The Vacation

boat-river-Euphrates-Turkey

Excerpt from wsj.com: “Have You Twittered Away Your Summer” by Danny Heitman:

“…As a veteran journalist, I’d be wary of following Twain’s example in disregarding an editorial deadline. But his larger point—that savoring the sheer joy of travel is more important than documenting it—resonates with special urgency these days, as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram compel us to chronicle every moment of a journey in real time. Can this kind of reportorial obsession destroy the very moment we’re trying to capture? Wendell Berry, writing a generation ago, thought that it could. In “The Vacation,” a poem published in his 1994 collection, “Entries,” Berry considers a tourist intent on faithfully recording his seasonal getaway:

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.

He went flying down the river in his boat

with his video camera to his eye, making

a moving picture of the moving river

upon which the sleek boat moved swiftly

toward the end of his vacation. . . .

And so the poem continues, with Berry’s exacting traveler translating each fleeting moment of his sojourn into the comfortable permanence of videotape. He’s so busy filming his day, though, that he forgets to live it. “With a flick of the switch, there it would be,” Berry writes of this homemade travelogue. “But he would not be in it. He would never be in it…”

Read more @wsj.com: “Have You Twittered Away Your Summer


Image Source: Travel & Leisure. Photo courtesy of @danielkrieger: Halfeti along the Euphrates river in Turkey

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel


Caleb and his friends: “Say Cheese”

Find more @ Fine Dining Lovers: “Milking It In Africa: Ethiopian Camel Cheese


Some days, some days…

funny-tree-frogs-hanging-branch

…after a long day, you need to hang out with your best friend


Notes:

What’s the passion for?

ribbon-red-suspended

My own brain
is to me the most unaccountable of machinery -
always buzzing,
humming,
soaring
roaring
diving,
and then buried in mud.
And why?
What’s this passion for?

~ Virginia Woolf


Credits: Poem – Et in Arcadia Ego*

Hearing Voices

thoughts-mind-funny


Source: Heyelley

Sleep like a bird?

Tree hotel in Sweden


It is the Treehotel’s Bird’s Nest room in Harads, in northern Sweden. From the outside, the room resembles an actual nest, a conglomerate of giant twigs. But from the inside, the room looks like that of a luxury resort. It’s large enough to sleep four. The design was to provide a contrast between indoors and outdoors.

Don’t miss photo’s of the inside of the Bird’s Nest Room at Grindtv.com: Treehotel puts you up…in a bird’s nest.


Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Hello? Hello? You up Yet?

cute-adorable


Image Source: YourEyesBlazeOut

Darwinism. Maternalism. And Zeke.

baby-bird-030

Susan finds an abandoned baby bird on the lawn in the backyard. She has to protect it. To save it.

She cups it in her hand. She calls out to me to help.

“Put it back.”

I don’t get a response. A few minutes later she has the bird in a clear, plastic container. Where did she find that? (Note to self: Cache of Bird paraphernalia is growing.)

“Look at how cute she is.”

I glance at it. I’m gulping the flashback: What’s with you and birds? It was a different mother then. A Robin. Also, trying, to protect her young. The irony not lost on me.

“What do you think we should do?”

“I think you should put it back.” She’s getting attached. This will end badly.

“But it can’t fly!”

Zeke is circling. He’s sniffing wildly. His eyes are full. His breed and his blood, the Vizsla, was trained for generations to look up. To flush. To retrieve. It’s all about Birds.

“Its Mother can’t find it either. Go put it back. Near the trees.”

She ignores me. (Again.) I see her cupping the bird. Bobbing its beak in water.

“Come on birdy. Take a drink. Then we’re going back.”

That was Thursday.

Birdy had reappeared near the fence yesterday afternoon.
[Read more...]

Our dark and our light are so intertwined

Jeff-Bridges

He considers his latest film (The Giver), co-starring Taylor Swift and Meryl Streep, a cautionary tale. “I think it’s an impulse for human beings to want to suffer less, and we’re kind of addicted to comfort at all costs—at least I am. And of course comfort has a price,” he says. “So the film is asking…what’s the true cost of our comfort, and what are we willing to pay?”

What is he too comfortable with? Sitting on a long white leather couch at a photo studio in New York, Mr. Bridges holds up a half-eaten almond croissant. “I love taste, and I love the immediate gratification of flavor and that satisfying swallow you feel all over,” he says. “But I look at my body and I should say, ‘Is that really the most healthy thing for me?'”…

But leaning back and eyeing the last of his croissant, he says that he is constantly dealing with the idea of perfection. “Wouldn’t it be great if I stopped eating this and worked out every day?” he asks. “Imperfection and perfection go so hand in hand, and our dark and our light are so intertwined, that by trying to push the darkness or the so-called negative aspects of our life to the side…we are preventing ourselves from the fullness of life.”

He’s referring to one of his favorite quotations by the Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “…the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Mr. Bridges interprets it as a reason not to judge other people. “You’re saying that guy’s evil, somebody else is saying you’re evil, and we all have that in common, but as The Dude might say, ‘That’s just your opinion, man,’ ” he says. “What I’m proposing is that we’re all connected, and we’re all in it together.”

~ Alexandra Wolfe in her interview of 64-year old actor Jeff Bridges

Read full interview in wsj.com: Things That Jeff Bridges Can’t Abide


Notes: NY Times Movie Review of The Giver

SMWI*: Go Baby, Go!

gif


SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: memeguy.com


Mama’s Boy. Then. And Now.

Here’s Eric with his Mom at 9 years old.

mama's boy 2

And here’s Eric with his Mom last night in front of the restaurant in Norwalk where we had dinner. He’s now 20:

[Read more...]

TGIF: 5:00 Bell!

cow-bell


Source: Weeklyrandom

Ignite it. Let it come out to play.

face-paint-color

[…] Not just offering an object,
but the soul,
your life’s mission ignited and on fire,
burning with a thousand different flames,
all blazing and sparking together
in more than a lifetime
of sleepless nights and saturated days.
Your soul has something to say.
Let it come out and play.

~ Quaglia Cocco

 


Credits: Poem – Thank you makebelieveboutique.com. Photography: ThePalette.  About Quaglia Cocco.

Long Day? Just – – It.

funny-gif-cat-girl-moving-hips-wiggle


Source: themetapicture.com. Thanks Susan.

Our Zeke. In The Pose.

dog-model-vizla


…False. Not Zeke. Our Zeke wouldn’t stand still for 3 seconds. Love this dog and the spray paint art.

Now, here’s Rachel’s shot of our Zeke below (and yes, bribed to look up with a treat).

[Read more...]

Our Zeke. In the Pose.

dog-model-vizla


…False. Not Zeke. Our Zeke wouldn’t stand still for 3 seconds. Love this dog and the spray paint art.

Now, here’s Rachel’s shot of our Zeke in his real pose (and yes, bribed to look up for a treat).

[Read more...]

More from Morford

robin-williams

(Yet) another great piece by Mark Morford on the aftermath of Robin Williams death titled: A little spark of madness:

Was this really necessary?…

No answer comes. This is the beautiful, brutal secret of the universe. No answer ever comes. It just keeps dancing.

…Really now, do we not invent many of our own demons, feed and coddle them, manufacture and amplify and make them into unstoppable armies? Given the size of the population, our rapacious rates of consumption, the dazzling reach of the Internet and the speed at which suffering can now gain traction and travel, we have more potential threats to the stability of our psyche – both personal and collective – than we’ve ever had before…

But then, what of the popular Jungian notion that the dark side, the shadow is ever-present and ever lurking? What do we make of the idea that we are ever at the mercy of our own treacherous temptations and inherent flaws? What of the fear that whatever took down Williams is ever breathing at all our doors?…

What do you think?…

Read his wonderful perspective and inspirational conclusion @ A little spark of madness:


Credits: Image form Living in Maine

Hmmmmmm

read-book

Why, it might be asked, does literature have to have a business at all? Is it not sufficient that it give pleasure, convey information, widen experience, provide flashes of insight? One reads the world’s finest novels, plays, poems, and in time one becomes a more cultivated person, which means somehow more refined, subtler, deeper, possibly even—though this might be pushing it—better. You are what you read; and culture, like heredity and cheap paint, rubs off.

~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays. Axios Press.

 


Notes: Image Source – Distant Passion


 

 

 

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-baby-albino


Caleb, his harem and baby Albino out for a walk on Hump Day…


Source: Benoit Cappronnier. Camels and baby albino camel taken in Massawa, Etritrea.

What will your verse be?

Dead-Poets-Society-01

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

~ Robin Williams as John Keating, Dead Poets Society (1989)


Credits: Image – creofire. Quote – imdb.com

Is it a blessing? Totally.

robin-williams

Interview in The Guardian, September, 2010:

He takes everything, he says, more slowly now…”You know, I was shameful, and you do stuff that causes disgust, and that’s hard to recover from. You can say, ‘I forgive you’ and all that stuff, but it’s not the same as recovering from it. It’s not coming back.”

…it may well be down to the open-heart surgery he underwent early last year, when surgeons replaced his aortic valve with one from a pig.

“Oh, God, you find yourself getting emotional. It breaks through your barrier, you’ve literally cracked the armour. And you’ve got no choice, it literally breaks you open. And you feel really mortal.” Does the intimation of mortality live with him still? “Totally.” Is it a blessing? “Totally.”

Robin Williams, 63,  [July 29th 1951 - August 11th 2014]. RIP.

 


Notes: Photo – Tracylord

 

Monday Morning Mantra: Swim in Your Sea

chuck-close-exhibit-03

Think of one of those Chuck Close self-portraits. The face takes up the entire image. You can see every pore. Some people try to introspect like that. But others see themselves in broader landscapes, in the context of longer narratives about forgiveness, or redemption or setback and ascent. Maturity is moving from the close-up to the landscape, focusing less on your own supposed strengths and weaknesses and more on the sea of empathy in which you swim, which is the medium necessary for understanding others, one’s self, and survival.

~ David Brooks, Introspective or Narcissistic?


Notes:

Only in America…

water-hand-swim-ocean-relax-touch-feel

Only in America do we equate workaholism with virtue and view time spent at the shore or in the mountains or in the desert as time wasted — as evidence of laziness. Americans feel guilty about taking time off and equate workaholism with virtue. That’s stupid.

~ William Falk, Why you deserve a vacation via theweekmagazine


Post inspired by the movie: “13 Conversations About One Thing“:

I’ve always thought of contentment
as a form of resignation.
Of accepting the status quo.
It means you’ve given up.
I’m not ready to surrender.

~ John Turturro in 13 Conversations about One Thing 

Loved the movie. Here’s a trailer:



Sources:

SMWI*: It’s easier to work-out with a friend

seal-cute-adorable-surfing


Notes: SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Image Source: gifak

Saturday Morning

cat-kitten-bliss-black and white


Source: Atrocity Exhibition

5:00 Bell: Let me Go. Let me Go.

funny-gif-dog-swimming-above-water


Source: themetapicture.com (Thanks Susan)

Humanity Surfaces. All together now: Push.

gif-subway-push-stuck

A man got his leg wedged between the train and the platform while boarding a train in Perth, Australia on Tuesday.  Crowds grew, watching and then pushed against the side of the train, tilting the train car so the man could free his leg.  People clapped when the man’s leg was freed, and the train was on its way a few minutes later. The man’s injuries aren’t believed to be serious. (See full video here at ABC News.)


Image Source: 4gifs.com

 

 

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

TGIF-cat-angry-funny


Source: themetapicture.com

Driving. To Exit 9.

man-face-mask-art

It’s Wednesday evening.
I’m on my commute home from work.
Traffic is flowing on I-95 North.
A school of fish gliding down a rapid current.

He drips into consciousness at Exit 5.
There are three words on a piece of tattered cardboard, written with a thick, black, felt pen.
The words are stacked.

Homeless.
Hungry.
Help.

My thoughts shift to a Netflix movie. I’m replaying scenes from 13 Conversations About One Thing as I’m chewing up highway. John Turturro: Life of predictability. Fullness of routine.

He stands at the same Exit. Exit 9. My Exit.
There’s a stop light at the end of the long exit ramp.
You can’t avoid him, unless you are at the back of the line in rush hour.
And then you pass him at 15 mph as you negotiate the corner.

White male. 35-40 years old. Clean shaven. Average weight and height. A coat a bit heavy and oversized for the season, but not unusually so. His eyes, those eyes, emit distress.

Addict? Alcohol? Prescription Drugs? Coke? Meth? 
Unemployed? Unemployable? Record?
Bad decisions? Bad luck?  
He doesn’t give much away.
[Read more...]

Time to Roll: Head down. Let’s Fly.

cute, adorable,bird,
Baby Owl Learning How to Fly


 

Happy Birthday Mimi!

Birthday-Cake-With-Candles-1

She showed up here with a comment in March, 2012. How? From where? No idea.

She rings the morning bell at the crack of dawn with a dash of wit or splash of insight – softening up the spillway for others to come behind her. Gentle. Grace. Light.

I’ve had a handful of guest bloggers post on my blog. Don’t miss: The Final Act of Love

Her post was recognized by WordPress as one of the best of the day in “Freshly Pressed“: An Ode to Entomology

Here’s an excerpt from her beautiful post yesterday on the Eve of a Big Day:

Perhaps that’s it – I still believe in wonders.  In fact I think I notice them more than ever before.  Wonder in the breath of the wind, the intangible, unbreakable connections that tie me to those I love.  Wonder at how much more meaning my days have now that they have fewer requirements to dilute the attention I might give to the sun on my face.  And while I marvel, I also realize how tightly I am holding onto this life.  How much I love the moments as well as the spaces in between, when I breathe in the absolute sweetness of being a part of it all.

Read more here: Suddenly Sixty

Happy Birthday Mimi.


Image Credit: calendar.org

 

Feel like…

ocean-blue-sun-sea-swim


Source: Niadil

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-geico-caleb-hump-day


Bellys’ down on Hump Day and bask in it!


Photograph: Jim Boud. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

As you prepare your breakfast

candle-flame-light-dark

As you prepare your breakfast, think of others
(do not forget the pigeon’s food).
As you wage your wars, think of others
(do not forget those who seek peace).
As you pay your water bill, think of others
(those who are nursed by clouds).
As you return home, to your home, think of others
(do not forget the people of the camps).
As you sleep and count the stars, think of others
(those who have nowhere to sleep).
As you express yourself in metaphor, think of others
(those who have lost the right to speak).
As you think of others far away, think of yourself
(say: If only I were a candle in the dark.)

— Mahmoud Darwish, “Think of Others”

 


Credits: Poem – The Journey of Words from Darwish’s book Almond Blossoms and Beyond. Photograph: bdak89

Monday Mantra: Stirring the Pot

pot-boiling-stir

When the mind becomes highly relaxed and alert at the same time, three wonderful qualities of mind naturally emerge: calmness, clarity, and happiness. Here is the analogy. Imagine you have a pot of water full of sediments, and imagine that pot is constantly shaken and agitated. The water appears cloudy. Imagine that you stop agitating the pot and just let it rest on the floor. The water will become calm and, after a while, all the sediments will settle and the water will appear clear. This is the classical analogy of the mind in the alert and relaxed state. In this state, we temporarily stop agitating the mind the same way we stop agitating the pot.

~ Chade-Meng Tan, Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) [Read more...]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Time To Work

robin-nest


Photograph by Ben Andrews. Thank you Your Eyes Blaze Out.

Mistakes made by the selves we had to be

white,photography,arms crossed

Do you have hope for the future? someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.

Yes, and even for the past, he replied, that it will turn out to have been all right for what it was, something we can accept, mistakes made by the selves we had to be, not able to be, perhaps, what we wished, or what looking back half the time it seems we could so easily have been, or ought…

The future, yes, and even for the past, that it will become something we can bear.

And I too, and my children, so I hope, will recall as not too heavy the tug of those albatrosses I sadly placed upon their tender necks.

Hope for the past, yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage, and it brings strange peace that itself passes into past, easier to bear because you said it, rather casually, as snow went on falling in Vermont years ago.

~ David Ray, “Thanks, Robert Frost.”

 


David Ray, 82, was born in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Ray comes from a broken home that was thrown into upheaval when his father left the family by hopping on the back of a watermelon truck headed to California. After his mother’s next failed marriage ended in the suicide of Ray’s stepfather, he and his sister Mary Ellen were placed into foster care—a system that wasn’t kind to young children in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Ray’s classic “Mulberries of Mingo” steeps from memories of he and his sister being thrown out of a foster families home at dinner time – to fend for themselves eating the mulberries from a neighbor’s tree. The years that followed were dark and tragic as he and his sister were separated to face their separate nightmares of abuse. He is a distinguished award winner, and has lectured and read at over 100 Universities in England, Canada and the U.S. Graduating from the University of Chicago, BA, MA. Ray’s poetry varies from short, three to four lines pieces, to longer 30 lines poems. His work is also often autobiographical, providing unique context and insight to scenes of childhood, love, fear, sex, and travel. “Communication is important to him, and he has the courage, working with a genre in which simplicity is suspect, to say plainly what he means.” He and his wife, poet and essayist Judy Ray, live in Tucson, Arizona.

Studs Terkel: David Ray’s poetry has always been radiant even though personal tragedy has suffused it.” [Read more...]

Yep, you’re addicted

book-coffee-bed-weekend-read
49 Signs You’re Addicted To Reading by Koty Neelis:

1) …People are cool but reading is your preferred social activity.

8) You carry a book with you at all times because you never know when you’ll have a spare minute to do some extra reading.

16) You legitimately don’t understand people who say they don’t read.

25) You honestly can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday than reading a book and drinking coffee or tea.

29) You buy more books even if you have a stack of books that haven’t been read yet.

Read all 49 signs your addicted @ 49 Signs You’re Addicted To Reading


Photograph: weheartit

Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration

turtle-swim-cute-adorable


Source: maeviekathleen


Saturday Morning

dog-cute-rest-sleep-Saturday-morning


Source: Iconosquare.com

5:00 Bell!

fox-howl


Source: Ivan Kislov


In there is the question

woman-sleeping-black-and-white-close-up

Do you know how it is
when one wakes at night suddenly
and asks, listening to the pounding heart:
what more do you want,
insatiable?

— Czeslaw Milosz, from Farewell


Credits: Poem – Thank you Schonweider. Photograph: Lost in Vogue

July 2014 (Epilogue in 116 sec)


And if you liked this, check out “June.”


Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day-wednesday

My Lady giving me some lovin’…here’s some Hump Day Inspiration.


Notes:

“Hurry, hurry, hurry.”

rain-umbrella

When I was getting ready to graduate from college in 1957, I was fed up and ready to drop from exhaustion, but still my mind kept telling me, “Hurry, hurry, hurry.” I felt I had to do something, go on to the next step, whatever it was — career, graduate school, as long as it was important. This is an American disease.

~ Florence King


Be sure not to miss Florence King‘s entire letter at Brainpickings here: Finding Yourself


Photography: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom

Hello Rumination. Hello Insomnia.

alone-think-gif

From Kate Murphy, NY Times, No Time to Think:

ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore. When people aren’t super busy at work, they are crazy busy exercising, entertaining or taking their kids to Chinese lessons. Or maybe they are insanely busy playing fantasy football, tracing their genealogy or churning their own butter.

And if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought — say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic — out comes the mobile device.

Moreover, in one experiment, 64 percent of men and 15 percent of women began self-administering electric shocks when left alone to think. These same people, by the way, had previously said they would pay money to avoid receiving the painful jolt.

It didn’t matter if the subjects engaged in the contemplative exercise at home or in the laboratory, or if they were given suggestions of what to think about, like a coming vacation; they just didn’t like being in their own heads.

It could be because human beings, when left alone, tend to dwell on what’s wrong in their lives. We have evolved to become problem solvers and meaning makers. What preys on our minds, when we aren’t updating our Facebook page or in spinning class, are the things we haven’t figured out — difficult relationships, personal and professional failures, money trouble, health concerns and so on. And until there is resolution, or at least some kind of understanding or acceptance, these thoughts reverberate in our heads. Hello rumination. Hello insomnia.

Read full article by Kate Murphy in NY Times: No Time To Think


Image Source: Sh*t In My Head

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

bird-call-yellow-warbler


Photograph of Prothonotary Warbler by Bill Stripling @ Audubon via Steps On My Sunlight Floor.

 

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