re all created in your image.
G: Do unto others…?
dk: Oh for G…Sakes. (Sorry) Some of them deserved it.
dk: No. Closer to celibacy. Desert here Father. Monk. Parched.
dk: Mostly. Yes.
dk: OK. OK. There’s work to be done here.
G: Be sure you wear your thermals.
G: And, don’t forget your tuk and mittens.
Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then — the glory — so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.
~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Two weeks running.
Every day. Every day.
The commute in. The ride home.
It opens the day. It closes the doors.
Same tune. One tune.
Over. And over. And over.
[John Waters: “Without obsession, life is nothing.”]
From end to end.
The tune on a loop three to six times depending on traffic.
↓ click for audio (Harry Chapin – “All My Life’s A Circle”)
The Big Gato waits. Crouched.
Tapping his fingers on the seat. Impatient.
Waiting for Chapin to stop jabbering.
And then it comes. 4:30 on the running time.
I crank the volume up.
The dashboard vibrates.
Chapin cues him up.
Michael, the Cellist. Man Singing with Soul.
DK and the rest of the band join him to belt it out to the finish:
All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
The Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.
All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
The Seasons’ spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.
Image Source: MTVhive
Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in a laboratory with Dr. Boas and he was talking to me and a group of other people about religion, insisting that life must have a meaning, that man couldn’t live without that. Then he made a mass of jelly-like stuff of the most beautiful blue I had ever seen — and he seemed to be asking us all what to do with it. I remember thinking it was very beautiful but wondering helplessly what it was for. People came and went making absurd suggestions. Somehow Dr. Boas tried to carry them out — but always the people went away angry, or disappointed — and finally after we’d been up all night they had all disappeared and there were just the two of us. He looked at me and said, appealingly “Touch it.” I took some of the astonishingly blue beauty in my hand, and felt with a great thrill that it was living matter. I said “Why it’s life — and that’s enough” — and he looked so pleased that I had found the answer — and said yes “It’s life and that is wonder enough.”
~ Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
Quote Source: Brain Pickings - Life Is Like Blue Jelly: Margaret Mead Discovers the Meaning of Existence in a Dream. Image: Unknown.
You’ll read the papers later today. They’ll say:
- Undefeated and decisive. (Toronto Global & Mail)
- Smothering (National Post)
- Dominating. (NY Times)
- Relentless. (Chicago Tribune)
- Four lines deep that just kept coming. (Toronto Star)
We watched you lock arms and sing O Canada. We sang along teary eyed. Our bodies tingled as we watched our Maple Leaf raised.
From all Canadians and ex-pats, Bravo Men.
Gold. Canada Gold.
Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18-year-old wunderkind of ski racing.
She became the youngest slalom world champion a year ago.
Shiffrin sped past the finish line to become the youngest Olympic slalom champion.
She is the first American to win the event in 42 years.
“You can create your own miracle,” Shiffrin said when the gold medal was on a sash draped around her neck. “But you do it by never looking past all the little steps along the way.”
Don’t miss the full inspirational story @ NY Times – American Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Gold In Slalom
Thank you Susan
Olympics? Sportsmanship? Right here.
In the midst of winter,
I found there was,
an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy.
For it says
that no matter how hard
the world pushes against me,
there’s something stronger—
pushing right back.
— Albert Camus, from The Stranger
Source: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom
“20 years ago, Steven Millward tragically broke his neck falling off a rodeo horse; now, he must call upon his friend, veteran horse whisperer Grant Golliher, to gentle the new colts about to enter his herd. Through Grant’s compassion and dedication to the horses, Steven becomes inspired to live his dreams of riding once again.”
As I told your Mom in our wedding vows,
I promise to love you fiercely too.
One day, when you’re a Mother, you’ll know the kind of love that I am talking about.
A love that makes my eyes well up with tears of joy when you simply hug me.
A love that moves me to rise from bed and check on you at three in the morning mostly because I just miss you when you sleep.
A love that makes it hard for me to let go of your hand when you try to balance on something because I know you need to learn from your mistakes.
I promise to look you in the eyes when you come to me with a problem.
I’ll always want to fix it for you right then and there.
I promise to listen as to whether you’ll want a hand or just an ear.
I promise to drop you off at college and when I do, I promise to do my best to contain my excitement for you so that I won’t embarrass you in front of your new friends.
I promise to have a reputation amongst your friends as a Dad that intimidates your boyfriends.
I promise to raise you to be strong and independent.
I promise to cry when I let go of your hand when I let go of your hand at the alter…
…I want you to know that every time when you open the door when I come home from work you’ll see a smile on my face
My arms already open ready to catch you
I’ll always be ready to catch you…
For you, Rachel…
I couldn’t get comfortable. It was a straight back chair. I’m infused with a dull, throbbing haze. The prior evening included two cocktails, a late night dinner and four hours of sleep short of requirements for base level performance. A modest change in daily routine – having a disproportionate impact on operating equilibrium.
I’m sitting. Sort of. Restless. The metal bars on the seat back are leaving tracks, the comfort of r-bar. Rough, cold steel on skin. I’m twisting. Trying to find a comfort zone. Those seated behind me zig when I zag. I cross my leg one way. Then pull it back and scissor it over the other. I sit upright. I slouch. I throw my right arm over the back of the chair. Then the left. And then go through the cycle again.
I glance around. The room is fidgeting.
He walks onto the stage. He sits in a panel chair. He takes a drink of water. And waits for the interviewer’s first question.
He’s wildly successful.
A Horatio Alger story. He grew up in a family with modest means. His Father worked in government service. His Mother at home with the children.
The room is quiet. Locked-in.
His energy fills the room. His mind is whirring.
He shares his view and insights on a wide swath of territory. Domestic policy. Economy. Government. Immigration. Social issues. Philanthropy. The Arts. Conservation. His Love of Country.
And without breaking stride, he injects self-deprecating experiences.
We’re in his web.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: I’m 6x years old. My Father passed away about this age. When you are 50, you believe you have another half to go. When you turn 60, there’s a keen realization that 2/3rd’s is gone. A shift from a ‘lot to go’ to ‘what’s left’. I don’t know when…when my mind or body will no longer permit me to keep up the pace. But I have a lot that I want do…a lot I need to accomplish.
He pauses. Reflects. And continues. (The wildly successful man continues…)
A: What I really worry about is getting “that call” at night on one of our children. He shakes his head. Let’s set that aside. I worry about my children growing up with appropriate balance, with the appropriate values, given that they have been surrounded by great wealth. That is why I plan to give most of it away. At the end of the day, I want my children to be happy.
That is all that matters.
That is all that matters to me.
This much is irrefutable: How you direct your gaze, where you place your energy and your conviction, how you tune your perception and with what integrity and attitude you offer yourself to the world means, well, everything. Why can’t this basic truth be broadened out to humanity as a whole?…
Maybe that’s a little much. Maybe it’s better to test it all out yourself, every day, on micro scale, to feel into what you really believe, what you know to be true at core level, versus what you’ve been fed, and by whom, and for what spurious purpose…
Who the hell told you you’re broken? Who told you you’re an addict, a loser, a Type-A, a manic depressive? Who said you’re too weak to quit smoking, to start exercising, to eat better, to find love or to quit being an overbearing jerk with zero redeeming qualities? Who told you humanity must operate a certain way? Who told you you’re full of trauma and rage? Who dared tell you you’re not already God? You really believe that? Good lord, why?
~ Mark Morford, Believe this and live forever
My journey from NYC westward continues. A five hour non-stop flight has morphed into a surreal 2 day experience with stops at JFK (with 2 plane changes), LGA (with full airport evacuation), Detroit and Chicago. This is the last leg of the journey. (Prior posts for this trip are referenced below along with the post dedication.)
The 45 minute hop from Detroit to Chicago was quiet. No chop. A Quiet cabin. Light snow was falling in Chicago carpeting the catering trucks and the luggage carriers. A slender, stoop-shouldered man guided the aircraft in. His hoodie was covered in snow. His fluorescent batons offered a soft illumination. It’s feeling a lot like Christmas Eve. In February.
The City that works. The Machinery was humming this evening. Plows. Sand trucks. Baggage handlers. Crew. De-icers coating the aircraft in a lemon colored bath. A beautiful orchestra. All to get us somewhere safely. I’m feeling gratitude.
My Son was born here. In Chicago. I burroughed deep and back to find a moment. Susan is pulling him on a red sled to greet me as I walk home from the train station returning from work. His chubby cheeks are red. His hair is matted and wet from layers of clothing. His smile…a lighthouse beacon. His arms reaching up. “Dada! Dada!” I reach down to grab him. I hold him close. I can feel his warm breath on my neck as he nuzzles. I miss my son often. And especially when I’m tired. Like now. When the aching just won’t stop.
Cheryl found me eerily calm during this journey. I had many hours to contemplate why. She no longer covered my business and left about the time I started blogging. This hobby. This community. This labor of love. This stringing of words together and having someone actually care to read it. A miracle drug. It stills and softens the mind. It injects peace where none formerly existed. Albert Camus said “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” This. THIS allows me to turn away from the world.
My finger lingers over the Publish button. The cabin is dark with the exception of a handful of us hunched over our screens. 35,000 feet in the air, my wireless icon is flashing. I’m wired.
It’s a miracle. All of it.
Me. Family. Our dog. Friends. You, yes you, reading this. This iPad. My Eye sight. This plane flying. Pizza. (I’m famished.)
All of it.
Too big to figure out.
Too important not to find a small corner of it to call my own.
My finger hovers over the Publish button again. Proof read it again? Is it too much? Is it over the top? Is it good enough?
Friend, you’re asking yourself the wrong question. The only question that matters to help you decide if you should hit Publish:
Is it a miracle?
Same trip – related posts:
- Just another manic Monday
- Star Log: Flight DL2282. The Epilogue.
- Flight Log DL1131: Y.C.M.T.S.U.
- Flight Log: Motor City USA
This post is dedicated to Shara who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to book and re-book flights, get seat assignments, and keep me moving forward to my destination at all hours of the day and night. Thank you Shara.
(All together now: “What fresh hell is this?“)
Source: Thank you Mme Scherzo
And this post was inspired by this “List of Nice Sounds“
Inspired? Yes. Listening for the referee’s call of “crouch, bind, set” – - watching the players bind together – heads interlocking with the opposition — followed by brute force. Add rain and mud and what you have here is a Man’s Sport.
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration
No one. I mean no one, beats high-stepping Caleb in a foot race.
Don’t miss Caleb’s color commentary at end of the race.
I can still remember how she looked. Black gown grey against the sky, clutching the scroll in the hand. So much hard work.
Did it mean anything when all paths led to the same end. You can extend the path you take. Choose the one less travelled. Be all the richer for it. But it is still a path, and all paths lead to the same end. If you have a Lover and a Dog waiting for you, you are one of the lucky ones. I don’t think there’s anything afterwards, outside the stories. if there is, how would that work?
She believed. She wasn’t a zealot or fundamentalist. But she believed. Enough to not get scared at the end. Vast thunder storms. Fat on the horizon. But she could still see the sun. All things shining.
Sometimes I do the impossible. Steal a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye. Light and full of love. I don’t try to stop her. Tap her on the shoulder. Pull her home.
They ask me years later. Does it get easier as time passes or does it stay at the back of your mind.
No. It stays right at the front.
~ Jack Tasker
A good book
Pandora on loop
A Snow Day
Wood cackling in fireplace
Dog wagging tail
Pancakes with maple syrup
Tomato Soup and Grill Cheese
Hot chocolate with marshmallows
Piping hot chicken noodle soup
Hot Tea with honey
An unexpected call from a friend
Softness of skin after shaving
Hot apple cider
Long afternoon nap
Warm tropical winds
Poetry I understand
Poetry about spring
We rollin’ with Mozart for the 2nd consecutive night. Tonight…Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro—”Canozonetta Sull’aria.” This favorite scene from one of my favorite movies narrated by my favorite Voice (Morgan Freeman). Hang on until the end of the clip and be sure to watch the movie. Found on Amazon here.
Inspired by Schonwieder
An Australian Blue Heeler goes to sleep on top of the flock it has herded.
And if you are still fascinated about herding, read worthy story in today’s WSJ on Cattle Herders in Australia: For Rookie Cowboys, Snakes and Aches Driving Cattle on the Australian Range
Source: Mme Scherzo
Mianus River Park.
I park the car.
I queue up my music.
I cross the bridge to the entrance.
Light rain is falling.
Mist is floating – cobwebs in trees.
Steam is rising from the earth.
I start my climb.
Rain. Rocks. Roots. Ruts.
I short-step my run on the way up.
I’m 1/2 mile in.
Stomach isn’t right. I’m woozy.
I slow my pace.
Lift your head man. Look straight ahead. Get a grip. [Read more...]
“No photographer turns animals into art more completely than Frans Lanting,” writes The New Yorker. Lanting’s images have been featured in exhibitions at major museums and leading art galleries around the world.
“Impalas alarmed, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: I keep three cameras on the seat next to me, each mounted with a different lens, allowing me to frame a moment any way it unfolds–far or wide. For this image I grabbed a Nikkor 300mm f2.8 lens to crop in smoothly on a herd of impalas when one alarm call transformed a placid scattering of grazers into a scene of suspense. An ever-present sense of danger characterizes the African plains. This image visualizes fear by inferring it. The collective gaze of the impalas points at something invisible, hidden in plain view–in a moment that could not have been chased, only waited for.”
“Macaws over river, Tambopata National Reserve, Peru: Perched on a scaffold a hundred feet above a clay lick where macaws gather, I had an eagle’s-eye view of their coming and goings as they flew over the muddy river below. From that perspective I could see how each species of macaw flashes a distinctive combination of colors and patterns visible only from above.”
Source: DON’T MISS checking out his Lanting’s other photographs here.
FRANS LANTING has been hailed as one of the great photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, he earned a master’s degree in economics then moved to the United States to study environmental planning. Soon after, he began photographing the natural world–and never turned back. For three decades he has documented wildlife from the Amazon to Antarctica to promote understanding about the Earth and its natural history through images that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about our living planet. See his full bio here.
Source: themetapicture (Spotted in the window of a biology professor office…)
“The pictures were taken by veteran nature photographer Steven Kazlowski. The images were taken in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, along the Arctic Coast of Alaska. There are currently around 20,000 wild bears living in the Arctic Circle. That number could be cut by two thirds by mid century if the Arctic continues to warm due to climate change. In 2008, the US government declared polar bears an endangered species and banned all American hunters from returning from Canada with their trophies. Norway is the only country that has banned all hunting for the species, with Russia, Alaska and Greenland allowing native communities to hunt the bears as a food source.”
DON’T MISS Kazlowski’s other incredible pictures of the polar bears here.
Quote & Image Source: Dailymail.co.uk
“…Instead, I found that in quiet, ordinary, every day life, I would hear the word whispered to me in simple moments: give that car the room to merge ahead; give that person your full attention – remain quiet and let them talk; spend a few moments in conversation with the building custodian when leaving work, give that compliment to the woman in line ahead of you with the gorgeous hair; tell the person who helped you that they made an impact; express gratitude to the ones who are there for you all the time; give a moment a chance to happen instead of taking over…”
~ Bonnie, “How Will I Be Changed” @ PageKeeper
Mindless web surfing.
Saturday morning papers in bed.
Background music on Pandora.
Shower? Shave? No. Sweatpants.
Breakfast: French Toast with hot maple cream syrup.
Old episodes of “Cheers.”
Words with Friends.
Short walk with Zeke.
Lunch: Piping hot tomato soup and Grilled Cheese.
Curl up on couch in attic. Rain (forecasted) pattering on roof.
Samuel Beckett’s “Three Novels: Molloy. Malone. Unnamable.”
Drift into Long nap.
Gentle foreign film whisking me off to Paris.
In a place like Paris, the air is so thick with dreams they clog the streets and take all the good tables at the cafés. Poets and writers, models and designers, painters and sculptors, actors and directors, lovers and escapists, they flock to the City of Lights. That night at Polly’s, the table spilled over with the rapture of pilgrims who have found their temple. That night, among new friends and safe at Shakespeare and Company, I felt it too. Hope is a most beautiful drug.
— Jeremy Mercer, Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.