Walking Cross-Town. Waxing and Waning.

Simon Birch

It’s Tuesday. 6 am.
The Metro-North train arrives at Grand Central.
I’m walking across town.
It’s there.
I’m, Unstoppable.

Today. It’s back.
The energy geyser bursting from the Center.
The Possibilities? Endless.
Hope?  Springs eternal.
Mystery source?  Soul. Powered. Soulerpowered.*

Other days.
The cauldron bubbles.
The witches’ brew stews.
Lethargy. Worry. Anxiety. Fatigue. Doubt.
Fully Present, in a Civil War of One.
It? It’s just not there.

William James had a bead on it.  The Human energizing. The sum-total of activities. Some outer. Some inner. Some muscular. Some emotional. Some moral. Some spiritual.  The waxing and waning in himself he is at times so well aware.  How to keep it an appreciable maximum? How not to let the level lapse? That is the great problem.

I feel this lapsing.
Mr. Miyagi’s Wax On, Wax off. [Read more…]

Because what are we without five minutes ago?

street-art-paint-roller

My husband, Rich, lost his memory after he was hit by a car and suffered traumatic brain injury. In a moment of perfect clarity he once described his loss like this. “Pretend you are walking up the street with your friend. You are looking in windows. But right behind you is a man with a huge paint roller filled with white paint and he is painting over everywhere you’ve been, erasing everything. He erases your friend. You don’t even remember his name.” It’s terrifying. Because we are we without five minutes ago? What are we without our stories? Where is the continuum of consciousness? Is it all one big lily pad of a moment?

~ Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir


Image: Street Art via mennyfox55

Walking Cross Town. In Slow Motion.

blue-morpho-butterfly

Thursday morning.
First train arrives at Grand Central at 5:55 am.
I twist ear buds in.
Turn volume up.
And set the playlist.
Noise cancelling headphones block the outside.
David Gray fills the inside.
Magic.

Commuters stage left, and right, and front, and back.
A teeming shoal of barracuda jockeying for position for the exits.

While I was watching you did a slow dance.

We edge forward through the tunnel.
Down the stairs.
And a hard left up the corridor for the Madison exit.

Life in slow motion somehow it don’t feel real.

Up escalator.
I lean into left lane. Speed lane.
She’s up and in front.
A Barracuda presses from behind, and three behind him. [Read more…]

I fear their false urgency, their call to speed, their insistence that travel is less important than arrival

walk-beach-wind-breeze-hair
Where does it start? Muscles tense. One leg a pillar, holding the body upright between the earth and sky. The other a pendulum, swinging from behind. Heel touches down. The whole weight of the body rolls forward onto the ball of the foot. The big toe pushes off, and the delicately balanced weight of the body shifts again. The legs reverse position. It starts with a step and then another step and then another that add up like taps on a drum to a rhythm, the rhythm of walking. The most obvious and the most obscure thing in the world, this walking that wanders so readily into religion, philosophy, landscape, urban policy, anatomy, allegory, and heartbreak. […]

As a member of the self-employed whose time saved by technology can be lavished on daydreams and meanders, I know these things have their uses, and use them — a truck, a computer, a modem — myself, but I fear their false urgency, their call to speed, their insistence that travel is less important than arrival. I like walking because it is slow, and I suspect that the mind, like the feet, works at about three miles an hour. If this is so, then modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought, or thoughtfulness.

― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking


Don’t miss Brain Pickings entire post: Wanderlust: Rebecca Solnit on Walking and the Vitalizing Meanderings of the Mind


Image: Sweet Senderipity

What made me look up?

among-trees-photography

Michael Goldman wrote in a poem,

“When the Muse comes
She doesn’t tell you to write; /
She says get up for a minute,
I’ve something to show you,
stand here.”

What made me look up at that roadside tree?

~ Annie Dillard, The Present, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


Image: AMCH-Photography

Saturday Morning: May I move in time like a cloud

sky-clouds-aerial-ocean-sea

Lord of having
Hell at hand
Lord of losing
what I have
this heaven now

may I move
in time
like a cloud
in sky
my torn form
the wind’s one sign

may my suffering be
speechless
clarity
as of water
in some reach

of rock
it would take
work
to ascend
and see

and may my hands
my eyes
the very nub
of my tongue
be scrubbed
out of this hour
if I should utter
the dirty word
eternity

~ Christian Wiman, Lord of Having. Every Riven Thing: Poems.


Photo: Sydneyrw

Riding Metro-North. Pre-Game.

city-lights-dreamy

3:45 am, Tuesday morning.
I’m up.
Should be tired.
Not tired.
Body is saying “Go!”
Zeke stirs at my feet, and leans in.

Mental flotsam. But there it is again.

I jump in the shower.
I close my eyes, and linger in the sauna.

How do you know it isn’t?

I walk down the hall.
Behind door 1, Eric sleeps after a night out with friends.
Behind door 2, Rachel is wrapped under two comforters. She’s well into the final act of her dream.
Children.

You could be squarely in the middle of it, right now.

[Read more…]

Linear. Continuum?

face-moment-portrait

I don’t experience life in a linear fashion,
in any kind of continuum.
It’s moment, moment, moment, moment.”

~ Amy Hempel, BOMB Magazine


Notes: quote via invisiblestories. Photograph: Eric Rose. Thank you Jonathan for the inspiration.

Here. But There.

Robert-creeley-poem-there

~ Robert Creeley,  Pieces in The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975, Volume 1


Source: invisiblestories.

Dipped a spoon into the plain water of an ordinary day, then lifted it, salty with tears, to my lips.

light-melancholy-sad-back

Oh, melancholy, how poor I would be without you drawing my attention to this or that. Yesterday it was the wild plum blossoms along the brief road to today, and today it’s this rain that will rain only once. Each grain of sand on each shingle lights for an instant, like a window across a black lake, and then the tiny shade is drawn, as time strikes the wet panes and glances away. Tomorrow, too, you will be waiting with something to show me. That time, for example, when you dipped a spoon into the plain water of an ordinary day, then lifted it, salty with tears, to my lips.

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


Photograph: Irina Munteanu (Dawning on Me) via eikadan