Rain

rain-poem-raymond-carver

~ “Rain” by Raymond Carver


Source: Schonwieder

Lightly child, lightly.

red-paint-painting-drip

Grief is an amputation,
but hope is incurable haemophilia:
you bleed and bleed and bleed.

~ David Mitchell, Slade House

Notes:

  • Photo: via Mennyfox55. Quotes: Quotes From Books
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Riding Metro North. Man With a Plan.

hair-breeze-wind
High School graduation.
Scholarship.
Land of the Opportunity.
He leaves.

Undergraduate Degree.
Marriage.
Green Card.
Graduate Degree.
He learns. [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly.

close-up-face-eye-freckles-portrait
It
Troubles me that time should make things sweeter, that
Instead of learning to perceive things as they are I’ve
Learned to lose them, or to see them as they disappear
Into the insubstantial future. Everything here is mine,
Or lies within my power to accept. I want to find a way
To live inside each moment as it comes, then let it go
Before it breaks up in regret or disillusionment.

~ John Koethe, from “Between the Lines,” North Point North: New and Selected Poems


Notes:

  • Photo: via Mennyfox55. Poem: The Distance Between Two Doors
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Burning the Days…

smoke-pink-burning

Life is short, as everyone knows. […]

When I ask myself what I’ve found life is too short for, the word that pops into my head is “bullshit.” I realize that answer is somewhat tautological. It’s almost the definition of bullshit that it’s the stuff that life is too short for. And yet bullshit does have a distinctive character. There’s something fake about it. It’s the junk food of experience.

If you ask yourself what you spend your time on that’s bullshit, you probably already know the answer. Unnecessary meetings, pointless disputes, bureaucracy, posturing, dealing with other people’s mistakes, traffic jams, addictive but unrewarding pastimes. […]

But you can probably get even more effect by paying closer attention to the time you have. It’s easy to let the days rush by. The “flow” that imaginative people love so much has a darker cousin that prevents you from pausing to savor life amid the daily slurry of errands and alarms. […]

One of the most striking things I’ve read was not in a book, but the title of one: James Salter’s Burning the Days. […]

Perhaps a better solution is to look at the problem from the other end. Cultivate a habit of impatience about the things you most want to do. Don’t wait before climbing that mountain or writing that book or visiting your mother. You don’t need to be constantly reminding yourself why you shouldn’t wait. Just don’t wait. […]

Relentlessly prune bullshit, don’t wait to do things that matter, and savor the time you have. That’s what you do when life is short.

~ Paul Graham, Life is Short


Notes:

 

Riding Metro North. With Weary.

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It’s the late evening train.
Metro North to New Haven.
The Quiet Car.

On my left, sits Stoic.  No book. No smartphone. Hands on her lap. Eyes dead ahead.

On my right, sits Dude. Head down, tapping his keys, ear buds pumpin’.

Across, sits Weary.  Head back on head rest. Eyes closed.  Tinted transition glasses. Lightly salted side burns.  Hair, jet black, neatly coifed, perhaps too much so.  A Pabst Blue Ribbon Tallboy rests on the floor between his black loafers.

Weary’s eyes pop open and catch me. I avert.

Stoic sits stoic.
Dude is bangin’.
Weary reaches down for the Tallboy, takes a swig, sets it down, leans his head back and swallows deeply. [Read more…]

Miracle? All of it. 

lucy-barton-elizabeth-strout

At times these days I think of the way the sun would set on the farmland around our small house in the autumn. A view of the horizon, the whole entire circle of it, if you turned, the sun setting behind you, the sky in front becoming pink and soft, then slightly blue again, as though it could not stop going on in its beauty, then the land closest to the setting sun would get dark, almost black against the orange line of horizon, but if you turn around, the land is still available to the eye with such softness, the few trees, the quiet fields of cover crops already turned, and the sky lingering, lingering, then finally dark. As though the soul can be quiet for those moments.

All life amazes me.

~ Elizabeth Strout, My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel


Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Olive Kitteridge.  Her new book, My Name Is Lucy Barton, was selected as An Amazon Best Book of January 2016.  The excerpt above is not representative of the storyline but Strout is a master at story telling.  “My Name is Lucy Barton” is highly recommended.

Check out the book reviews:


Notes:

  • Related Posts: Miracle? All of it.
  • 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.”

Life’s most persistent and urgent question

martin-luther-king


Source: Apple.com landing page (Jan 18, 2016)

When Breath Becomes Air

paul-kalanithi-book-cover-when-breath-becomes-air

In his foreword, Dr. Abraham Verghese closes with: “Be ready. Be seated. See what courage sounds like. See how brave it is to reveal yourself in this way… But above all, see what it is to still live, to profoundly influence the lives of others after you are gone, by your words. In a world of asynchronous communication, where we are so often buried in our screens, our gaze rooted to the rectangular objects buzzing in our hands, our attention consumed by ephemera, stop and experience this dialogue with my young departed colleague, now ageless and extant in memory. Listen to Paul. In the silences between his words, listen to what you have to say back. Therein lies his message. I got it. I hope you experience it, too. It is a gift. Let me not stand between you and Paul.”

And here’s Janet Maslin in her NY Times Book Review where she quotes Verghese and continues: “Dr. Verghese suggests not only reading “When Breath Becomes Air” but also listening to the overwhelming response it prompts in you. I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option.”

I completed Paul Kalanithi’s memoir this weekend and agree with Verghese and Maslin – waves of Kalanithi’s words are still lapping my shoreline. And they won’t let me go.

The book is a selection of Amazon’s Best Book of January 2016“At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.  Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book.”

Here’s an excerpt:

“The morning commuters began to animate the distant South Lake Tahoe roads. But craning your head back, you could see the day’s blue darken halfway across the sky, and to the west, the night remained yet unconquered— pitch-black, stars in full glimmer, the full moon still pinned in the sky. To the east, the full light of day beamed toward you; to the west, night reigned with no hint of surrender. No philosopher can explain the sublime better than this, standing between day and night. It was as if this were the moment God said, “Let there be light!” You could not help but feel your specklike existence against the immensity of the mountain, the earth, the universe, and yet still feel your own two feet on the talus, reaffirming your presence amid the grandeur.”

And another: [Read more…]

all of a sudden in a supreme moment of light

light-neck-portrait

Yesterday I had a beautiful letter from Eugénie about old age (she is in her seventies).

Ici la vie continue égale et monotone en surface, pleine d’éclairs, de sommets et de désepérance, dans les profondeurs. Nous sommes arrivés maintenant á un stade de vie si riche en apprehensions nouvelles intransmissibles aux autres âges de la vie – on se sent rempli á la fois de tant de douceur et de tant de désespoir – l’énigme de cette vie grandit, grandit, vous submerge et vous écrase, puis tout á coup en une lueur suprême on prend conscience due “sacré.”

“Here life goes on, even and monotonous on the surface, full of lightning, of summits and of despair, in its depths. We have now arrived at a stage in life so rich in new perceptions that cannot be transmitted to those at another stage – one feels at the same time full of so much gentleness and so much despair – the enigma of this life grows, grows, drowns one and crushes one, then all of a sudden in a supreme moment of light one becomes aware of the “sacred.”

~ May Sarton, March 3rd,  Journal of Solitude


Notes:

 

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