Sunday Morning

moab-utah-arch

These are natural arches, holes in the rock, windows in stone, no two alike, as varied in form as in dimension … formed through hundreds of thousands of years by the weathering of the huge sandstone walls, or fins, in which they are found. Not the work of a cosmic hand, nor sculptured by sand-bearing winds, as many people prefer to believe, the arches came into being and continue to come into being through the modest wedging action of rainwater, melting snow, frost, and ice, aided by gravity…

Standing there, gaping at this monstrous and inhuman spectacle of rock and cloud and sky and space, I feel a ridiculous greed and possessiveness come over me. I want to know it all, possess it all, embrace the entire scene intimately, deeply, totally, as a man desires a beautiful woman. An insane wish? Perhaps not — at least there’s nothing else, no one human, to dispute possession with me.

~ Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire


Notes:

Get Up. Inhale. And don’t stop dancing.

Jeffrey_Vanhouette_05-dancer

Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you’d think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise.  We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely outnumbered by all the alternatives who might, except for luck, be in our places…

We violate probability, by our nature. To be able to do this systematically, and in such wild varieties of form, from viruses to whales, is extremely unlikely; to have sustained the effort successfully for several billion years of our existence, without drifting back into randomness, was nearly a mathematical impossibility.

Add to this the biological improbability that makes each member of our own species unique. Everyone is one in 3 billion at the moment, which describes the odds. Each of us is a self contained, free-standing individual, labeled by specific protein configurations at the surfaces of cells, identifiable by whorls of fingertip skin, maybe even by special medleys of fragrance.  You’d think we’d never stop dancing.

~ Lewis Thomas, M.D., Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher


Notes: Quote Source: Thank you Whiskey River. Photography: Jeffrey Vanhouttes via Ignant.de

 

Suddenly it comes…

moab-utah-arch-sunrise

Well – the sun will be up in a few minutes and I haven’t even begun to make coffee. I take more baggage from my pickup, the grub box and cooking gear, go back in the trailer and start breakfast. Simply breathing, in a place like this, arouses the appetite. The orange juice is frozen, the milk slushy with ice. Still chilly enough inside the trailer to turn my breath to vapor. When the first rays of sun strike the cliffs I fill a mug with steaming coffee and sit in the doorway facing the sunrise, hungry for the warmth.

Suddenly it comes, the flaming globe, blazing on the pinnacles and minarets and balanced rocks, on the canyon walls and through the windows in the sandstone fins. We greet each other, sun and I, across the black void of ninety-three million miles. […]

That’s the way it was this morning.

~ Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire


Photo: Stray Light Effect

Ripples outward and yokes circles of people in bonds of affection

gratitude-storm-clouds-breathe
[…] Most people feel grateful some of the time — after someone saves you from a mistake or brings you food during an illness. But some people seem grateful dispositionally. They seem thankful practically all of the time.  These people may have big ambitions, but they have preserved small anticipations. As most people get on in life and earn more status, they often get used to more respect and nicer treatment. But people with dispositional gratitude take nothing for granted. They take a beginner’s thrill at a word of praise, at another’s good performance or at each sunny day. These people are present-minded and hyper responsive. This kind of dispositional gratitude is worth dissecting because it induces a mentality that stands in counterbalance to the mainstream threads of our culture.[…]

Gratitude is also a form of social glue. In the capitalist economy, debt is to be repaid to the lender. But a debt of gratitude is repaid forward, to another person who also doesn’t deserve it. In this way each gift ripples outward and yokes circles of people in bonds of affection. It reminds us that a society isn’t just a contract based on mutual benefit, but an organic connection based on natural sympathy — connections that are nurtured not by self-interest but by loyalty and service.

We live in a capitalist meritocracy. This meritocracy encourages people to be self-sufficient — masters of their own fate. But people with dispositional gratitude are hyperaware of their continual dependence on others. They treasure the way they have been fashioned by parents, friends and ancestors who were in some ways their superiors. They’re glad the ideal of individual autonomy is an illusion because if they were relying on themselves they’d be much worse off. […]

If you think that human nature is good and powerful, then you go around frustrated because the perfect society has not yet been achieved. But if you go through life believing that our reason is not that great, our individual skills are not that impressive, and our goodness is severely mottled, then you’re sort of amazed life has managed to be as sweet as it is. […]

~ David Brooks, The Structure of Gratitude


Photo Source: mennyfox55

Miracle? All of it. 

hair-breeze-wind-red

I hear the wind blow,
And I feel that it was worth being born
just to hear the wind blow.

~ Fernando Pessoa, from “Uncollected Poems


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.”


Notes: Poem excerpt: Your Eyes Blaze Out. Photo: Ines Perkovic (via Simplicidade do Ceu)

Driving I-95 S. Playing Catch-Up.

lights-highway-drive

5:25 am. Yesterday. Any day.

I-95 S.

Left hand at 11 o’clock.

Finger tips on right, spinning dial. Playing Russian Roulette with one of 4,378 tunes. DK is Living large. Letting it land where it may.

Left foot tapping. Tapping. TappingLet’s go Man. Let’s go. I’m tailing a black limousine in the left lane doing fifty. A yellow light glows in the back seat. A Suit reads the morning paper.

I re-grip the steering wheel – swing right, accelerate, and swing sharply left. Lynyrd Skynyrd…’Cause I’m as free as a bird now…

The limo is back in my rear view mirror.  I drift into a collage of Vine clips, stitched together with snippets of blog posts, movies, books (6 in flight) and highlights from my binge watching of Netflix. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. You are gulping them down. Gasping for air. Faster and faster.  And then the Nimbostratus. Katrina Kenison, on her Magical Journey, An Apprenticeship in Contentment: “Thirty, forty, fifty – how could three quarters of my life by over? Where did it go?
[Read more…]

What else is there? What else do we need?

waterfall-gif

I am pleased enough with surfaces — in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child’s hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of friend or lover, the silk of a girl’s thigh, the sunlight on rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind — what else is there? What else do we need?

~ Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire


Source: Thank you Whiskey River

 

Breakfast

child-food-hunger

A boy eats a free meal, part of a program by outreach group World Mission Community Care, at a slum area in Tondo city, metro Manila.  (Photo: Romeo Ranoco / Reuters)


Sunday Morning: Touch the Untouchable

My vision is to personally take no more than 20 people on journeys of 10 days or less by private jet or helicopter to the furthest corners of the earth. On these expeditions, you will be living with Emperor Penguins in Antarctica and sleeping at the South Pole, searching for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Greenland and Lapland and go on a diving expedition in Palau where you can dive with a million jelly fish that do not sting. I want to reach out and touch the untouchable.

~ Geoffrey Kent, Abercrombie & Kent


Notes: Video taken at Palau’s Jellyfish Lake. Video set to Nuvole Bianche by Ludovico Einaudi (iTunes)

Driving I-95 N. With Sparks.

lights-driving

There’s a difference.
When your bones hurt,
And when they’re just tired.
When they are looking to heal,
and when they are looking to get set down.
These Bones are aching, to get set down.

Sparks.
The week’s reflections as I ride up I-95.
They light warm fires of gratitude.

Yes, Mary. It is the work.
My work.
Work that I’ve made for myself.
Work that I’ve chosen to claim my life.
My adult life.

And then, a final spark,
for Mary,
who has brought me Home,
and to my handsome life.


I don’t mean it’s easy or assured, there are the stubborn stumps of shame, grief that remains unsolvable after all the years, a bag of stones that goes with one wherever one goes and however the hour may call for dancing and for light feet. But there is, also, the summoning world, the admirable energies of the world, better than anger, better than bitterness and, because more interesting, more alleviating. And there is the thing that one does, the needle one plies, the work, and within that work a chance to take thoughts that are hot and formless and to place them slowly and with meticulous effort into some shapely heat-retaining form, even as the gods, or nature, or the soundless wheels of time have made forms all across the soft, curved universe – that is to say, having chosen to claim my life, I have made for myself, out of work and love, a handsome life.

– Mary Oliver, Wild Geese


Notes: