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. 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

candle-flame-light-dark

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

taste-woman-art-painting-water

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

hand-photography-black and white

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

galaxy-universe-travel-light


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

leaf-falling-gif
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

camera-gif-photograph

“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

internet
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

morning-sunrise-river
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

fireworks

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

sunrise

“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

Gene-Kelly-1 Gene-Kelly-2
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

woman_back_black_and_white

“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

running-gif
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.

Sunday Morning: The Human


There are places in and around our great cities, where the natural world has all but disappeared. You can make out streets and sidewalks, autos, parking garages, advertising billboards, monuments of glass and steel. But not a tree, or a blade of grass or any animal, besides of course, the Humans. There are lot’s of Humans. Only when you look up straight up through the skyscraper canyons, can you make out a star or a patch of blue. Reminders of what was there long before humans came to be. It’s not hard going to work every day in such a place to be impressed with ourselves. How we’ve transformed the earth for our benefit and convenience. But a few hundred miles up or down, there are no humans, our impact on the universe is nil. In the last 10,000 years, an instant in our long history, we’ve abandoned the nomadic life. We’ve domesticated the plants and animals. Why chase the food, when you can make it come to you? For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. There are now people on every continent and the remotest islands. From pole to pole. From Mount Everest to the Dead Sea. On the ocean bottoms, and even, occasionally in residence two miles up. Humans, like the Gods of old, living in the sky. These days there seems no where left to explore. Victims of their very success, the explorers now, pretty much, stay home.


Riding Metro-North. With The Gremlin.

train-gif

It’s Tuesday morning. A great night’s sleep. I’m Regenerated. I rise. I rise. I rise.

I walk to the train station to catch the 5:40. 62° F. The Air is still. The Birds are singing. Blue skies.

It’s Quiet.

The Train pulls up. 5:39am. Second train of the day. It’s packed.

I wedge past another commuter and take the window seat.

A Lady, mid-60’s, is facing me.  She’s in a 3-seater, on a full train, with her purse blocking the seat to her right and a bottle of Poland Springs water blocking the left.  “Prickly.” She has a cup of coffee in an unmarked styrofoam cup in her left hand and she’s pecking away on a crossword puzzle on an iPad. She does not lift her head as I pass.

It’s Quiet. The soft hum of the electric current powering the train. The clickety-clack of the tracks. And the Lady snorting and re-snorting phlegm up her nasal passages. Is she swallowing it?

The Conductor breaks the silence on the P.A.: Good morning! I have an important announcement. He pauses. The heads in the car all bob up to listen. Today’s Danny’s last day after 20 years with MetroNorth. He’s covering the middle cars. Danny, we all wish you good luck in your retirement. God Speed. [Read more...]

Coach? Bah! Hmmmm. Yah.

portrait-close-up-man

It’s Saturday morning. I’m flicking through Netflix and there it was – “Recommended for me: The Legend of Bagger Vance.” It was ten, maybe eleven years ago. The Executive Coach assigned to me recommended the book. An Executive Coach from Little Rock, Arkansas. Hired and paid for by the Firm. “Good for my career,” they said. (Good for my career? I didn’t need help with my career. My team’s results were exceptional. Employee Survey scores ranked my team’s morale #1, with no one remotely close.  Little Rock, Arkansas? Come on. You’ve got to be kidding.)

The first meeting was scheduled. Big Cat was tired, wary and his fur was up. (Last thing I need is some corporate shrink dishing out pablum that I wouldn’t eat and then reporting back to management that I was a head-case. What can he possibly teach me? “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”)

He outlined the program. Clinical. To-the-point. No wasted words. No wasted movement. He explained that he wanted to conduct a 360-survey with my direct reports, colleagues and key partners. Get me the names, and we’ll get started. He was in and out.

Session 3, the survey feedback comes in. Big 4-inch ringed binder.  I’m flipping through the pages. I skip the strengths. I know what they are. Eyes scan the charts, and land on the categories hitting the low points. (Memory is hazy…but I remember thinking Holy Sh*t as a read through the color commentary: “Ambitious. Would roll me if I missed. Aggressive. Relentless. Tough. Standards unrealistically high. ‘Always on.’ Don’t really know him. An enigma, can be hard and soft, therefore difficult to read. And Trust.” I gently closed the binder to trap the words in – dropping my head and tasting the bitters of stomach acid.) [Read more...]

I’m still standing. The odds were stacked against us.


“NBA Star Kevin Durant told everyone just how much his mom means to him — just days before Mother’s Day — by thanking her in a tear-jerking speech as he accepted the award for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.”


Quote Source & Find More @ ABCNews.com

Wooed by mandarin eyes

pigeon-beach-maui

I’m slumped on a beach chair.
Earbuds are pumping in music, partially muffling the surf.
My baseball cap is pulled down low.
My Kindle is in my right hand, blocking the sun, and the rest of me.
Unrecognizable. Unapproachable. Body language spewing “Prickly Man. No Talking.”

She ambles within 3 feet.
She inches closer, determined to get my attention.
I peak out from under my hat.
Her iris’ are mandarin oranges circling jet black darkness.
And both eyes are locked on mine.
She stares. And stares. And stares.
I go back to reading.
She inches closer. And begins to preen her tail feathers.

Middle Aged Man has managed to repel all bikini clad women.
And, now he’s getting hit on by a Pigeon.  What a Stud! [Read more...]

Is it not by his high superfluousness we know Our God?

dandelion

Too often we start with seeing what is wrong with this world.
We wallow in ‘what’s wrong.’
We need to instead ‘celebrate what’s right with the world.’
And adopt this as our perspective. Our frame of focus.

The lights dimmed after his introductory remarks. Dewitt Jones is one of America’s top freelance photographers. He has worked for the National Geographic magazine for 20 years. He is the author of nine books on nature and leadership. And he’s an inspirational speaker.

Hundreds of us sat, hushed, in the dark, awaiting light to be beamed from three large projection screens. He then flashed up a photograph.

See this untamed field of green, dotted by bright yellow dandelions.
This is the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia.

I was dialed in. Selkirk Mountains. My mountains. My British Columbia. My Canada. What were the odds that he would have picked this shot and this story? [Read more...]

We are gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in

David Kanigan:

And there is nothing to add to THIS…full stop.

Originally posted on Radiating Blossom ~ Flowers & Words:

“As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, ‘It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.’ How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and…

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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...]

Me, I’d like to think I’d take the long way home

The Long Way Home from Co.MISSION on Vimeo.


If life were measured in steps, I fear that many would hoard them for as long as possible, going nowhere, tasting nothing. Simply being alive, but never living.”


{ The meaning of life }

David Kanigan:

Here’s the “Meaning of Life.” ~9,000,000 people have watched this video in the past 2 weeks and seem to agree. I’m one of them. I was moved by this short film. (Be sure to check out Ana’s wonderful blog. She’s from Portugal. Her blog’s name is “Sol de Dezembro” (“December Sun”).

Originally posted on Sol de Dezembro:

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