Saturday Morning

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I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.


Photographer: Heiner Luepke via Gabriel. Quote Source: Artpropelled

Monday Mantra

gif-drum-beat

The human heart beats
approximately 4,000 times per hour
and each pulse, each throb, each palpitation
is a trophy engraved with the words
“you are still alive.”
You are still alive.
Act like it.

~ Rudy Francisco


Credits: Photograph/gif – youreyesblazeout. Poem Source – Conquer. Rudy Francisco – Bio.

5:00 P.M. Bell: Going Home

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Source: amjayes

Monday Mantra: Carpe Momento

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Our minds are all we have. They are all we have ever had. And they are all we can offer others. This might not be obvious, especially when there are aspects of your life that seem in need of improvement— when your goals are unrealized, or you are struggling to find a career, or you have relationships that need repairing. But it’s the truth. Every experience you have ever had has been shaped by your mind. Every relationship is as good or as bad as it is because of the minds involved. If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you become or who is in your life— you won’t enjoy any of it.

Most of us could easily compile a list of goals we want to achieve or personal problems that need to be solved. But what is the real significance of every item on such a list? Everything we want to accomplish— to paint the house, learn a new language, find a better job— is something that promises that, if done, it would allow us to finally relax and enjoy our lives in the present. Generally speaking, this is a false hope. I’m not denying the importance of achieving one’s goals, maintaining one’s health, or keeping one’s children clothed and fed— but most of us spend our time seeking happiness and security without acknowledging the underlying purpose of our search. Each of us is looking for a path back to the present: We are trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied now.

Acknowledging that this is the structure of the game we are playing allows us to play it differently. How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives.

~ Sam Harris. Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (Simon & Schuster. 2014)


Photographer: Sasha Onyshchenko via Thisiseverything. Blog post title is twist on Carpe Diem (Seize the Day to Seize the Moment)

Will I? Will I? Will I? Will I? Will I? What?

anna_krolikiewicz

I am all for aha!! moments and other peak experiences,
but my most lasting transformation happened in the subtleties,
in those private moments of decision as to which path to walk.
In every moment, there is a choice:
Will I open, or close?
Will I take responsibility, or blame?
Will I download the learning, or deflect?
Will I go to my edge, or fall back to safety?
Will I honor my intuition, or listen to the world?
Thousands, millions of moments of decision that inform who we become.
Getting out of Unconscious Prison is a life-long journey.
True path is built with choices.
I choose authenticity.

~ Jeff Brown


Quote Source: Jeff Brown via Make Believe Boutique. Photograph by lucyna kalendo via nockultury

Just like that…

woman,stare,wonder,ponder,

“What was, is;
What might have been, might be.
What’s kept. What’s lost. A snap decision.”

Adrienne Rich, from Later Poems Selected And New


Poem Source: Soaked In Soul. Photograph: “Enigma”; Kenny Sweeney

Monday Mantra: Just Do It.

stephan-wurth-woman-wind-breeze-hair

#13.
How do we forgive ourselves
for all of the things
we did not become?

~ David “Doc” Luben


Notes:

  • Excerpt from “14 Lines from Love Letters or Suicide Notes” by David ‘Doc’ Luben.  Luben was the feature poet on August 5th at the Vancouver Poetry Slam.  Find the youtube video of the performance here. Original source: Artpropelled.
  • Photograph: Stephan Wurst via Tri-ciclo

Monday Morning

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Source: Pitbullr via Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

Riding Metro-North. 17 hours and counting.

black and white, photography

Thursday. September 18.

I’m up at 3:00 a.m., and operating on four and a half hours of sleep. Even this Bull-Head understands that this, This, is unsustainable.

Insomnia. A discipline, unlike dieting, I’ve perfected. I now understand, her words, Marina Tsvetaeva, and their meaning.

“After a night of insomnia
the body gets weaker,
Becomes dear but no one’s —
not even your own.”

I look out the window. It’s not dawn but pre-dawn. Moonless. Dark. And Still. Me, the crickets and the hum of the electrical current running the overhead lamp.

I rifle through my schedule for the day.  6:00 a.m. train. Breakfast and lunch with colleagues. A team dinner in the evening. Calls and meetings jamming all white space in between. 18 hours from now, I can take my suit and shoes off and crawl back into bed.  I blink my eyes. Once. Twice. Three times. I cannot clear the blur. I close them and rest for a moment.  Give me 20 minutes and I’ll be good – – fully functioning. Just 20 minutes.

The day landed as expected, full, including two nightcaps for this teetotaler after dinner. I pull the maraschino cherry from my cocktail and drop it in my mouth, when a colleague lets fly: “V.O. Manhattan, huh? My Father used to drink those.” I smile, proud not to have taken the bait. How socially acceptable and behaved you’ve become. There was a time you’d come across the table and level the score and then some. An eye for an eye, a leg, and an arm. [Read more...]

Saturday Morning: We immerse, slow down

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“… to read, we need a certain kind of silence, an ability to filter out the noise. That seems increasingly elusive in our overnetworked society, where every buzz and rumor is instantly blogged and tweeted, and it is not contemplation we desire but an odd sort of distraction, distraction masquerading as being in the know. In such a landscape, knowledge can’t help but fall prey to illusion, albeit an illusion that is deeply seductive, with its promise that speed can lead us to more illumination, that it is more important to react than to think deeply, that something must be attached to every bit of time. Here, we have my reading problem in a nutshell, for books insist we take the opposite position, that we immerse, slow down.”

- David L. Ulin, The Lost Art of Reading


Notes: Quote – Litverve. Photograph: Amoris-Causa

 

Drive up the Nostalgia Bus

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Source: Rudyscuriocabinet

Kneel for prayer. Why?

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Why must people kneel down to pray?
If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do.
I’d go out into a great big field all alone or
in the deep, deep woods and
I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky
that looks as if there was no end to its blueness.
And then I’d just feel a prayer.

— L.M. Montgomery


Lucy Maud Montgomery (1875-1942) was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. Most of the novels were set on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and places in the Canadian province became literary landmarks. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

Her mother died of tuberculosis when Lucy was 21 months old. Stricken with grief over his wife’s death, Hugh John Montgomery gave custody over to Montgomery’s maternal grandparents.  She was raised by them in a strict and unforgiving manner. Montgomery’s early life was very lonely. Despite having relations nearby, much of her childhood was spent alone. Montgomery credits this time of her life, in which she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, as what developed her creative mind.


Notes: Photograph – bigdaddyk. Poem Source – The Sensual Starfish. Bio: Wiki.

SMWI*: Stretch

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SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Your Eyes Blaze-Out

Freed

woman-bliss-breathe-peace

“Maybe poems are
made of breath,
the way water, cajoled to boil, says,
This is my soul, freed.”

- Dean Young, from “Scarecrow on Fire,” in Bender: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2012)


Image Source: Black and White

A morsel of gratitude for (my) Readers

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One of the questions I always try to keep in the front of my mind is to ask why would anyone want to read this, and to try to find a positive answer for that. People’s time, if you bought it off them, is expensive. Someone’s going to give you eight or ten hours of their life. I want to give them something back, and I want it to be an enjoyable experience.

~ David Mitchell, The Soul Cycle

 


Notes:

Are you ready this time?

black and white, close-up
Going too fast for myself
I missed more than I think I can remember
almost everything it seems sometimes
and yet there are chances that come back
that I did not notice when they stood
where I could have reached out and touched them
this morning the black shepherd dog
still young looking up and saying
Are you ready this time?

- W. S. Merwin, “Turning”


Credits: Photograph by Sharon Heron of German Shepherd Dog. Poem: Litverve

En dansant sur la terrasse


“En dansant sur la terrace” (Dancing on the Terrace) is performed on a rooftop in Paris. The choreographer is Tarek Aïtmeddour.  You can find the the music titled “Charms” by Abel Korzeniowski from the movie W.E. (co-written and directed by Madonna) on iTunes here: “Charms

Related Post: Evgeni’s Waltz (and background on W.E. and another Korzeniowski composition.)

There is only one way to live your life. It’s all a miracle.

monarch-butterfly

The butterfly’s brain,
the size of a grain of salt,
guides her to Mexico.

~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry


Notes: Photo Source: nathab.com. Poem Source: Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry. Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

NOW. Breathe.

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Source: Preciousandfregilethings


Monday Mantra: Go Deep

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“I have, in my life, turned pages a million times more often than I have read them, and always derived from turning pages at least as much pleasure and real intellectual enjoyment as from reading. Surely it is better to read altogether only three pages of a four-hundred-page book a thousand times more thoroughly than the normal reader who reads everything but does not read a single page thoroughly, he said. It is better to read twelve lines of a book with the utmost intensity and thus to penetrate into them to the full, as one might say, rather than read the whole book as the normal reader does, who in the end knows the book he has read no more than an air passenger who knows the landscape he overflies. He does not perceive the contours. Thus all people nowadays read everything and know nothing. I enter into a book and settle in it, neck and crop, you should realize, in one or two pages of a philosophical essay as if I were entering a landscape, a piece of nature, a state organism, a detail of the earth, if you like, in order to penetrate into it entirely and not just with half my strength or half-heartedly, in order to explore it and then, having explored it with all the thoroughness at my disposal, drawing conclusions as to the whole. He who reads everything has understood nothing, he said. It is not necessary to read all of Goethe or all of Kant, it is not necessary to read all of Schopenhauer; a few pages of ‘Werther’, a few pages of ‘Elective Affinities’ and we know more in the end about the two books than if we had read them from beginning to end, which would anyway deprive us of the purest enjoyment.”

— Thomas BernhardOld Masters: A Comedy (University Of Chicago Press, 1992)

[Read more...]

SMWI*: Three Dancers

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This photograph is a gif of Imogen Cunningham’s: Three Dancers, Mill College (1929). Cunningham’s original photograph and bio can be found below:

[Read more...]

Is it a blessing? Totally.

robin-williams

Interview in The Guardian, September, 2010:

He takes everything, he says, more slowly now…”You know, I was shameful, and you do stuff that causes disgust, and that’s hard to recover from. You can say, ‘I forgive you’ and all that stuff, but it’s not the same as recovering from it. It’s not coming back.”

…it may well be down to the open-heart surgery he underwent early last year, when surgeons replaced his aortic valve with one from a pig.

“Oh, God, you find yourself getting emotional. It breaks through your barrier, you’ve literally cracked the armour. And you’ve got no choice, it literally breaks you open. And you feel really mortal.” Does the intimation of mortality live with him still? “Totally.” Is it a blessing? “Totally.”

Robin Williams, 63,  [July 29th 1951 - August 11th 2014]. RIP.

 


Notes: Photo – Tracylord

 

Saturday Morning

cat-kitten-bliss-black and white


Source: Atrocity Exhibition

In there is the question

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Do you know how it is
when one wakes at night suddenly
and asks, listening to the pounding heart:
what more do you want,
insatiable?

— Czeslaw Milosz, from Farewell


Credits: Poem – Thank you Schonweider. Photograph: Lost in Vogue

It’s Been A Long Day

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Source: Webgranth

Speed

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[…]
Shooting the void in silence,
like a bird,
A bird that shuts his wings
for better speed.

~ Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, From ”Sonnet XXVIII”

 


Notes:

 

The Joker

face-eye-portrait-black-and-white

It’s the end of a (very) long day, concluding with a work dinner. I drag myself out of the car, pulling my briefcase behind me. My shirt tail is untucked. My tie half undone. My shoes, dusty and scuffed. A disheveled, sloppy mess.

I’m hopeful that I can slither into the house and get a few minutes to myself. I enter. The house is quiet but for the soft murmur of a TV running on another floor. I slowly strip my shoes and socks, with my bare feet cooling on the wood floor. I’m in decompression. Hose me down with pure oxygen. Let Solitude rain on me.

And then.

There’s Thunder. Four legs storming up the stairs. Zeke’s bounding down the hallway. Dad’s Home! He wiggles in and out of my legs. Kissing (licking) my suit pants, leaving white slobber dripping from my crotch. Well that’s nice. Ah, just forget it. It just adds to your ensemble.

Susan rounds the corner. My Hummingbird spewing nectar all over. She’s talking. I’m listening. (Sort of.) The subject turns.

SK: Do you want some feedback? [Read more...]

Staring at the Flame

black and white,portrait

[...] his intuition was luminous from the instant you met him. So was his intelligence. A lot of actors act intelligent, but Philip was the real thing: a shining, artistic polymath with an intelligence that came at you like a pair of headlights and enveloped you from the moment he grabbed your hand, put a huge arm round your neck and shoved a cheek against yours; or if the mood took him, hugged you to him like a big, pudgy schoolboy, then stood and beamed at you while he took stock of the effect.

Philip took vivid stock of everything, all the time. It was painful and exhausting work, and probably in the end his undoing. The world was too bright for him to handle. He had to screw up his eyes or be dazzled to death. Like Chatterton, he went seven times round the moon to your one, and every time he set off, you were never sure he’d come back, which is what I believe somebody said about the German poet Hölderlin: Whenever he left the room, you were afraid you’d seen the last of him. And if that sounds like wisdom after the event, it isn’t. Philip was burning himself out before your eyes. Nobody could live at his pace and stay the course, and in bursts of startling intimacy he needed you to know it.

[...] He seemed to kiss his lines rather than speak them. Then gradually he did what only the greatest actors can do. He made his voice the only authentic one, the lonely one, the odd one out, the one you depended on amid all the others. And every time it left the stage, like the great man himself, you waited for its return with impatience and mounting unease.

We shall wait a long time for another Philip.

~ John le Carré on Philip Seymour Hoffman, Staring at the Flame


Notes:


Lightly child, lightly

bubbles


Credits:

  • Image Source: jaimejustelaphoto.
  • Other Lightly Child, Lightly posts: 1) Lightly child, lightly, 2) Lightly Child. Lightly.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

Sunday Sermon

photography,Montana,black and white
I always have this sense that something is going to resolve my spiritual anxieties once and for all, that one day I’ll just relax and be a believer. I read book after book. I seek out intense experiences in art, in nature, or in conversations with people I respect and who seem to rest more securely in their faith than I do. Sometimes it seems that gains are made, for these things can and do provide relief and instruction. But always the anxiety comes back, is the norm from which faith deviates, if faith is even what you would call these intense but somehow vague and fleeting experiences of God. I keep forgetting, or perhaps simply will not let myself see, what true faith is, its active and outward nature. I should never pray to be at peace in my belief. I should pray only that my anxiety be given peaceful outlets, that I might be the means to a peace that I myself do not feel.

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer


Notes:

 

Summer

surf-texas-Kenny-braun


Kenny Braun Photography: Kenny Braun is a Texas photographer that’s equal parts Thoreau and Avedon—an existential outdoorsman and consummate professional who adeptly captures everything from remote places to far away gazes. He brings a consistent visual identity to a wide range of subject matter by focusing on quality of light, color and mood. Music, surfing and photography have been his passions since high-school, each influencing the other. His personal work explores a sense of place and memory by returning to scenes from his childhood. His curiosity about faces and places is evident in his work, which is so vivid you can’t even imagine a photographer being involved.


Source: Kenny Braun Photography via YHBTI

Need a whole new syntax for fatigue on days like this

fatigue-tired-exhausted-read


Post Title: David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest. Photograph Source: art42

But there is no going back

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“But to preserve something is to delay that act indefinitely. Maybe preserves are where a historian’s urges meet a cook’s capacities. I wish that I could put up yesterday’s evening sky for all posterity, could preserve a night of love, the sound of a mountain stream, a realization as it sets my mind afire, a day of harmony, ten thousand glorious days of clouds that will instead vanish and never be seen again, line them up in jars where they might be admired in the interim and tasted again as needed. My historian’s nature regards with dismay that all these things arise and perish, though there will always be more clouds and more days, if not for me or for you. Photographs preserve a little of this, and I’ve kept tens of thousands of e-mails and letters, but there is no going back.”

—Rebecca Solnit, from The Faraway Nearby


Notes:

It trembles, liquid to the mind, then falls

water-drop-gif

Sometimes you linger days
upon a word,
a single, uncontaminated drop
of sound; for days

it trembles, liquid to the mind,
then falls:
mere denotation
dimming the undertow of language.

John Burnside, from “Like me, you sometimes waken” 


Notes:

 

 

Just Livin’

ballet-foot-black and white

NS: Name?
DK: David K-A-N-I-G-A-N. No middle initial. (Here we go again.)
NS: Height?
DK: 6’1″.
NS: Weight?
DK: (Pause)
NS: (Smiling) We can weigh you when we get inside.
DK: Today or this month’s average?
NS: Today.
DK: 208. (She doesn’t know that you’re up 10. Why avert your eyes you coward?)
NS: Name of GP?
DK: (Pause) Don’t have one.
NS: Don’t have a GP?
DK: It’s been a while.
NS: Date of last physical?
DK: (Pause) Don’t remember. (She steals a glance at my ID. Checking DOB.)
NS: Blood type?
DK: No idea.
NS: (Staring eye-ball-to-eyeball now)
[Read more...]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Coffee Time!

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Photographer: Elke Vogelsang

 

5:00 P.M. Bell: Feel it

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Source: burrrr-ee

 

M

black and white, photography,woman

Mnemiopsis, 
Mnemonist, 
Mnemonic,
Mnemosyne 

such elegance
I should be able to recall:
these words all begin with silence.

— Laura Glen Louis, from “M


Notes:

I heard Resurrection

pine-cones-black and white

The lodgepole pines I had seen as red and dying were now part of the story they introduced as fire ecology, with pine bark beetles entering the cambium layer of the tree, killing it, and preparing it for fire. Ted spoke of the flames rising with the heat in the forest, splitting open the cones that drop their seeds in the seared soil for the lodgepole’s regeneration the following year. “Lodgepole pinecones may remain unopened for years and burst open only during a forest fire,” Ted said. “They are referred to as serotinous cones.” As a young Mormon woman, I heard “Resurrection.”

~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice


Photograph: Pendletron

 

ThrowBACK Thursday: Viva! Viva Las Vegas

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Source: Thank you Youreyesblazeout

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

black and white,photography


Caleb’s found his girls. Full stop.


 

The circle of no beginning or end. And that is Hell.

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Anger at humans,
my own kind -
I remember how it carried me,
joyous in self’s self-exaltation,
through a narrow opening as at birth
into the great hollow of the dark itself
where the unappeasable,
in unending revenge for revenge,
tread each alone
the circle of no
beginning or end.
And that is Hell.

~ Wendell Berry,  Sabbaths   2010  X


Credits: Portrait – Thank you Carol. Poem: Thank you Steve Layman.

 

Saturday Morning

weekend,sleep,chill,rest,


The weekday frenzy slows to a drip.
A quiet sets in.
Zeke jumps on the bed, curls once, twice and falls, leaning into me. And sighs.
Going Down. Down. Down.
The great Unwind commences.


Credits: Image – Lulufrost

 

 

So easily bruised, so swiftly wounded

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“They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little cowardices, little fears without foundation, and one is so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word. To-day, wrapped in the complacent armour of approaching middle age, the infinitesimal pricks of day by day brush one but lightly and are soon forgotten, but then—how a careless word would linger, becoming a fiery stigma, and how a look, a glance over a shoulder, branded themselves as things eternal.”

— Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca


Directionally building “complacent armor.”

Credits: Quotes - Journalofanobody. Photograph: Alex Mazurov via Black and White

With each step, the wind blows

dress-wind-woman-black-and-white

The mind can go in a thousand directions,
but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, the wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh


Credits: Photography Source – Colombadoro. Poem Source – Thank you Make Believe Boutique

Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration

exercise,yoga,work-out


Source: Tribalcountenance

The shimmering bliss. A gift bestowed and unappreciated.

by Philippe Halsman

“I became aware of the world’s tenderness, the profound beneficence of all that surrounded me, the blissful bond between me and all of creation, and I realized that the joy I sought in you was not only secreted within you, but breathed around me everywhere, in the speeding street sounds, in the hem of a comically lifted skirt, in the metallic yet tender drone of the wind, in the autumn clouds bloated with rain. I realized that the world does not represent a struggle at all, or a predaceous sequence of chance events, but the shimmering bliss, beneficent trepidation, a gift bestowed upon us and unappreciated.”

 – Vladimir Nabokov [Read more...]

Some days, some days…

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…you just need to hug a Chicken


Notes:

 


Lightly child, lightly

astronaut-space


Credits:

  • Image Source: k-omakino.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

Running. In Search of Inspiration.

yoga,photography,black and white

Day 3. Contemplating a third consecutive day of running. The body was saying No. The Heart was saying No. The Head was saying take the day off.

No inspiration to run. No inspiration to write. (Yet, you seemingly have an abundance of inspiration to eat. Go figure. You think these things would balance themselves out. Laws of nature and all that. Wasn’t that Darwin?)

Who is she? The photograph up top.  No idea. But there she was.  Stretching. Graceful. Peaceful. And pointing the way to the front door. (Out Butthead. Out!)

On the continuum of awful to ethereal, the morning is rated as sublime. (I could never figure out how to use “sublime” in a sentence and here it is. Feels awkward, like an ill-fitting pair of shoes. Big word, so much bigger than you. Shameful how you jammed that in there. Has to be some form of writer / hacker malpractice.)  [Read more...]