Driving I-95 S. With Tiger.

cute-gif-tiger-sleeping-snow

Thursday, February 12, 2015.

It’s 6:12 am.
Overcast, and 17° F.  Pre-dawn.
The Groundhog forecasts 6 more weeks, he’s been wrong before.

I-95 South is dry.
The wind kicks up road salt, swirling behind the mud flaps of convoys of truckers barreling into Manhattan.
It’s a race to beat the morning Rush. Smokey & The Bandit. Snowman. Buford T. Justice.
Traffic is light and smooth. VO Manhattan. Neat.

Same car.
Same highway.
Same route.
Same Ólafur Arnalds’ playlist.
Same destination.
Same damn biting cold. [Read more…]

The winter will fly swiftly

rain-blue-gif

The winter will fly swiftly,
then will be the spring —
think of nothing but hope —
heed nothing but anticipation…

– Emily Dickinson, in a letter to Austin Dickinson, November 16, 1851


Notes: Dickinson quote via Lit Verve. Photograph: We-Love-Rain via Through Dreams

So fill your glass. Here’s tae us.

footprints-in-snow

Remember, the time of year
when the future appears
like a blank sheet of paper
a clean calendar, a new chance.
On thick white snow

you vow fresh footprints
then watch them go
with the wind’s hearty gust.
So fill your glass. Here’s tae us.
Promises
made to be broken, made to last.

Jackie Kay, “Promise”


Notes:

  1. About Jackie Kay: Jackie Kay (b. 1961) is an award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and plays, whose subtle investigation into the complexities of identity have been informed by her own life. Born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father, she was adopted as a baby by a white couple. Kay’s awareness of her different heritages inspired her first book of poetry, The Adoption Papers, which dramatises her experience through the creation of three contrasting narrators: an adoptive mother, a birth mother and a daughter.
  2. Photographer: Matt Wyles. Poem Source: litverve
  3. Find this poem in Jackie Kay’s Book: Life Mask or in Poems on the Underground by Judith Chernaik

A road leads into the new year

wedding-dress-running

A little snap at one side of the room
and an answering snap at the other:
Stiff from the cold and idleness,
the old house cracking it knuckles.
Then the great yawn of the furnace.
Even the lampshade is drowsy,
its belly full of a warm yellow light.

Out under the moon, though,
there is at least one wish
against this winter sleep:
A road leads into the new year,
deliberate as a bride
in her sparkling white dress of new snow.

~ Ted Kooser. “December 26. Clear and Cold.” Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison


Photograph: {peace&love♥} at lullabyexile via raspberrytart.tumblr.com

 

Let me get back to you on this

anne-lamott

Who knows, maybe those two rogue leaders, Gandhi and Jesus, were right – a loving response changes the people who would beat the shit out of you, including yourself, of course. Their way, of the heart, makes everything bigger. Decency and goodness are subversively folded into the craziness, like caramel ribbons into ice cream. Otherwise, it’s about me, and my bile ducts, and how unique I am and how I’ve suffered. And that is what hell is like.  So whom was I going to echo, Gandhi and Jesus, or Tammy and me?

Look, can you give me a minute to decide?

Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right? Hmm. Let me get back to you on this.

~ Anne Lamott. “Pirates.” Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace


I just finished Lamott’s new book and loved it. It’s my first foray into her work. Be forewarned, this book has more than its fair share of suffering and grief, but the sun’s rays do peak in. I’m drawn to her rants and her candor on her neuroses (but could have  done without the political barbs). I marvel at the authenticity of her self-reflection and the beauty and clarity of her observations of life.  The book roars out of the gate for the first half and tends to run out of steam.  For Lamott lovers, you should note that this book is a compilation of new and selected (aka previously published) essays.

Find the book on Amazon here: Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace


Photo Credit: TimeOut

 

Plant myself at the gates of Hope

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I have a friend who traffics in words. She is not a minister, but a psychiatrist in the health clinic at a prestigious women’s college. We were sitting once not long after a student she had known, and counseled, committed suicide in the dormitory there. My friend, the doctor, the healer, held the loss very closely in those first few days, not unprofessionally, but deeply, fully — as you or I would have, had this been someone in our care.

At one point (with tears streaming down her face), she looked up in defiance (this is the only word for it) and spoke explicitly of her vocation, as if out of the ashes of that day she were renewing a vow or making a new covenant (and I think she was). She spoke explicitly of her vocation, and of yours and mine. She said, “You know I cannot save them. I am not here to save anybody or to save the world. All I can do — what I am called to do — is to plant myself at the gates of Hope. Sometimes they come in; sometimes they walk by. But I stand there every day and I call out till my lungs are sore with calling, and beckon and urge them in toward beautiful life and love…

There’s something for all of us there, I think. Whatever our vocation, we stand, beckoning and calling, singing and shouting, planted at the gates of Hope. This world and our people are beautiful and broken, and we are called to raise that up — to bear witness to the possibility of living with the dignity, bravery, and gladness that befits a human being. That may be what it is to “live our mission.”

~ Victoria Safford, excerpt from “The Small Work in the Great Work


Notes:


As long as there is one compassionate woman

penn-portrait-e-b-white

From Brainpickings: “In 1973, one man sent a distressed letter to E.B. White, lamenting that he had lost faith in humanity. The beloved author, who was not only a masterful letter-writer but also a professional celebrator of the human condition and an unflinching proponent of the writer’s duty to uplift people, took it upon himself to boost the man’s sunken heart with a short but infinitely beautiful reply, found in Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience.”

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

Sincerely,

E. B. White

[Read more…]

Our Drug of Choice

hope,addiction,life,quotes


Source: Nick Miller 


SMWI*: Saturday Line-Up

bed-saturday-relax

Run? Later.
Mindless web surfing.
Saturday morning papers in bed.
Background music on Pandora.
Shower? Shave? No. Sweatpants.
Breakfast: French Toast with hot maple cream syrup.
Old episodes of “Cheers.”
Words with Friends.
Short walk with Zeke.
Lunch: Piping hot tomato soup and Grilled Cheese.
Curl up on couch in attic. Rain (forecasted) pattering on roof.
Samuel Beckett’s Three Novels: Molloy. Malone. Unnamable.”
Drift into Long nap.
Run? Later.
Gentle foreign film whisking me off to Paris.
Run? Maybe.


In a place like Paris, the air is so thick with dreams they clog the streets and take all the good tables at the cafés. Poets and writers, models and designers, painters and sculptors, actors and directors, lovers and escapists, they flock to the City of Lights. That night at Polly’s, the table spilled over with the rapture of pilgrims who have found their temple. That night, among new friends and safe at Shakespeare and Company, I felt it too. Hope is a most beautiful drug.

— Jeremy Mercer, Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.


SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration. Image Credit. Quote Source: Schonwieder

There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be

Charles Dickens

“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused—in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened—by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes—of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world who cannot call up such thoughts any day of the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire—fill the glass and send round the song—and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it offhand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it’s no worse.”

— Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz


References and Credits:

  • Misanthrope (n), a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society. Origin mid 16th cent.: from Greek misanthrōpos, from misein ‘to hate’ + anthrōpos ‘man.’
  • Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces published by Charles Dickens in 1836 with illustrations by George Cruikshank. (Wiki)
  • Portrait of Charles Dickens from the Telegraph.  He was photographed at the age of 49 by the London portrait photographer George Herbert Watkins. Watkins took several portraits of Dickens between 1858 and 1861 and they have helped define the enduring image of Dickens as a melancholy, care-worn personality.
  • Dickens quote via fables-of-the-reconstruction. Thank you.