The first week of August

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The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses on its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.

–Natalie Babbitt, from Tuck Everlasting


Notes: Image Source: David Pichler, 3oneseven.com (via Mennyfox55). Quote source: Paper Ghosts

Let’s just say: Wow!

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Don’t miss all of the 2015 Winners: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.

This photo, Whale Whisperers, was taken by Anuar Patjane, who was diving with a humpback whale and her newborn calf at Roca Partida in the Revillagigedo [Islands], Mexico.  Be sure to check out his other whale shots here: Anuar Patjane.


Thank you Eric.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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Photographer: Robby Cavanaugh via My Modern Met

Sunday Morning

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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.

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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

 

Driving I-95 S. With Small Gestures.

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He’s not there every day, but many days.
It’s a five-second human connection.
But like tree sap, the resin sticks, and it’s impossible to wash off.

I pull up to the security gate.
I swipe my card.
The gate lifts.
I glance to my left.

In winter, the door is shut, the glow of the lamp is a beacon in the pre-dawn hours. He’s there, head down, turning pages of the morning paper or a paperback. He’s approaching the end of his overnight shift.

It’s summer now, the door is open, he’s standing, motionless.

I used to offer a “Good Morning!
I gave up on him after a number of intermittent attempts.
He failed to reciprocate. I was left empty.  I refused to start my day in a ditch.

Now the morning contact is wordless.
One man’s eyes fixed on the other. A recognition. An acknowledgment.
But no more. A Cold War.
But Not. [Read more…]

Blue Moon. Heavy boots.

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Heat lightning: at the horizon,
July in heavy boots paces the hot floor of the darkness.
A bulb in a wobbly lamp jiggles.
Or is that you, my friend,
approaching across the firefly hills,
swinging a sloshing pail of moonlight?

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


Photo: Blue Moon by Masahiro Hiroiki taken on July 31, 2015 in Nanbu-Cho, Tottori, Japan.

 

5:00 PM Bell!

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Source: I post what i want

Ripples outward and yokes circles of people in bonds of affection

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[…] 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

Lightly child, lightly

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Knot by knot I untie myself from the past
And let it rise away from me like a balloon.
What a small thing it becomes.
What a bright tweak at the vanishing point, blue on blue.

– Charles Wright, from “Arkansas Traveller” in The Other Side of the River


Credits:

  • Image Source: Michael Surtees (Looking forward from Empire State Building)
  • Poem Source: Lit Verve
  • 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.”