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

My offering

Woman-holding-coffee-cup-002

I take my morning mug of coffee in both hands
and lift it ever so slightly toward the sky.
I am alone;
there is no one to see.
This is my private gesture
— my acknowledgment,
my offering,
my moment of thankfulness
for the gift of this awakening day.

Kent Nerburn, ‘Of Coffee Mugs and Monks‘ from “Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life“.


Photo: Aegyptiacus

This is Now. Wow.


Alan Watts: My goodness, don’t you remember?

[Read more…]

Nothing passed unnoticed or unhonored

mudraZuisei1

Most of us do not live a life of monastic rigor. Our days are full of jagged edges and jangling moments. But most of us do have quiet routines that inform our lives. We rise each morning and greet our day in the same fashion. A first cup of coffee, a glance at the paper, a certain way we bathe and prepare for our entry into the day — these do not change. They are the rituals by which we shape our days. But we do not value them as rituals. To us they are the ordinary — sometimes comforting, sometimes mind-deadening — activities that give a familiar sameness to our life. Far from honoring them, we pay them no heed. We see them as routines, not as paths to awareness. My time in the monastery taught me otherwise. To be sure, the monks lived a life of deep sacramentality and prayer, and that was the true source of their spiritual vision. But the mindful practice of their spiritual exercises spilled over into the way they carried on their daily affairs. They were present to nuance, aware of the space around events. A cup of tea, a meal partaken, a moment shared with another — all commanded their absolute focus. They had tuned their spirits to a fine and subtle sensitivity, and nothing passed unnoticed or unhonored.

~ Kent Nerburn, Of Coffee Mugs and Monks in Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life (New World Library. 2010)


Notes:

I step quietly from my bed

feet-walk-souls-black-and-white

I have risen early. Far in the distance, a faint glow paints the horizon. Dawn is coming, gently and full of prayer. I step quietly from my bed, alive to the silences around me. This is the quiet time, the time of innocence and soft thoughts, the childhood of the day. Now is the moment when I must pause and life my heart – now, before the day fragments and my consciousness shatters into a thousand pieces. For this is the moment when the senses are most alive, when a thought, a touch, a piece of music can shape the spirit and color of the day. But if I am not careful – if I rise, frantic, from my bed, full of small concerns- the mystical flow of the imagination at rest will be broken, the past and the future will rush in to claim my mind, and I will be swept up into life’s petty details and myriad obligations. Gone will be the openness that comes only to the waking heart, and with it, the chance to focus the spirit and consecrate the day. What is needed is only a passing of the heart so the spirit can take wing and be lifted toward the infinite. I walk silently toward the window. The darkness is lifting. A thin shaft of lavender has creased the horizon, setting the edges of the trees on fire with morning light. I pause and bow my head…

~ Kent Nerburn, Small Grace: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life


Notes:

I’d rather live in the instant than ‘gram the instant

12culture-look-sign-2-tmagArticle

This was just that good. Leading me to share more than a few excerpts from Walter Kirn‘s excellent essay titled: Remembrance of Things Lost:

What if Marcel Proust had kept an Instagram account? What if he’d used a smartphone to snap a photo of every evocative morsel he’d ever eaten? Would he still have written “In Search of Lost Time”…

…When I try to recall my childhood…I don’t have recourse to an exhaustive catalog of images and documents. My parents never shot home movies and they took family photos only rarely, on ceremonial occasions when everyone was compelled to smile tautly and mask what was really going on inside them. As a consequence, revisiting my youth can feel rather like a homicide investigation. Working from clues and the accounts of witnesses, including the highly unreliable one who lives behind my eyeballs, I wait for scenarios to form and patterns to emerge. If they seem plausible I delve into them further, especially if the images align with the murky emotions they conjure up. I tend not to question the resulting mental scenes despite being well aware that photographs and secondhand stories have been shown to create false memories. Clear or hazy, bright or dim, my recollections are private, mine alone, and written in synaptic smoke, not subject to verification by instant replay.

…What makes memories precious, even certain “bad” ones, is forgetting, of course. Remember forgetting? …Memory is an imaginative act; first we imagine what we’ll want to keep and then we fashion stories from what we’ve kept. Memories don’t just happen, they are built…the human mind is not a hard drive, a neutral repository of information. The melancholy passage of the years tends to change our values as we age, and the awesome backflips of 13 don’t hold the magic they once did; not when compared to the image of a loved one who has since gone absent, say. If I’d had a smartphone with a video camera back in my early adolescence, I doubt that I would have trained it on the things that matter to me now, like the sight of my mother reading in her blue armchair, underlining passages from Proust.

…One reason that I’ve never kept a journal is that the attention that goes into keeping one is, I feel, more profitably spent on engaging with the moment. I’d rather live in the instant than ‘gram the instant.

A remembrance never formed is worse, far worse, than a remembrance lost. At 52, increasingly forgetful, I sometimes rack my brain for past experiences that I’m positive are in there somewhere and draw a blank. It’s frustrating, but the blank still marks a spot — a spot where a memory used to be and might, if I eat the right cake, reappear. What makes memory magical is its imperfections and its unpredictability; try as we might, we never quite control it. It draws our attention to the margins of stories that once seemed to be the main events. Someday, when my son reviews his footage, what will come back to him may not be his ski stunts but other aspects of that winter day: the voices of his friends, the shadows on the mountain, the face of his father beside him in the car.

Don’t miss Walter Kirn’s entire essay @ Remembrance of Things Lost:


Image: NY Times Magazine.  A 2011 installation of printouts of photos that had been uploaded to Flickr over a 24-hour period.Credit “24 HRS in Photos,” by Erik Kessels at Foam in Amsterdam, KesselsKramer