Weekend Reflection

calvin-hobbes


Source: Just Sayin’

Gate A-4

naomi_shihab_nye

Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”

We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours. [Read more...]

We never think about the glories of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs

breathe-mist-breathe-black and white

All That Is Glorious Around Us
is not, for me, these grand vistas, sublime peaks, mist-filled
overlooks, towering clouds, but doing errands on a day
of driving rain, staying dry inside the silver skin of the car,
160,000 miles, still running just fine. Or later,
sitting in a café warmed by the steam
from white chicken chili, two cups of dark coffee,
watching the red and gold leaves race down the street,
confetti from autumn’s bright parade. And I think
of how my mother struggles to breathe, how few good days
she has now, how we never think about the glories
of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs,
simple as the journey of water over a rock. It is the nature
of stone / to be satisfied / writes Mary Oliver, It is the nature
of water / to want to be somewhere else, rushing down
a rocky tor or high escarpment, the panoramic landscape
boundless behind it. But everything glorious is around
us already: black and blue graffiti shining in the rain’s
bright glaze, the small rainbows of oil on the pavement,
where the last car to park has left its mark on the glistening
street, this radiant world.

- Barbara Crooker, “All That Is Glorious Around Us” from Radiance


Notes:

What’s it gonna be today?

coin-flip-gif

Good Day. Or Bad Day.

(Who Chooses?)

Rush. Hurry. Spin. Pause.

(Who Chooses?)

Self-flagellation. Empathy. Gratitude.

(Who Chooses?)


Image Source: YourEyesBlazeOut

 

Honor

veteran's day

No matter what your views on war, someone’s Father, Mother or child has put or is putting their life at risk for this country, for you, for me, for our families. Today, we honor those that serve and have served.

Former Georgia Senator and Governor Zell Miller :

“For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes:

Lord, bid war’s trumpet cease;
Fold the whole earth in peace.


Image Credit: Your Grace Is Enough

 

Gray Hair and Silver Linings

long grey hair, woman

70 is the new 60.
60 is the new 50.
50 is the new 40.

Right.

These two NY Times Op-Ed pieces are beautifully written where ever you land with your math. I’ve chosen 2 excerpts. Be sure to click through to the full stories.

Frank Bruni turns 50 and writes Gray Hair and Silver Linings:

[...] There’s a point at which you have to accept that certain hopes and dreams won’t be realized, and 50 sure feels like it. I mean the lost margin for error. When you’re in your 20s and even your 30s, you can waste months, squander love, say yes to all the wrong things and no to all the right ones. And you can still recover, because there are many more months and loves and crossroads to come. The mistakes of youth are an education. The mistakes later on are just a shame. And I mean the lost people most of all: the ones from whom you’re separated by unmovable circumstances; the ones who’ve died. By 50 you start to see the pace of these disappearances accelerating. It’s haunting, and even harrowing. But there’s something else that you start to notice, something that muffles all of that, a muscle that grows stronger, not weaker. More than before, you’re able to find the good in the bad. You start to master perspective, realizing that with a shift in it — an adjustment of attitude, a reorientation of expectations — what’s bothersome can evaporate and what only seems to be urgent really isn’t…

Emily Fox Gordon, 66, with The Meaning of Fulfillment:

AT 66, I find myself feeling fulfilled. I didn’t expect this, and don’t know quite what to make of it…Fulfillment is a dubious gift because you receive it only when you’re approaching the end. You can’t consider your life fulfilled until you’re fairly sure of its temporal shape, and you can’t get a view of that until you’re well past its midpoint  [...]  At any rate, by now I’ve racked up enough achievements that I feel I can stop trying. Paradoxically, of course, I find I don’t want to stop. Now that not much is at stake, I’m more ambitious than ever, or at least more conscious of my ambition. Liberated from an anxiety I’ve struggled to suppress, I feel a new energy. What is fulfillment made of? Mostly relief…


Image Source: imgarcade

Sunday Morning: Life


Take one minute…and watch. Full stop.


Notes:

  • Inspiration – Albert Einstein: “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.”
  • Source for video share: Stepsonmysunlightfloor

We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable.

dance-wings-fly-jump

The first living cell came into being nearly 40 million centuries ago, and its direct descendants are in all of our bloodstreams. Literally you are breathing molecules this very second that were inhaled by Moses, Mother Teresa, and Bono. We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable. We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells. And dreams come true. In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe, which is exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a “little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven.”

So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules?…Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.

This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn’t stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn’t ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.

~ Paul Hawken, You Are Brilliant and The Earth is Hiring


This is an excerpt from Hawken’s Commencement Address at the University of Portland in 2009 found in Paul Loeb’s book: The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear. (Basic Books, 2014). Hawken worked with Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma, Alabama; founded leading natural-foods wholesaler Erewhon and the Smith & Hawken garden supply company; and currently heads a thin-panel solar company . His books include The Ecology of Commerce (HarperCollins, 1993) and Blessed Unrest (Viking, 2007). Carbon, The Business of Life will be published in 2014. Hawken’s website can be found at paulhawken.com.


Credits: Photograph – Your Eyes Blaze Out

Put it back. Put it back.

quartz-arrowhead-rock

By the toe of my boot,
a pebble of quartz,
one drop of the earth’s milk,
dirty and cold.
I held it to the light
and could almost see through it
into the grand explanation.
Put it back, something told me,
put it back and keep walking.

~ Ted Kooser, “On the Road.” Delights & Shadows


 Image Source: Rockpiles

 

Being lost to time, alone

reading-book

I woke this morning thinking about a friend who died three years ago of cancer of the brain. She spent her last months reading books, packing her painfully swollen head with words that she would soon be taking into silence. From under her turban her blue eyes shone. I thought it peculiar that she would use up what little time she had left on learning, that she didn’t want to be outside in the last of her seasons, an autumn and a winter, the cheerful yellow leaves, the immaculate snow, but I had forgotten— how could I have forgotten?— how much pleasure there is in being lost to time, alone with a book.

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


Photograph Source: Danielle Nelson

 

Driving up I-95. With Gull.

seagull

It was three weeks ago, 6 p.m. and I’m on my evening commute home. I-95 is snarled in both directions. Heavy, slow-moving metal edging its way up, a car length at a time. I’m looking ahead to find a break. I see none. Waze flashes an update: “Your drive time is extended by 10 minutes. Accident ahead.”

But that’s not the story. No. That’s not what drifts in during my 7-mile run on Sunday. It’s not what emerges during a meeting late Monday afternoon. And it’s not what’s hanging around the edges, gently finding its place among the mental chatter of Work.

It’s a white speck 75 car lengths ahead, hovering a steady five feet above the sea of car tops.  A white speck, moving against traffic. First the speck. Then Wings. Then the gull.

The bird’s line is a straight shot.

Seagulls that I know, float in wind tunnels, they surf, they lallygag on shorelines. Not this one. This Gull’s wings are flapping, beating fiercely and maintaining the rhythm of an Olympic rowing crew free of its coxswain:  I need to get there. Quickly. I need to get there. Now.

It’s 15 car lengths now. The bird is keeping its line, passing under a bridge without interruption. Jet Gull – - at low altitude and maintaining flight speed. I’m locked in.

I bend my head to see him. He doesn’t look down, or around or even shift his glance. Focus. Hurry. Get there. Now.

Blink. He’s in my rear view mirror. Gull. Wings. A Speck. Gone.

My gaze turns back to the sea of cars in front of me. Gull, where are you going? Why the Rush?

Its 4am. Today, Hump Day.  Weeks later. I’m flicking through my Reader and I come across This.

A seagull froze, motionless, in the sky – lost in thought. Then suddenly it remembered something important, perhaps that life is as short as a blink, and went dashing off a full pelt.

Mikhail Shishkin, from The Light and the Dark

Synchronicity? Coincidence? Serendipity?

Hmmmmmm.


Notes:

Riding Metro North. With Massenet.

42nd-new-york-city

I’m on the first train. I’m with my commuters deep into the morning papers. The silence is broken for three short intervals - the conductor collecting tickets and two stops on the Express. Otherwise, a library. 55 minutes of heaven.

Yet, the silence is thundering.

EBOLA. Mid-term elections. School shootings. Shooting rampage in the Canadian Parliament. Ukraine. Work-budget-goals. Man attacks NYC cops with a hatchet. Markets tumbling. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Hong Kong protesters. Millions of air bag recalls. Stepfather Charged After 3-Year-Old Girl Beaten to Death at Brooklyn Shelter. OMG. Turn the page. Turn the page. Turn the page. Unable to find something Good, I put away the news, close my eyes, lean my head against the window and drift into Grand Central.

I twist in my ear buds, first right and then left. I exit the train to 42nd street with hundreds of early morning commuters.

Zibby introduces Jesse to classical music in Liberal Arts; DK had no such Muse. Yet, the impact is no less Divine. The biting winds of darkness and doubt whistling through the skull are placed on Pause. My 12-minute cross-town walk is filled with ethereal beauty, a peace, a calmness, a lightness. The delivery trucks. The yellow cabs, honey bees buzzing in and out. The shop owner opening the gate. A construction worker taking a long pull on his cigarette. A student sipping coffee in an empty Diner. The leaves on a lonely tree rustling from the gust of a passing bus. All of it, a symphony. [Read more...]

Bloggers. Why Curate?

curate,curation,blog,blogging

The pieces that I chose were based on one thing only
— a gasp of DELIGHT.
Isn’t that the only way to curate a life?
TO live among things that
make you gasp with delight?

~ Maira Kalman, My Favorite Things


My Favorite Things is a new book by Maira Kalman that was released on Amazon yesterday. “The book is a beautiful pictorial and narrative exploration of the significance of objects in our lives, drawn from her personal artifacts, recollections, and selections from the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. She is the author of the bestsellers The Principles of Uncertainty and The Elements of Style.”

Find her bio here: Maira Kalman


Quotes Source: brainpickings

Driving Up I-95. With Mr. Friendly.

taxi

I jumped into a cab after de-planing in Fort Lauderdale late Sunday afternoon. An uneventful flight. Largely uneventful that is, with the exception of the couple sitting in the front of the aircraft in premium seating. They were wearing face masks and plastic gloves synched with rubber bands. (Ebola.) If you gotta fly and you’re freaked, put on the protective gear. (It would be a cold day in Hell before you’d see me absorbing the ‘looks’ on a three hour flight.) Face-Mask-Man catches my stare. His eyes lock on mine as if to say: We’ll see who’s the Fool. 

“Do you take American Express?”
The cab driver’s response is undecipherable.
I’m guessing he’s in his 60′s, his accent places him from the Islands, and he’s wearing a day or two beard.

I ask again.
Do you take credit cards?
Yes, Sir.
This ‘Sir” thing is de-stabilizing. When did I become a Sir?

I note that I have plenty of legroom in a Yellow Cab. I’m grateful for one of life’s rare and simple pleasures.

How was your flight?
Good, thank you.
Where you coming from?
New York.
Is it cold?
It’s getting there.

89°F. The air conditioning is either not working or he’s conserving fuel. I open the window to let the tropical air blow in.

Do you want me to turn on the air?

No, it’s fine, thank you.

Is the friendliness a ploy for a larger tip? I scold myself for the unprovoked cynicism. And then reverse course and conclude that a friendly driver would earn a larger tip and that my cynicism was rationally placed. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

What is the address again?
I repeat the address.

Is that on A1A?

I have no idea. Sorry.

Anticipating a bad outcome, I grab my smartphone and turn on Google Maps. And wait. I don’t want to be pushy and start offering instructions. Not yet anyway.

[Read more...]

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.

The Sunday morning silence comes at last.

Eagle-Lake-Maine-autumn

The sounds of engines leave the air.
The Sunday morning silence comes at last.
At last I know the presence
of the world made without hands,
the creatures that have come to be
out of their absence.
Calls of flicker and jay fill the clear air.
Titmice and chickadees feed
among the green and the dying leaves.
Gratitude for the gifts of all the living
and the unliving,
gratitude which is the greatest gift,
quietest of all,
passes to me through the trees.

~  Wendell Berry, Sabbaths, 2007 XI


Credits:

  • Poem: Thank you Steve @ Anderson Layman’s Blog.
  • Photo from National Geographic. “Autumn’s grandeur spreads across Eagle Lake on Mount Desert Island, one of several coastal islands that make up Acadia National Park in Maine. Eagle Lake, which supplies water to nearby Bar Harbor, is deep, clear, and relatively free of plant life.”

Standby for this morning’s countdown

sunrise-light-dawn


Source: Jaimejustelaphoto. (Timestamp is directionally correct with our 7:05 am sunrise)

Undone by a smell, a word, a place, the photo of a mountain of shoes

anne-michaels-author
I’ve discovered Anne Michaels, 56, an award winning Canadian poet and novelist from Toronto. Her book, Fugitive Pieces, has been added to my wish list after reading these passages:

How one becomes undone by a smell, a word, a place, a photo of a mountain of shoes:

The shadow past is shaped by everything that never happened. Invisible, it melts the present like rain through karst. A biography of longing. It steers us like magnetism, a spirit torque. This is how one becomes undone by a smell, a word, a place, the photo of a mountain of shoes. By love that closes its mouth before calling a name.

An apple screaming its sweet juice:

There was no more simple meal, no thing was less than extraordinary: a fork, a mattress, a clean shirt, a book. Not to mention such things that can make one weep: an orange, meat and vegetables, hot water. There was no ordinariness to return to, no refuge from the blinding potency of things, an apple screaming its sweet juice.

The catastrophe of grace:

But sometimes the world disrobes, slips its dress off a shoulder, stops time for a beat. If we look up at that moment, it’s not due to any ability of ours to pierce the darkness, it’s the world’s brief bestowal. The catastrophe of grace.

Stones and silence:

Some stones are so heavy only silence helps you carry them!

And I have found her poetry. Here from her Poetry collection titled The Winter Vault: [Read more...]

Cold

snowflake-cold

As if to spare the birds at the feeder
any more competition than they already have
a snowflake drops right past the perches
crowded with finches, nuthatches, sparrows,
and without even thinking to open its wings
settles quietly onto the ground.

~ Ted Kooser. December 23, Cold. Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison


Credits: Snowflake photograph – Snowflakes and Snow Crystals by Alexey Kljatov. (45° F this morning. Cold is coming.)

Driving. The last mile.

portraits-eyes-woman

I’ve been searching for a passage that I read weeks ago. I can see the font size, the paragraph, the white space, the light above and below the words. Strings that dangle in my consciousness. Yet, despite my end of day Google searches, I’ve come up empty. It goes something like this:

People ask you: “How are you doing?” You turn on the auto-reflex-reflux. You pound the drums with your sticks and dust up dregs. You don’t want others to know, but Life is Good. Very good actually. So, why? Why lead with the dark?

She stands at the turn of Exit 10. The front end of the last mile of my morning commute. The entire elapsed time is less than five seconds, tops. I turn the corner, I look for her, and I’m gone. And she’s gone.

She’s standing with other early morning commuters waiting for the Bus.

Correction. [Read more...]

If I met the younger version of myself, we would…

liz-danzico

Liz Danzico is the creative director for NPR. Here’s how she opens her post:

I think a lot about what I would say to the younger version of myself if I met her again, if I met her through the still moments of all the motion of youth — when she was sitting at the piano, or if I saw her alone on the playground, or if I watched her read, voice quivering, her short stories in front of the class…

Don’t miss the rest of her post here: Stillness in Motion.


Credits:

Puff

sparrow

A Glimpse of the Eternal

Just now,
a sparrow lighted
on a pine bough
right outside
my bedroom window
and a puff
of yellow pollen
flew away.

~ Ted Kooser, Delights & Shadows


Notes:

  • Ted Kooser won the Pulitzer prize in Poetry in 2005 for Delights & Shadows.  The New York Times: “Ted Kooser…has a genius for making the ordinary sacred.”
  • Photograph of White Throated Sparrow: Bill McBride 

Sunday Morning: O (Ode to) Canada


If you can sing about it, that’s a kind of answer


Leonard Cohen turned 80 this week. His new album, “Popular Problems“, was released on Tuesday. He was interviewed by Mike Ayers for an article in wsj.com titled: Leonard Cohen’s ‘Bad Habit’. A few excerpts:

Q: The new record is called “Popular Problems.” Are these what we are all up against?

A: I thought it as a general description of what we’re all up against. Those are the questions: life, death, war, peace, space, God. All those matter, and rather facetiously, I describe them as “popular problems.”

Q: All of us think about that stuff daily and there are no real answers.

A: No.

Q: But you can sing about it?

A: If you can sing about it, that’s a kind of answer.

Q: What still draws you to making records these days?

A: You know, it’s a bad habit…Well, after a while you can’t break it. Employment is a very crucial matter for everyone. Unemployment is the most sinister disease of our society. To feel fully employed, it’s not something you want to relinquish or abandon. So that’s my work and I’m able to do it, God willing, I’ll be able to do it until I can’t do it any longer. I have no plans to abandon it. [Read more...]

Home from my walk, shoes off, at peace.

read,still,quiet,morning
The weight of my old dog, Hattie –
thirty five pounds of knocking bones, sighs, tremors and dreams –
just isn’t enough to hold a patch of sun in its place, at least for very long.
While she shakes in her sleep,
its slips from beneath her and inches away,
taking the morning with it –
the music from the radio,
the tea from my cup,
the drowsy yellow hours –
picking up dust and
dog hair as it goes.

~ Ted Kooser. December 14. Home from my walk, shoes off, at peace.

[Read more...]

At six in the morning, my circle of light

stars,night,sky,morning

Walking by flashlight
at six in the morning,
my circle of light on the gravel
swinging side by side,
coyote, racoon, field mouse, sparrow,
each watching from darkness
this man with the moon on a leash.

~ Ted Kooser. November 18. Cloudy, dark and windy.

[Read more...]

I am alive and walking

sun-morning-walk-light

How important it must be to someone
that I am alive and walking,
and that I have written these poems.
This morning the sun stood right at the end of the road
and waited for me.”

~ Ted Kooser. March 20, The vernal equinox. [Read more...]

Lucky I am to go off to my cancer appointment

bluebird

I saw the season’s first bluebird this morning,
one month ahead of its scheduled arrival.
Lucky I am to go off to my cancer appointment
having been given a bluebird, and,
for a lifetime, having been given this world.

~ Ted Kooser. March 18, Gusty and warm.


Preface of Ted Kooser’s “Winter Morning Walks: One hundred postcards to Jim Harrison“:

In the autumn of 1998, during my recovery from surgery and radiation for cancer, I began taking a two-mile walk each morning. I’d been told by my radiation oncologist to stay out of the sun for a year because of skin sensitivity, so I exercised before dawn, hiking the isolated country roads near where I live, sometimes with my wife but most often alone.

During the previous summer, depressed by my illness, preoccupied by the routines of my treatment, and feeling miserably sorry for myself, I’d all but given up on reading and writing. Then, as autumn began to fade and winter came on, my health began to improve. One morning in November, following my walk, I surprised myself by trying my hand at a poem. Soon I was writing everyday.

Several years before, my friend Jim Harrison and i Have carried on a correspondence in haiku. As a variation on this, I began pasting my morning poems on postcards and sending them to Jim, whose generosity, patience and good humor are here acknowledged. What follows is a election of one hundred of these postcards.


Notes: Ted Kooser Bio.  Photograph - 500px / Bluebird in flight by Sridatta Chegu via Giraffe in a Tree

Untouchable deliciousness

black and white, photography,portrait

I confess that I consider life
to be a thing of the most
untouchable deliciousness.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke


Sources: Poem – Make Believe Boutique. Portrait: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom

A morsel of gratitude for (my) Readers

read-book-woman-portrait-black-and-white

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:

Everything

connect


Source: …Just Saying

Moon Mash-Up. Reader’s Choice.

moon-blue-sky
Here are five (5) separate poems from Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry by Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser that all reference the Moon. All beautiful. All made me think. My favorite: No. 4.

No. 1:

A welcome mat of moonlight
on the floor.
Wipe your feet before getting into bed.

No. 2:

The moon put her hand
over my mouth and told me
to shut up and watch.

No. 3:

A house will turn itself
to catch a little moonlight
on a bedpost.

[Read more...]

Such raw being aches

feel-live-peace-art-woman

So often we run from feeling and yet it is only through feeling that we can know the depth of life. Only through feeling can we hold the smallest shell or bone and feel the tug of the Universe. Such raw being aches, for, as the Buddhists say, the bareness of being here is so full. I wake with this rawness and watching you sleep, I’m stopped before I start. Before I dress, I lose why I’m going anywhere. Yet wherever the day takes me- pausing to hold the groceries with the old man who packs them or seeing the neighbor’s child at the kitchen table doing homework as I walk our dog or pulling over to watch the small horse breathe his cloud over the fence- everywhere this bareness illumines. With no way to that bareness but through feeling and the listening that feeling opens. Some say I get lost in this feeling, this listening. But only if I think I know where I’m going, only if I think I know what I’m listening for. Through this bareness of being, we refresh our openness and enliven our innate connection to the one living sense. Through our unblocked, sincere response to life, we can tune our inner person with the great mysteries.

~ Mark Nepo


Credits: Thank you Make Believe Boutique, my daily inspiration, for the poem. Visual Art by Karolina Szymkiewicz via ufukorado.

Sunday Morning: I perfectly recall yesterday, the whale’s eye that blinked

eye-blink-gif

Zeke dreaming.
Our mid afternoon nap.
His paws twitching, his gentle whimpers.

The Yellow Goldfinch and his cousins.
Tiny claws clutching the perches at the feeder.
Beak on seed. Velvet hammer tap, tap, tapping.
Man still searching for a matching, lemon color palette.

Long Train Runnin’. The Doobie Brothers.
A 3.5 minute nostalgic carpet ride.
Foot tapping, lip syncing, and running the math.
40 years ago!

Family dinner.
Memories shared.
Melancolía filling the pauses.
Pending departures.

The Coldstone vanilla milk shake.
Thick gobs of deliciousness pulled through the straw.
Hit me.
Again and again.

Its lazy days.
Its hushed evenings.
August’s final murmur.

I perfectly recall the elephant’s eye and the whale’s eye that blinked.

I skipped counting individual drops in favor of the general feeling of rain.
[Read more...]

More from Morford

robin-williams

(Yet) another great piece by Mark Morford on the aftermath of Robin Williams death titled: A little spark of madness:

Was this really necessary?…

No answer comes. This is the beautiful, brutal secret of the universe. No answer ever comes. It just keeps dancing.

…Really now, do we not invent many of our own demons, feed and coddle them, manufacture and amplify and make them into unstoppable armies? Given the size of the population, our rapacious rates of consumption, the dazzling reach of the Internet and the speed at which suffering can now gain traction and travel, we have more potential threats to the stability of our psyche – both personal and collective – than we’ve ever had before…

But then, what of the popular Jungian notion that the dark side, the shadow is ever-present and ever lurking? What do we make of the idea that we are ever at the mercy of our own treacherous temptations and inherent flaws? What of the fear that whatever took down Williams is ever breathing at all our doors?…

What do you think?…

Read his wonderful perspective and inspirational conclusion @ A little spark of madness:


Credits: Image form Living in Maine

As you prepare your breakfast

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As you prepare your breakfast, think of others
(do not forget the pigeon’s food).
As you wage your wars, think of others
(do not forget those who seek peace).
As you pay your water bill, think of others
(those who are nursed by clouds).
As you return home, to your home, think of others
(do not forget the people of the camps).
As you sleep and count the stars, think of others
(those who have nowhere to sleep).
As you express yourself in metaphor, think of others
(those who have lost the right to speak).
As you think of others far away, think of yourself
(say: If only I were a candle in the dark.)

— Mahmoud Darwish, “Think of Others”

 


Credits: Poem – The Journey of Words from Darwish’s book Almond Blossoms and Beyond. Photograph: bdak89

To Live & Learn

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I want to taste and glory in each day,
and never be afraid to experience pain;
and never shut myself up
in a numb core of non-feeling,
or stop questioning and criticizing life
and take the easy way out.
To learn and think:
to think and live;
to live and learn:
this always, with new insight,
new understanding,
and new love.

- Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

 


Credits: Quote Source: Petrichour. Painting: Ufukorada

 

The sun is perfect and you woke this morning

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The sun is perfect and you woke this morning.
You have enough language in your mouth to be understood.
You have a name, and someone wants to call it.
Five fingers on your hand and someone wants to hold it.
If we just start there,
every beautiful thing that has and will ever exist is possible.
If we start there, everything, for a moment, is right in the world.

~ Warsan Shire


Warsan Shire, 26, was born in 1988 in Kenya to Somali parents. She later emigrated to London. Shire thereafter began writing poetry as a way to connect with her Somali heritage and her roots in Somalia.


Credits:

Ungraspable

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I’m outside with Zeke.
It’s dark. Still. Quiet.
We’re both calm.
I look up.
He’s sniffing.
Yes, I sense it too.
Something bigger, much bigger here.


In quietness,
the sound of eternity
can at times be heard—
the stars somehow closer and
a sense of the earth’s moving.

~ Michael Boiano


Milky Way Fact Source: Thank you Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers

Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing can be pleasing

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Again I resume the long lesson:
how small a thing can be pleasing,
how little in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind and bring it to its rest.

Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed light,
a few leaves fall of their own weight.

The sky is gray.
It begins in mist almost at the ground
and rises forever.
The trees rise in silence
almost natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but not quite.

What more did I think I wanted?
Here is what has always been.
Here is what will always be.
Even in me,
the Maker of all this returns in rest,
even to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly falling,
and is pleased.

Wendell Berry


Notes:

Memento Mori

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“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

— Susan Sontag


Notes:

Miracles

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Back in June, I shared a post on how I had come to be reading books written by John Updike, John Steinbeck and other literary Titans. The post was titled: Lit Boy. My college Professor, John Vande Zande, is responsible. Sadly, I learned that he had passed away.

On Monday, two months after I had written the post, an email settles gently in my inbox among a stack of 30 or 40 others. I see the surname on the email address. My eyes lock-on “from Vande Zande.” My mind whirs back to the Lit Boy post. I read the email.

Dear David,

Thank you for the lovely tribute to my father, John Vande Zande, on your blog. I also had him as a teacher, but I’m not sure a son appreciates this the way a stranger does. Thank you for letting me see him through your eyes. It would mean a great deal to him to know that he inspired you so much. He was always skeptical of his role as a professor. He would say, “What business do I, a kid from Big Bay, have in being in front of a college classroom?” I think the best profs do doubt their business in being in front of a room of students. It keeps them humble and it keeps them trying. The worse profs are probably the ones who doubt the business of their students being in the room.

Thanks again,

Jeff Vande Zande
www.jeffvandezande.com

John Vande Zande had a Son. He’s a English Professor. He’s a writer. (A published writer). And a poet and a screenwriter. (How proud would his Dad be of him today.)

And as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story:
[Read more...]

Sunday Morning: Taste it

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When you are a young person, you are like a young creek, and you meet many rocks, many obstacles and difficulties on your way. You hurry to get past these obstacles and get to the ocean. But as the creek moves down through the fields, it becomes larger and calmer and it can enjoy the reflection of the sky. It’s wonderful. You will arrive at the sea anyway so enjoy the journey. Enjoy the sunshine, the sunset, the moon, the birds, the trees, and the many beauties along the way. Taste every moment of your daily life.

Thich Nhat Hanh 


Sources: Photograph: Peter in Buscot, England, UK. Quote: Thank you Karen @ Tearinyourhand

 

There’s Joy. There’s Exaltation. There’s You.

Rachel - five - swimming
22 years ago, you came in our lives.
Here you are at five.
We couldn’t imagine our lives without you.
Happy Birthday Honey.

Mom & Dad


The tick-tick-tick

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How can this human life
be anything other than astonishing?
The tick-tick-tick of pleasure’s ignition

~ Sigman Byrd“The Beginner” 


Credits:

But my miracle was different

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“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”

~ John Green, Paper Towns

Or, let’s change up the last sentence with an alternate version:
[Read more...]

For a moment life suddenly feels lighter

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Gene-Kelly-3 Gene-Kelly-4
“I firmly believe in small gestures: pay for their coffee, hold the door for strangers, over tip, smile or try to be kind even when you don’t feel like it, pay compliments, chase the kid’s runaway ball down the sidewalk and throw it back to him, try to be larger than you are— particularly when it’s difficult. People do notice, people appreciate. I appreciate it when it’s done to (for) me. Small gestures can be an effort, or actually go against our grain (‘I’m not a big one for paying compliments…’), but the irony is that almost every time you make them, you feel better about yourself. For a moment life suddenly feels lighter, a bit more Gene Kelly dancing in the rain.”

Jonathan Carroll 


Notes:

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:

Wow, I’m getting overheated

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I have never taken such care with anything. That is my problem with life, I rush through it, like I’m being chased. Even things whose whole point is slowness like drinking relaxing tea. When I drink relaxing tea, I suck it down as if I’m in a contest for who can drink relaxing tea the quickest. Or if I’m in a hot tub with some other people and we’re all looking up at the stars, I’ll be the first to say, It’s so beautiful here. The sooner you say, It’s so beautiful here, the quicker you can say, Wow, I’m getting overheated.

~ Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You


Credits:

Monday Morning Meditation

art-breathe-face

breathe,meditation


Source: Nezart Design 1 and Nezart Design 2.