Source: Sensual Starfish
“We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.
Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day – the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?
It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.
When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.
In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.”
~ Mark Nepo
I know. I know. I am a handsome devil.
Image Credit: Paul Meriweather
(P.S.: For the record, this was your Mom’s idea. You were 3-4 years old here.)
We wait for the phone to ring.
For the obligatory college briefing call.
(As long as you feed from the trough, you’ll call home on Sunday. Non-negotiable.)
Rachel jabbering. Eric tight lipped…leaking information on a need-to-know basis.
Not last night.
Big day for me on Tuesday Dad.
I forgot it’s his 20th birthday.
You forgot right?
Of course not.
Of course you did.
You know that I’m leaving for El Salvador on Saturday.
I’ll be taking vitals…blood pressure, temperature…and recording it.
Dad, I’ve been told there will be thousands, all waiting for medical care.
We’ll be readying patients for the doctors and dentists.
And then feeding homeless at night.
I’m dressing for work this morning.
I check the weather app. -5° F with wind chill.
How many children are huddled and shivering in the cold? Hungry. A soda can and not much else in the fridge for breakfast. Not in El Salvador. Here. Right here.
I reach for a t-shirt. Folded. Stacked. Clean. White.
I’m drawn to the label. I squint to read the small print.
XL 100% Pima Cotton. Machine wash warm with like colors. Only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble Dry Low. Warm Iron if needed. Made in Bangladesh.
Made in Bangladesh.
Image Source: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom
When you’re young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time in your hands, tossing it away. You’re your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too — leave them behind. You don’t yet know about the habit they have, of coming back.
Time in dreams is frozen. You can never get away from where you’ve been.
“The enchantment of the sky, ever changing beauty almost ignored. Beyond words, without fixed form, not to be understood, or stated. It ravished away dullness, worry, even pain. It graces life when nothing else does. It is the first marvel of the day. Even when leaden grey it is still a friend, withdrawn for a time.”
~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, Measure of My Days
Image Credit: Natgeo
dk: Lately or average?
dk: Bit testy, no? Ice cream and pasta.
G: Do unto others…?
dk: Come on Father. I can’t believe we’re all created in your image.
G: Do unto others…?
dk: Oh for G…Sakes. (Sorry) Some of them deserved it.
dk: No. Closer to celibacy. Desert here Father. Monk. Parched.
dk: Mostly. Yes.
dk: OK. OK. There’s work to be done here.
G: Be sure you wear your thermals.
G: And, don’t forget your tuk and mittens.
If only I may grow: firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer.
~ Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. The second Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is one of just three people to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. After Hammarskjöld’s death, U.S. president John F. Kennedy regretted that he opposed the UN policy in the Congo and said: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.”
Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then — the glory — so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.
~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Ben & Jerry’s releases four ice cream flavors with gooey ‘Core’. The four new flavors are:
- Hazed & Confused: chocolate and hazelnut ice creams with fudge chips and a hazelnut fudge core
- *That’s My Jam: raspberry and chocolate ice creams with fudge chips and a raspberry core
- Peanut Butter Fudge: chocolate and peanut butter ice creams with mini peanut butter cups and a peanut butter fudge core
- Salted Caramel: sweet cream ice cream with blonde brownies and a salty caramel core
Source: NY Daily News
* DK favorite. Thank you Rachel. Exactly what I needed.
Where’s Caleb on Hump Day? Merzouga, Morocco. Here he’s posing with his friend before a long walk in the desert…
Source: Russell Bevan
Two weeks running.
Every day. Every day.
The commute in. The ride home.
It opens the day. It closes the doors.
Same tune. One tune.
Over. And over. And over.
[John Waters: “Without obsession, life is nothing.”]
From end to end.
The tune on a loop three to six times depending on traffic.
↓ click for audio (Harry Chapin – “All My Life’s A Circle”)
The Big Gato waits. Crouched.
Tapping his fingers on the seat. Impatient.
Waiting for Chapin to stop jabbering.
And then it comes. 4:30 on the running time.
I crank the volume up.
The dashboard vibrates.
Chapin cues him up.
Michael, the Cellist. Man Singing with Soul.
DK and the rest of the band join him to belt it out to the finish:
All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
The Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.
All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
The Seasons’ spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.
Image Source: MTVhive
Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in a laboratory with Dr. Boas and he was talking to me and a group of other people about religion, insisting that life must have a meaning, that man couldn’t live without that. Then he made a mass of jelly-like stuff of the most beautiful blue I had ever seen — and he seemed to be asking us all what to do with it. I remember thinking it was very beautiful but wondering helplessly what it was for. People came and went making absurd suggestions. Somehow Dr. Boas tried to carry them out — but always the people went away angry, or disappointed — and finally after we’d been up all night they had all disappeared and there were just the two of us. He looked at me and said, appealingly “Touch it.” I took some of the astonishingly blue beauty in my hand, and felt with a great thrill that it was living matter. I said “Why it’s life — and that’s enough” — and he looked so pleased that I had found the answer — and said yes “It’s life and that is wonder enough.”
~ Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
Quote Source: Brain Pickings - Life Is Like Blue Jelly: Margaret Mead Discovers the Meaning of Existence in a Dream. Image: Unknown.
There’s no solace
above or below.
Only us —
battling one another.
I pray to myself,
~ House of Cards, 1×12.
I tripped into this recipe catching up on the week’s papers. My eyes locked in on Marmalade. And I HAD to have it. The NY Times piece by Melissa Clark was titled: Sweetness is Found In a Slice. The recipe was for British Marmalade Cake. (Who knew the Brits could bake?)
“This beautiful, tender, citrus-scented loaf cake filled with bits of candied orange peel is everything you want with your afternoon tea. The key is finding the right marmalade; it needs to be the thick-cut (also known as coarse-cut) marmalade made with bitter oranges, which will be laden with big pieces of peel. Look for the British brands in the international section of your supermarket if the jam aisle lets you down. (And not give up and use the neon orange marmalade that’s more like jelly.) Your reward is a fine-grained, not-too-sweet cake that will last for days well-wrapped and stored at room temperature (if you can manage not to eat it up all at once).”
Bottom Line: Skip the tea. (Sacrilegious for you Brits, I know). Grab a fork, a glass of cold milk and belly up. THIS IS BLOODY GOOD.
See Recipe below: [Read more...]
You’ll read the papers later today. They’ll say:
- Undefeated and decisive. (Toronto Global & Mail)
- Smothering (National Post)
- Dominating. (NY Times)
- Relentless. (Chicago Tribune)
- Four lines deep that just kept coming. (Toronto Star)
We watched you lock arms and sing O Canada. We sang along teary eyed. Our bodies tingled as we watched our Maple Leaf raised.
From all Canadians and ex-pats, Bravo Men.
Gold. Canada Gold.
4:45 am. Wednesday morning. Hump Day.
I lay in bed. I glance left to the window. It’s dark. Quiet.
Zeke nuzzles closer.
I close my eyes.
What’s it going to be?
1/2 way back. 3/4 way back. All Better?
I ease out of bed. And inhale.
A twinge. A bite. A grimace. An exhalation.
Let’s call it 75%.
Bit of grade inflation but we’re going with it.
I ease into the car.
The icicles on the eaves dripping.
Yes. Make it be Spring.
10:00 am meeting. Annoyances are whispy, floating in a thin ibuprofen haze in an otherwise cloudless sky. 10:14 am. Left eye begins to water. A fountain with intermittent spurts. The corneal abrasion roars out of remission and is shooting flares. 10:30 am. In the car, heading home. One hand over eye. The other keeping the wheel between the lanes, driving well below speed limit behind a semi trailer truck. 11:30 am. Sitting in darkness. Taking conference calls.
Dispel this cloud, the light of heaven restore; Give me to see, and Ajax asks no more. (Homer)
5:35 am. Thursday. Fever?
I pop 3 Extra Strength Tylenol. And start pounding on emails. My left elbow tingles. I pull my sweatshirt up. It’s swollen, baseball size and throbbing. WTH? Where? How? Why? Thoughts race. We’re in a bit of a rhythm here:
Left lower back.
Left corneal abrasion.
When it doesn’t feel right, go left.
And, if it doesn’t feel left?
Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18-year-old wunderkind of ski racing.
She became the youngest slalom world champion a year ago.
Shiffrin sped past the finish line to become the youngest Olympic slalom champion.
She is the first American to win the event in 42 years.
“You can create your own miracle,” Shiffrin said when the gold medal was on a sash draped around her neck. “But you do it by never looking past all the little steps along the way.”
Don’t miss the full inspirational story @ NY Times – American Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Gold In Slalom
Thank you Susan
Don’t fish? Don’t like fishing? Don’t care about fishing? No worries. This short film is so much bigger than that.
…It’s easy to stay inside when the weather isn’t pleasant. Sometimes convincing yourself to get out is the hardest part. And once you’re out, it’d easy to find an excuse to quit. But there are just some things you can’t see from the inside of your house. Some things you can’t feel and experience from the comfort of your warm home. Things your high definition TV can’t give justice to.
The woods are silent. And the water abandoned by the crowds who surrender to the cold. You fully appreciate the stream you fish, when you see it cycle through all its seasons. The dense thick green canopy is gone. And the stream runs crisp clean and bright. The sun touches water it only reaches a few month a year.
The pain of frozen extremities fades fast when you hook that first fish. And all of the sudden, it all seems worth it. You forget about all of your problems. You forget about the ice in your guides. The frozen hands. The problems at home. Troubles at work. It all fades.
At the end of a cold day of fishing you end up much more thankful than when began. Thankful for the motivation to get up and get out. Thankful for the lessons of the day. Thankful for the fish you may have been blessed with. And thankful to return home to the things outside of fishing.”
Canada: 3. USA: 2. OT. Gold medal game.
What a game!
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan,
stays just long enough
to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark source.
As for me,
I don’t care
where it’s been,
or what bitter road it’s traveled
to come so far,
to taste so good.
~ Stephen Dunn
In the midst of winter,
I found there was,
an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy.
For it says
that no matter how hard
the world pushes against me,
there’s something stronger—
pushing right back.
— Albert Camus, from The Stranger
Source: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom
12” snowfall overnight. DK working from home.
SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
SK: (Eye roll) You’re going to let me do it? Again?
DK: I’ll do it this afternoon after I finish my calls.
SK: No you won’t.
DK: Are you going to keep riding me on this all day?
3” of additional snowfall overnight.
SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
DK: No. Not before work. I’m not showering again.
DK: Just leave it until I return tonight. It will warm up and melt.
SK: Really? You’re kidding right? (She heads outside to shovel.)
DK: I told you to leave it. (She has this Thing about a clean driveway)
SK: How do you plan to get out?
DK: Get out of the way. I’m going to ram through the piles with the car.
DK ventures outside to clear the back steps. SK opens the door.
SK: Why don’t you use the steel edger/chopper to break the ice?
DK: Oh come on. Really? I’ve shoveled show before. Get inside.
SK: OK have it your way.
(Mumbling. Girl telling Canadian how to shovel snow. What’s next?)
I get after it.
I bend the show shovel trying to break the ice.
I lean on it to try bend it back.
I look through the back door to see if she’s watching.
Coast is clear.
I stomp through the snow to get to the garage to get the steel chopper.
I start slamming the ice.
On the third swing, I hit concrete.
Cold, vibrating steel.
Shooting, stabbing pain in my lower back.
Air whooshes out of my lungs.
I fall to my knees. (Dear God help me.)
SK: What’s wrong?
DK: My back.
SK: You’re joking, right?
DK: Does it look like a joke? (I crawl upstairs to bed.)
SK: (Laughing) Do you see any irony here?
DK: No. I don’t actually. None.
DK: I do see you getting enormous pleasure seeing me keeled over in pain.
SK: Oh, come on. Big Man clears 2-steps. I shovel massive piles of snow. (Still laughing)
DK: Stay away from me. Way back.
Snow forecast 3″-5” tonight.
Still, for whatever reason—
perhaps because the winter is so long
and the sky so black-blue,
or perhaps because the heart narrows
as often as it opens—
I am grateful
that red bird comes all winter
firing up the landscape
as nothing else can do.
—Mary Oliver, closing lines to “Red Bird,” from Red Bird
“20 years ago, Steven Millward tragically broke his neck falling off a rodeo horse; now, he must call upon his friend, veteran horse whisperer Grant Golliher, to gentle the new colts about to enter his herd. Through Grant’s compassion and dedication to the horses, Steven becomes inspired to live his dreams of riding once again.”
As I told your Mom in our wedding vows,
I promise to love you fiercely too.
One day, when you’re a Mother, you’ll know the kind of love that I am talking about.
A love that makes my eyes well up with tears of joy when you simply hug me.
A love that moves me to rise from bed and check on you at three in the morning mostly because I just miss you when you sleep.
A love that makes it hard for me to let go of your hand when you try to balance on something because I know you need to learn from your mistakes.
I promise to look you in the eyes when you come to me with a problem.
I’ll always want to fix it for you right then and there.
I promise to listen as to whether you’ll want a hand or just an ear.
I promise to drop you off at college and when I do, I promise to do my best to contain my excitement for you so that I won’t embarrass you in front of your new friends.
I promise to have a reputation amongst your friends as a Dad that intimidates your boyfriends.
I promise to raise you to be strong and independent.
I promise to cry when I let go of your hand when I let go of your hand at the alter…
…I want you to know that every time when you open the door when I come home from work you’ll see a smile on my face
My arms already open ready to catch you
I’ll always be ready to catch you…
For you, Rachel…