Miracle? All of it. 

birds-sun-light

Whirring notes of a varied thrush soak in through the walls of sleep.  Gradually ascending toward consciousness, I struggle to remember where we are, then realize what shore these songs ring out across. As the sky pales toward sunrise, I awaken to a world of dreams.

More varied thrushes join the first, until the woods and thickets chime like a chorus of bells. Other birds blend into the medley: fox sparrow, robin, hermit thrush, winter wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, Townsend’s warbler. Their sounds are trapped and magnified in the forest, made rich and deep in the saturated air – ribbons and lacework of song, shadows and flickers of song, splinters and shards of song, and the whispered secrets of unfamiliar song.

The cove fills up with bird voices, until even the noise of surf fades to irrelevance. And what of the songs beyond this patch of shore? If we hiked down the beach or back through the woods, we would hear the same chorus, repeated endlessly, permeating the air with sweet, mingled phrases. I wonder how many thousands of birds are singing at this moment on the island alone? How many millions along the north Pacific shore? And how many billions in the curved shadow of dawn that lies along the continent’s western flank? Throughout this vast expanse the land breathes with song and pours an anthem of morning into the sky. In the flow of a summer sunrise, the living continent sings.

~ Richard Nelson,  The Island Within


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.”


Notes:

Reading in Sanctuary. With Chia.

chia

Susan comes in with a spray bottle. I lift my head, but otherwise don’t move, following her silently as she moves across the room. She waters a small green plant on a white marble end table. She leaves. I drop my head back to my reading.

I’m in the Sanctuary. Sunday mornings and the end of each working day. The bedroom door closed; I’m on the bed. Zeke, with his head between his paws, is snoozing and leaning into me. We’re in the decompression chamber.

I glance over to my right.
I have never seen that plant.
I have never seen that end table.

I’m in the middle of Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids” and recall a line that stuck: “Nothing is finished until you see it.” Thank God for me for that. There’s a lot left to See.

Susan’s on the ground floor. I send her a text.

“How long has that plant been there?”
“Really, Dave? It’s been there for over a month.”

One month? It’s five feet away. I didn’t know it existed. I send a follow-on text. [Read more…]

For the deepest moments in life—for love, for prayer—we close our eyes. I wanted to see that way

howard_axelrod

(Two years in the woods.) I brought no computer, no television, no cellphone. There was a land line, which rang maybe twice a month, so a wrong number was an event…

Five years earlier, during my junior year at Harvard, a freak accident had blinded me in my right eye. During a pick-up game of basketball, as we scuffled for a rebound, a boy’s finger hooked behind my eyeball and severed its attachment to my optic nerve, the cable that connects the eye to the brain. The pain was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. There was nothing the doctors could do. The loss of vision to my right eye was permanent. With vision in only one eye, there’s no stereopsis, no depth perception. And without depth perception, the world looked simultaneously flat and permeable, like I’d crossed the threshold into a fantasy land, where nothing was solid, including my sense of myself…

To compound my disorientation, after the blood dissipated, my eye looked as it always had. The gap between how I presented myself and how people saw me widened into a gulf. And the track I’d been on, which headed toward law school, and the old track of my thinking, which often allowed the comfort of achievement to substitute for meaning, and which had kept me from entering into the passing landscape to forge my own values, became impossible to live by… [Read more…]

Feel as if the top of my head were taken off

In 1870, Emily Dickinson was said to describe poetry this way:

 “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”

 And, then you read a book, that does exactly that.

[Read more…]

Ma

train-sit-rest-pause

I told Miyazaki I love the “gratuitous motion” in his films; instead of every movement being dictated by the story, sometimes people will just sit for a moment, or they will sigh, or look in a running stream, or do something extra, not to advance the story but only to give the sense of time and place and who they are.

“We have a word for that in Japanese,” he said. “It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally.”

Is that like the “pillow words” that separate phrases in Japanese poetry?

“I don’t think it’s like the pillow word.” He clapped his hands three or four times. “The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness, But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb.”

~ Roger Ebert, from “Hayao Miyazaki Interview,” RogerEbert.com (September 12, 2002)


Credits: Quote – Improve is Easy. Photo by Bruno via Mennyfox55.

Driving I-95 S. Miracle? All of it. 

gif-driving-illustration

7 am.
Clear. 50° F. Blue skies.
I’m flowing down I-95 S.
I lower the windows and rest my arm on the door frame.
The gusts fill the cabin. November chill.

70s on 7 is spinning Neil Sedaka and Bad Blood.
Doo-ron, doo-ron, di di, dit, do-ron-ron

To hell with these nonsensical lyrics. I plug my own.

I do what I want to do.
I hear want I want to hear.
I See. Thank God I can See.
Good Blood. Good Blood. Good Blood.

And the brain train starts to pull,
the steel couplers snap between the rail cars,
the words begin to slide down the rails.
And here they come. [Read more…]

Growing more itchy and agitated by the day

Sven Birkerts

“Sven Birkerts is an anxious man. By turns he is frightened, terrified, alarmed, filled with dread. On one occasion he shudders in his core; mostly he is just plain worried. What concerns him, a concern he is eager to transmit to us, is the rapid spread of computer, Internet and telephone technologies and more specifically what those technologies are doing to our minds. Forever glued to screens of one kind or another, clicking compulsively on the links others provide for us, we are losing the ability to concentrate, growing more itchy and agitated by the day, allowing our consciousness to be fragmented and dispersed.”

~ Tim Parks. Read his full NY Times review of Sven Birkerts new book here: “Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age.”


Amazon’s Book Summary: “After two decades of rampant change, Birkerts has allowed a degree of everyday digital technology into his life. He refuses to use a smartphone, but communicates via e-mail and spends some time reading online. In Changing the Subject, he examines the changes that he observes in himself and others–the distraction when reading on the screen; the loss of personal agency through reliance on GPS and one-stop information resources; an increasing acceptance of “hive” behaviors. “An unprecedented shift is underway,” he argues, and “this transformation is dramatically accelerated and more psychologically formative than any previous technological innovation.” He finds solace in engagement with art, particularly literature, and he brilliantly describes the countering energy available to us through acts of sustained attention, even as he worries that our increasingly mediated existences are not conducive to creativity. It is impossible to read Changing the Subject without coming away with a renewed sense of what is lost by our wholesale acceptance of digital innovation and what is regained when we immerse ourselves in a good book.”

Be silent. Listen. Let it overflow.

photography-poppy-pink-flower


Notes:

Driving the East River Drive. Every risk, shimmering.

new-york-city-autum-fall

It was Tuesday. Yes, Autumn. Yes, New York City. But it certainly didn’t look or feel anything like this. Add 5,000 cars.  And move the map to the FDR, the East River Drive.

I’m one hour and 20 minutes on the road and Waze is signaling that I’m still 30 minutes away. 1:50 for a 0:45 min ride. And now, the crush of the morning rush.  My lower back is stiff.  There’s a nagging kink in my neck. And, I can’t settle. I shift left, then right. I grab my water bottle, take a pull. Tap my fingers on the console.  I glance at my watch. I’m going to be late. Didn’t count on this delay. I push the pace. DK won’t be late.

If you’ve never driven the East Side Highway, think Daytona 500 with a crudely straightened 3-lane track.  Three lanes made for 2.5.  Traffic, sardines, tightly packed. There’s zero room for a slip, no room for wandering. Hugging your left shoulder is a 4-foot cement girder offering a bumper car cushion. Drains (sink holes) are distributed every 1000 feet to release rain water.  Off your right shoulder, another car – open your window and finger brush the door panel.  You grip the wheel, white knuckles, and Glare, eyes panning up front, left, right and down (especially down to avoid the abyss) and then back again. The Gotham Death March.  I push the pace with the cabbies, we dart in and out, looking to gain one car length, maybe two.

SiriusXM is spinning 70s on 7. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning: That mysterious, fiery line

sunlight-morning-light

Between two musical notes there exists another note, between two facts there exists another fact, between two grains of sand, no matter how close together they are, there exists an interval of space, there exists a sensing between sensing—-in the interstices of primordial matter there is the mysterious, fiery line that is the world’s breathing, and the world’s continual breathing is what we hear and call silence.

~ Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.


Notes: Quote: The Distance Between Two Doors. Photo: Sweet Senderipity

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