Early we receive the call

Christian-Wiman-portrait
The endless, useless urge to look on life comprehensively, to take a bird’s-eye view of ourselves and judge the dimensions of what we have or have not done: this is life as a landscape, or life as resume. But life is incremental, and though a worthwhile life is a gathering together of all that one is, good and bad, successful and not, the paradox is that we can never really see this one that all of our increments (and decrements, I suppose) add up to. “Early we receive a call,” writes Czeslaw Milosz, “yet it remains incomprehensible, / and only late do we discover how obedient we were.”

— Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013)


I finished this book last night. As Henry David Thoreau said: “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”


Notes:

Sunday Morning: Love Japan


This short film beautifully captures the soul and spirit of Japan. (And we’ll forgive them for wrapping it with Bon Iver’s beautiful Holocene.)

Good Sunday Morning.


Blog. Write. Share. Why? I’m an acolyte.

North-star-Polaris

From Steven Pressfield: Why, #3:

In many ways this blog is me talking to myself. What makes the thing work, if indeed it does, is that there are a lot people like me and they are dealing with the same issues I’m dealing with. So talking to myself in this public forum is, in its way, a meditation for those individuals as well. So I don’t ask myself, “What do I imagine others want to read in this space?” I ask, “What do I want? What issues are bothering me? What questions am I exploring?”

Don’t miss reading about “serving the muse” and “the irresistible gravitational pull of your Pole Star”

Is that an answer to the question, “Why am I writing this blog? Why are you reading it?”

May be. In asking myself these questions and publishing them in this public forum, I’m hoping a) to fortify and enlighten myself in this mysterious journey, and b) to tell you that you’re not alone, that your questions (which I can’t help but believe are just like mine) are not silly or fatuous or unworthy, and that at least one other person on this planet—i.e., me—is just as crazy as you are.

Read more here: Why, #3


 

SMWI*: Up Chubby. Up.

seal-gif-funny-jump


SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Metamorphosis


Saturday Morning

light-bed-hotel-rest-sleep-saturday


Source: Griffstream

5:00 Bell

hot-tub-vacation-relax


Source: Wine is bottled poetry

The touch of this silk, tender raindrops against the shoji

shoji-japanese

‘Always remember, child,’ her first teacher had impressed on her, ‘that to think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral you down into ever-increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that need disipline –training- is about. So train your mind to dwell on sweet perfumes, the touch of this silk, tender raindrops against the shoji, the curve of the flower arrangement, the tranquillity of dawn. Then, at length, you won’t have to make such a great effort and you will be of value to yourself.’”

- James Clavell, Shōgun


Credits: Photograph: mlisowsk, Yoshijima-ke, Yoshijima heritage house, Takayama, Japan. Quote: The Poet Master

Believe

elephants-gif-flying
I saw a peanut stand,
heard a rubber band,
And seen a needle wink its eye
But I be done seen about everything
When I see an elephant fly
When I see an elephant fly

I’ve seen a front porch swing,
heard a diamond ring
I’ve seen a polka dot railroad tie
But I be done seen about everything
When I see an elephant fly

I saw a clothes horse rear up and buck
And they tell me that a man made a vegetable truck
I didn’t see that, I only heard
Just to be sociable, well, I’ll take your word

I heard a fireside chat, I saw a baseball bat
And I just laughed till I thought I’d die
But I be done seen about everything
When I see an elephant fly

But I be done seen about everything
When I see an elephant fly
When I see an elephant fly

~ When I see an elephant fly, From “Dumbo


Image Source: Gifak

 

T.G.I.F.: It’s Been A Long Week

round and round


Source: Gifak

 

Speed

woman-portrait-back-bird

[…]
Shooting the void in silence,
like a bird,
A bird that shuts his wings
for better speed.

~ Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, From ”Sonnet XXVIII”

 


Notes:

 

My Breakfast

food-funny-baby-dog


Source: sjack959

Live

life-frustrado-Hossein-Zare


From My Modern Met:

Hossein Zare, is an Iranian photographer. He is an absolute master at creating spectacular photos that depict otherworldly and surreal scenes. Through a combination of photography and digital manipulation in Photoshop, Zare creates powerful images that look as if they come from dreamscapes, with recurring motifs such as ladders that stretch endlessly into the clouds, expansive and barren fields, sprawling cities, and a lone figure wandering through these strange landscapes in search of something.

More of his work can be found here: Hossein Zare


Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

Caleb-camel-hump-day-wednesday


Caleb was in Central Park way before the horse and buggy rides showed up. Debra, from The Ptero Card, shared the following:

“I knew I had a more personal connection to Caleb. It was a long time ago, somewhere in the late 1960′s New York City. As you can see from the photo, I had to share him with others.”


Thank you Debra

The Joker

face-eye-portrait-black-and-white

It’s the end of a (very) long day, concluding with a work dinner. I drag myself out of the car, pulling my briefcase behind me. My shirt tail is untucked. My tie half undone. My shoes, dusty and scuffed. A disheveled, sloppy mess.

I’m hopeful that I can slither into the house and get a few minutes to myself. I enter. The house is quiet but for the soft murmur of a TV running on another floor. I slowly strip my shoes and socks, with my bare feet cooling on the wood floor. I’m in decompression. Hose me down with pure oxygen. Let Solitude rain on me.

And then.

There’s Thunder. Four legs storming up the stairs. Zeke’s bounding down the hallway. Dad’s Home! He wiggles in and out of my legs. Kissing (licking) my suit pants, leaving white slobber dripping from my crotch. Well that’s nice. Ah, just forget it. It just adds to your ensemble.

Susan rounds the corner. My Hummingbird spewing nectar all over. She’s talking. I’m listening. (Sort of.) The subject turns.

SK: Do you want some feedback? [Read more...]

Truth

gif-ink-pen-fountain pen

Print is predictable and impersonal,
conveying information
in a mechanical transaction with the reader’s eye.
Handwriting, by contrast, resists the eye,
reveals its meaning slowly,
and is as intimate as skin.”

—  Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being


Now if only I possessed legible handwriting…


Credits: Image Source: THISISEVERYTHING. Quote Source: WordsNQuotes

 

Morning Meditation: 40 Seconds In the Alps


 

Staring at the Flame

black and white,portrait

[...] his intuition was luminous from the instant you met him. So was his intelligence. A lot of actors act intelligent, but Philip was the real thing: a shining, artistic polymath with an intelligence that came at you like a pair of headlights and enveloped you from the moment he grabbed your hand, put a huge arm round your neck and shoved a cheek against yours; or if the mood took him, hugged you to him like a big, pudgy schoolboy, then stood and beamed at you while he took stock of the effect.

Philip took vivid stock of everything, all the time. It was painful and exhausting work, and probably in the end his undoing. The world was too bright for him to handle. He had to screw up his eyes or be dazzled to death. Like Chatterton, he went seven times round the moon to your one, and every time he set off, you were never sure he’d come back, which is what I believe somebody said about the German poet Hölderlin: Whenever he left the room, you were afraid you’d seen the last of him. And if that sounds like wisdom after the event, it isn’t. Philip was burning himself out before your eyes. Nobody could live at his pace and stay the course, and in bursts of startling intimacy he needed you to know it.

[...] He seemed to kiss his lines rather than speak them. Then gradually he did what only the greatest actors can do. He made his voice the only authentic one, the lonely one, the odd one out, the one you depended on amid all the others. And every time it left the stage, like the great man himself, you waited for its return with impatience and mounting unease.

We shall wait a long time for another Philip.

~ John le Carré on Philip Seymour Hoffman, Staring at the Flame


Notes:


Monday (Anti) Mantra. Always. Always this…

melon-light

how you can never reach it,
no matter how hard you try,
walking as fast as you can,
but getting nowhere,
arms and legs pumping,
sweat drizzling in rivulets;
each year, a little slower,
more creaks and aches, less breath.
Ah, but these soft nights,
air like a warm bath,
the dusky wings of bats careening crazily overhead,
and you’d think the road goes on forever.
Apollinaire wrote, “What isn’t given to love is so much wasted,”
and I wonder what I haven’t given yet.
A thin comma moon rises orange,
a skinny slice of melon,
so delicious I could drown in its sweetness.
Or eat the whole thing, down to the rind.
Always, this hunger for more.

Barbara Crooker, How the Trees on Summer Nights Turn Into A Dark River


Notes:


Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

dog-sleepy-cute-adorable-puppy


Source: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom via Sabon

Sweet Jesus

biscuits-jam-cream


From Humingbird High in Portland Oregon:

Sweet Cream Biscuits with Plum Jam and Earl Grey Whipped Cream

Find recipe and additional pictures here.


Source: Steps on My Sunlight Floor

Lighting a little dark as I go

falling-star
“The temptation is to make an idol of our own experience, to assume our pain is more singular than it is. Even here, in some of the entries above, I see that I have fallen prey to it. In truth, experience means nothing if it does not mean beyond itself: we mean nothing unless and until our hard-won meanings are internalized and catalyzed within the lives of others. There is something I am meant to see, something for which my own situation and suffering are the lens, but the cost of such seeing — I am just beginning to realize — may very well be any final clarity or perspective on my own life, my own faith. That would not be a bad fate, to burn up like the booster engine that falls aways from the throttling rocket, lighting a little dark as I go.”

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

On the afternoon of his 39th birthday, less than a year after his wedding day, poet Christian Wiman was diagnosed with an incurable cancer of the blood. Wiman had long ago drifted away from the Southern Baptist beliefs of his upbringing. But the shock of staring death in the face gradually revived a faith that had gone dormant. Wiman’s book of essays, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer took shape in the wake of his diagnosis, when he believed death could be fast approaching. These writings come from someone who is less a cautious theologian than a pilgrim crying out from the depths. They divulge the God-ward hopes (and doubts) of an artist still piecing together a spiritual puzzle. San Francisco-based lawyer and author Josh Jeter corresponded with Wiman about his new book, his precarious health, and the ongoing challenge of belief in God. (Source: CT)


Notes:

 

Running. With Sticks.

drum-gif-smash

6:30 am.

Mid-July, and it’s 63º F. Overcast. Low humidity.

PULL UP THE DAMN DOUBLE-DECKER GRATITUDE BUS.

I’m out the door. And down the highway.

I’m flicking through my playlist. James Taylor. Click. Bonnie Raitt. Click. Bryan Adams. WarmerClick. David Sanborn. Cool down, maybe. Click. Sara McLachlan. Animal Cruelty Videos. Click. Click. Jimmy Buffet. Margaritaville. NO. CLICK.  

And then, AC-DC.

And THEN, AC-DC.

THUNDERSTUCK. Sound of the drums beating my heart.

Block: Morning weigh-in. Re-grip the sticks…and Swing.
Block: Heavy legs. Re-grip the sticks…and Pound.
Block: Lack of sleep. Re-grip…and Slam.
Block: Work. WORK. Re-grip, unleash and Pulverize ‘em.

Time Check: 6.12 miles @ 55.08 minutes.

Nap Time.


Notes:

5:00 Bell: Going Home

summer-drive-chill


Source: Visualphotos.com via Youreyesblazeout

 

Manhattanhenge

manhattanhenge-sun-sunrise
Twice a year the setting sun aligns perfectly with the grid of east-west streets of the main street grid in Manhattan, New York, making for a rather spectacular site as the city practically catches alight. Known as Manhattanhenge – named for a similar occurrence that takes place during solstices at Stonehenge in the UK – the spectacle draws thousands of New Yorkers into the streets to appreciate the unique sunset and capture it on camera. (Source: Veooz)

This photograph was taken on 42nd street in New York City by Eduard Moldoveanu on July 11, 2014.


Eduard Moldoveanu Photography: Eduard Moldoveanu is an engineer by day but photographer anytime he gets together with his camera. He has been in the darkroom since he was a teenager. Back then using negative film he was capturing family events and the beauty of his country, Romania. As he moves into the digital format he re-discover the passion for photography. Today he is a freelancer loving the landscapes and nature but you will find him shooting portraits, sports, street life or abstract photography as well. He is also a Getty contributor and his work can be also find on Getty website.  

Don’t miss his portfolio at Enchanted Moments Studio.


T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

funny-bear-gif-fall


(Note to Self: I know what the outcome is. How many times can I watch this?)


Source: gifak-net.tumblr.com

Breakfast: This. Or That?

So, what’s it going to be for breakfast?

Raspberries?

raspberries-red-fruit-sweet

or…

[Read more...]

Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing can be pleasing

leaf-falling-gif
Again I resume the long lesson:
how small a thing can be pleasing,
how little in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind and bring it to its rest.

Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed light,
a few leaves fall of their own weight.

The sky is gray.
It begins in mist almost at the ground
and rises forever.
The trees rise in silence
almost natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but not quite.

What more did I think I wanted?
Here is what has always been.
Here is what will always be.
Even in me,
the Maker of all this returns in rest,
even to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly falling,
and is pleased.

Wendell Berry


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly

bubbles


Credits:

  • Image Source: jaimejustelaphoto.
  • Other Lightly Child, Lightly posts: 1) Lightly child, lightly, 2) Lightly Child. Lightly.
  • 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.”

 

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-kiss-cute-funny


Look at my form!


Source: Inquisitr

Memento Mori

camera-gif-photograph

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

— Susan Sontag


Notes:

First things first

coffee-funny-morning-work


Source: Thank you Assorted

Rachel: Your Dad was a wee bit ahead of his time…


The Huffington Post: Colbie Caillat Rallies Against Photoshop In ‘Try’ Music Video:

In her music video for “Try,” Colbie Caillat takes a stance against Photoshop. She starts off the video looking like (as MTV put it) “a cartoonized version of Mariah Carey in a Dove ad” and proceeds to un-Photoshop herself, ending the song as her natural, unedited self, alongside a wonderfully diverse set of women, who undergo the same transition.

“When I shot the first scene with no hair and makeup on in front of an HD camera in my face, flashed with bright lights, everyone was watching,” she told Elle. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, I bet they’re all looking at my blemishes, thinking that I should cover them up, or that I should put some volume in my hair.’ But it also felt really cool to be on camera with zero on, like literally nothing on. And then when it got to the full hair and makeup, I actually felt gross. I was just so caked on.”

[...]Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you


Thank you Liz.


Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: (Very) Sleepy

doberman-puppy-cute-sleepy-adorable doberman-puppy-cute-sleepy-adorable-2


Source: Tiny Doberman puppy from Attack of the Cute

Sunday Sermon

photography,Montana,black and white
I always have this sense that something is going to resolve my spiritual anxieties once and for all, that one day I’ll just relax and be a believer. I read book after book. I seek out intense experiences in art, in nature, or in conversations with people I respect and who seem to rest more securely in their faith than I do. Sometimes it seems that gains are made, for these things can and do provide relief and instruction. But always the anxiety comes back, is the norm from which faith deviates, if faith is even what you would call these intense but somehow vague and fleeting experiences of God. I keep forgetting, or perhaps simply will not let myself see, what true faith is, its active and outward nature. I should never pray to be at peace in my belief. I should pray only that my anxiety be given peaceful outlets, that I might be the means to a peace that I myself do not feel.

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer


Notes:

 

Sunday Morning: Taste it

morning-sunrise-river
When you are a young person, you are like a young creek, and you meet many rocks, many obstacles and difficulties on your way. You hurry to get past these obstacles and get to the ocean. But as the creek moves down through the fields, it becomes larger and calmer and it can enjoy the reflection of the sky. It’s wonderful. You will arrive at the sea anyway so enjoy the journey. Enjoy the sunshine, the sunset, the moon, the birds, the trees, and the many beauties along the way. Taste every moment of your daily life.

Thich Nhat Hanh 


Sources: Photograph: Peter in Buscot, England, UK. Quote: Thank you Karen @ Tearinyourhand

 

Summer

surf-texas-Kenny-braun


Kenny Braun Photography: Kenny Braun is a Texas photographer that’s equal parts Thoreau and Avedon—an existential outdoorsman and consummate professional who adeptly captures everything from remote places to far away gazes. He brings a consistent visual identity to a wide range of subject matter by focusing on quality of light, color and mood. Music, surfing and photography have been his passions since high-school, each influencing the other. His personal work explores a sense of place and memory by returning to scenes from his childhood. His curiosity about faces and places is evident in his work, which is so vivid you can’t even imagine a photographer being involved.


Source: Kenny Braun Photography via YHBTI

Saturday Morning

saturday-morning-read-book-coffee-relax


Source: coffeeandlight via SensualStarfish

5:00 PM Bell!

office-funny-friday-TGIF


Source: Chikita Banana

 

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

dog-cute-funny-dirty


Source: Magical Nature Tours

The quiet irreplaceable and companionable presence of a daughter

father-daughter-beach-walk
Joy is a meeting place, of deep intentionality and of self forgetting, the bodily alchemy of what lies inside us in communion with what formally seemed outside, but is now neither, but become a living frontier, a voice speaking between us and the world: dance, laughter, affection, skin touching skin, singing in the car, music in the kitchen, the quiet irreplaceable and companionable presence of a daughter: the sheer intoxicating beauty of the world inhabited as an edge between what we previously thought was us and what we thought was other than us.

~ David Whyte


Notes:

  • For Rachel, on your Birthday today.
  • Sources: Poem/Quote – Thank you Makebelieveboutique.com. Photograph: dpf.peterFather & daughter walk along beachTofino, BC, Canada — Image by © Henry Georgi/Wave/Corbis

There’s Joy. There’s Exaltation. There’s You.

Rachel - five - swimming
22 years ago, you came in our lives.
Here you are at five.
We couldn’t imagine our lives without you.
Happy Birthday Honey.

Mom & Dad


Need a whole new syntax for fatigue on days like this

fatigue-tired-exhausted-read


Post Title: David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest. Photograph Source: art42

Michael, you Curmudgeon. Even you might smile at this.


Hump Day Howl from Belka the Siberian Husky. 20 days old.


Thank you Lori.

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day

OK, now this, THIS, is something special. Sandy, a fellow WordPress blogger @ A Mind Divided, shared this vintage photograph and explained:

My mom and dad travelled a lot after they retired from farming.  I found this picture of them from 1974 when they were in Morocco and immediately thought of you.

And look at Sandy’s Mom and Dad proudly posing with Caleb, who was just a baby…but had high voltage star power even in the early 70′s. Thank you Sandy!


Blue Bayou

Blue-clouds-solitude

↓ click for audio (Linda Ronstadt – “Blue Bayou”)

 


Source: Autosafari

A Robin. Builds a nest.

Nest-Robin-eggs-blue

Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers points us to a wonderful story at the Audubon Magazine titled: What It’d Take to Build a Human-Sized Robin’s Nest.

Find Rob’s post here: Nest.

And be sure to click through. Wonderful Story.


Today. July 8th. A LARGE day…

coffee-almond-chocolate-bark

Did you know that the United States has more than 175 days to celebrate the awareness of food or drink? And, per Wiki’s List of Food Days, 14 of them, including today, are dedicated to the awareness of CHOCOLATE? Here’s the line-up for Chocolate Days:

  • Jan 03: National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
  • Jan 27: National Chocolate Cake Day
  • Jun 16: National (Chocolate) Fudge Day
  • Jun 26: National Chocolate Pudding Day
  • Jul 03: National Chocolate Wafer Day
  • Jul 08: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
  • Jul 25: National Hot (Chocolate) Fudge Sundae Day
  • Jul 28: National Milk Chocolate Day
  • Oct 28: National Chocolate Day
  • Nov 07: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
  • Nov 29: National Chocolates Day
  • Nov 30: National (Chocolate) Mousse Day
  • Dec 04: National (Chocolate Chip) Cookie Day
  • Dec 08: Naitonal (Chocolate) Brownie Day

So, go ahead and celebrate today. Change it up this morning.  Think Chocolate. Instead of your cup-a-joe, grab 1 or 3 or 5 pieces of my favorite chocolate combos: Coffee & Roasted Almonds Chocolate Bark (above) made by Foodhearts.com.


Thank you Lorne

Monday Mantra(s): Flow & Focus

baby,cute,bird


Source: Huffington Post (Baby owl was 1 week old when he was admitted to the New Zealand Bird Rescue Hospital.)

Monday morning after a long weekend

hippo-close-up-funny


Tired, testy and feelin’ Titanic…


Source: Themetapicture.com

Something is off

blood-drop-red
Something is off. Life passes and we do not recognize it. The past streams through us like molecules we can’t perceive…They are not so much remembered as resurrected in us, little stitches of ordinary time that suddenly —a prick in the existential skin, a little dot of Being’s blood— aren’t. Is it merely certain temperaments—inclined to solitude and absence, feasting on distances —that are at once susceptible to these little epiphanies and yet slow to recognize them for what they are? Or is it a symptom of the times— distracted, busy, forward-rushing— that we are in? Or a symptom of time itself as we have come to understand it:

We have constructed an environment in which we live a uniform, univocal secular time, which we try to measure and control in order to get things done. This “time frame” deserves, perhaps more than any other facet of modernity, Weber’s famous description of a “stahlhartes Gehäuse” (iron cage).

—Charles Taylor, A Secular Age

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013)

 


Notes: