↓ click for audio (Linda Ronstadt – “Blue Bayou”)
↓ click for audio (Linda Ronstadt – “Blue Bayou”)
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)
We enter the meditative state induced by counting laps, and observe the subtle play of light as the sun moves across the lanes. We sing songs, or make to-do lists, or fantasize about what we’re going to eat for breakfast. Submersion creates the space to be free, to stretch, without having to contend with constant external chatter. It creates internal quiet, too. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of them all, was found to have A.D.H.D. when he was a child; he has called the pool his “safe haven,” in part because “being in the pool slowed down my mind.”
…Five hundred lengths in a pool were never boring or monotonous; instead, Dr. Sacks writes, “swimming gave me a sort of joy, a sense of well-being so extreme that it became at times a sort of ecstasy.” The body is engaged in full physical movement, but the mind itself floats, untethered…The enforced solitude is at odds with where we are as a culture. Our gyms are full of televisions tuned to SportsCenter and cable news. We’re tethered to our devices, even at bedtime. With that pervasive lack of self-control, who has the willpower to turn off technology for any meaningful period of time? I submit: Sliding into the water is the easiest way to detach from your phone.
~ Bonnie Tsui, The Self Reflecting Pool
Photograph: Troy Jack
I should be able to recall:
these words all begin with silence.
— Laura Glen Louis, from “M”
Frank Bruni, NY Times: A Quiet Cheer For Solitude:
Read Bruni’s worthy full article here: A Quiet Cheer For Solitude:
Source: Living in Maine
One needs a place (or so I find) where one can spiritually dig oneself in. The weather here has changed to heavy rolling mists and thick soft rain. The mountains disappear very beautifully, one by one. The lake has become grave and one feels the silence. This, instead of being depressing as it is in the South, has a sober charm. In the South there is too much light whereas exquisitely breathtaking fog is all I care about. This grass, too, waving high, with one o’clocks like bubbles and flowering fruit trees like branches of red and white coral. One looks and one becomes absorbed … Do you know what I mean? I feel, at present, I should like to have a small chalet, high up somewhere, and live there for a round year, luxuriating in solitude and harmony.
—Katherine Mansfield, from a letter dated 9 May 1921, The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume Four, 1920-1921
There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.
— Beryl Markham, West with the Night
Beryl Markham (1902 – 1986) was a British-born Kenyan author, aviator, adventurer, and racehorse trainer. During the pioneer days of aviation, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. She is now primarily remembered as the author of the memoir West with the Night – – The Book Summary from Amazon: [Read more...]
In truth, the dramatics of a life-determining experience are often unbelievably soft. It has so little akin to the bang, the flash, or the volcanic eruption that, at the moment it is made, the experience is often not even noticed. When it deploys its revolutionary effect and plunges a life into a brand-new light giving it a brand-new melody, it does that silently and in this wonderful silence resides its special nobility.
~ Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel
There’s no solace
above or below.
Only us —
battling one another.
I pray to myself,
~ House of Cards, 1×12.
A good book
Pandora on loop
A Snow Day
Wood cackling in fireplace
Dog wagging tail
Pancakes with maple syrup
Tomato Soup and Grill Cheese
Hot chocolate with marshmallows
Piping hot chicken noodle soup
Hot Tea with honey
An unexpected call from a friend
Softness of skin after shaving
Hot apple cider
Long afternoon nap
Warm tropical winds
Poetry I understand
Poetry about spring
I find my only real joy in solitude.
Solitude is my castle.
That’s where I have
my breeze and
— Léolo (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1992)
Jean-Claude Lauzon (1953 – 1997) was a Canadian filmmaker. Born to a humble family in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Lauzon worked a variety of odd jobs after dropping out of high school. He went on to study film at the Université du Québec à Montréal at the behest of Andre Petrowski, a member of the National Film Board of Canada. His two feature length films, Un zoo la nuit, and Léolo, established him as one of the most important Canadian directors of his time. He was preparing his third film when he died, along with his girlfriend, Canadian actress Marie-Soleil Tougas, in a plane crash. On August 10, 1997, the Cessna 180K he was piloting flew into a mountainside in strong winds and rain near Kuujjuaq, Quebec while returning from a fishing trip. His film Léolo was nominated at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival for the Golden Palm Award, and is listed as one of Time’s All-TIME 100 Movies.
The poem “Solitude” was written in 1983 by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, an American Author and poet (1850-1919). It was her most enduring work. The inspiration for the poem came as she was traveling to attend the Governor’s inaugural ball in Madison, Wisconsin. On her way to the celebration, there was a young woman dressed in black sitting across the aisle from her. The woman was crying. Miss Wheeler sat next to her and sought to comfort her for the rest of the journey. When they arrived, the poet was so depressed that she could barely attend the scheduled festivities. As she looked at her own radiant face in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow. It was at that moment that she wrote the opening lines of “Solitude“: [Read more...]
“I’d like to answer all my phone calls, return all emails in a timely manner and mean the how-are-yous; not hide my broken hallelujahs, not save my gratitude for characters in books. Put love on sale, like I should…I’d like to whisper to only a few souls under a blanket instead of shouting at hundreds over these virtual rooftops. I’d like to inhale people and exhale skin, explore huggability and memorize the art of breathing…I’d like to get up once a week with no other agenda than laziness in bed, no time, no musts or shoulds or have tos. Eat breakfast for dinner, juice for lunch, and talk to trees, and cry, walk backwards, love my solitude, and understand my doing by undoing.”
~ Andréa Balt
Don’t run any more.
How softly it rains
On the roofs of the city.
All things are…
~ Czeslaw Milosz, After Paradise
“This inner silence which accompanies me is born of the slow stride which leads from one day to another. What more can I long for than this room opening out on to the plain, with its antique furniture and its crocheted lace? I have the whole sky on my face, and feel that I could follow these slow, turning days forever, spinning motionlessly with them. I breathe in the only happiness I can attain—an attentive and friendly awareness.
I spend the whole day walking about: from the hill, I go down to Vicenza or else farther into the country. Every person I meet, every scent on this street, is a pretext for my measureless love … all are props for the person who can no longer be alone. But the tender and bitter piping of the grasshoppers, the perfume of water and stars that you meet in the September nights, the scented paths among the lentisks and rose bushes, all are signs of love for the person forced to be alone. Thus the days pass. After the dazzling glare of the sun-filled days, evening comes, in the splendid décor offered by the gold of the setting sun and the black of the cypress-trees. I then walk along the road, toward the crickets that can be heard far away. As I advance, they begin one by one to sing more softly, and then fall silent. I walk slowly forward, weighed down by so much ardent beauty.”
—Albert Camus, from “Lyrical and Critical,” Betwixt and Between (1937)
“I’ll read my books
and I’ll drink coffee
and I’ll listen to music,
and I’ll bolt the door.”
— J.D. Salinger, A Boy in France
The Saturday Evening Post, the nation’s oldest magazine, re-released in its July/August 2010 issue a rare J.D. Salinger short story, “A Boy in France,” first published in the magazine 65 years ago…The Post continues the magazine’s long history of publishing great fiction by re-releasing the story in memory of Salinger, the famously reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye. Most of his earlier work, including the story in the July/August issue, has never been re-released. “J.D. Salinger’s ‘A Boy in France’ was originally published in The Post in 1945,” said SerVaas. “This evocative tale of a young solider struggling to maintain his sanity during the madness of war.” (Source: PRNewswire)
I love the quiet that used to disturb me.
I have distance on my life.
The boast and pity of self-regard
have fallen somewhat behind.
the home I carry with me,
I settle into the clouds.
On the mountain
I sit quietly in a sage meadow
visited by the same bees that make lovers
of flowering bushes.
I become part of the golden comb hidden
in the hive humming with delight.”
~ Stephen Levine
4am bell. I work till 1pm. Late jump to beat Friday afternoon traffic. We’re rumbling down I-95. I rub my eyes. Not looking forward to a grueling 11-hour marathon. Eye lids are heavy and the horse ain’t out of the gate.
Two stop-and-go hours to get to New Jersey. Two hours to traverse 45 miles. Ominous start. I grit my teeth. Ten hours to go. Still ahead – – more construction zones. Friday rush hour through the Baltimore-D.C. corridor. Dodging testosterone-fired teens, drunks and white tail deer seeking warmth on the highway. Yes, rumbling down the Road to Perdition.
Pilot is Autonoman. Actions speak the Autonoman, not words.
Co-pilot (aka Susan) is governed by Words. Words. Words.
“I had the best poached eggs for breakfast.” I catch something about sliced avocados. Dash of salt and pepper.
“I spoke to Julia….” I catch words on Dinner. Next weekend. And apparently missed the follow-on question.
“Did you hear what I said?”
“You’d drive 11 hours without saying a word.”
Autonoman feels the glare to his right…the heat emanating from Words.
Just for a little while, stop thinking about all the problems, crises, tasks. everything that’s pulling and pushing on us. Be in that quiet space. After all these years, some of us still need permission to let go.
Image Credit: Nowandthan
After chores were done, Saturdays were for fishing. Not fly fishing but rod, reel and bait fishing on the Columbia or Kootenay Rivers. This one minute clip rolled the memories back. Whether you fish or not, this clip puts you in the driver’s seat of the magic. The solitude. The oneness with nature. Here’s “Stream of Dreams.”
Source: ThomasandThomas.com – Tangled Lines
“Leonardo Da Costa is a lighthouse keeper stationed in Cabo Polonio, a remote cape in a stretch of Uruguayan coastline rich in shipwrecks and sunken treasures. Cabo Polonio’s light has been guiding ships since 1881, and Da Costa is the latest in a long line of watchmen who have operated the tower with care and attention. He leads an unassuming life, the tranquility of the almost intact landscape keeping him company. Serenity and silence merge with the daily tasks and chores he carries out. Da Costa represents a rare profession that still survives in a few countries. Take some time to appreciate a gentle and enlightening way of life, for once it is gone, it will be missed.“
Good Sunday Morning…
Photo taken by Marko Stavric. Rockbound Lake, is a popular hiker destination at Castle Junction, Banff National Park, Alberta. I’d like to be…right here…right now…(In June)
Let there be
into the quiet
that lies beneath
where you find
you did not think
and see what shimmers
within the storm.
~ Jan Richardson (excerpted from “Blessing in the Chaos”)
Jan Richardson is a writer, artist, United Methodist minister, workshop leader, conference speaker and director of a company called The Wellspring Studio, LLC, which serves as an umbrella for all the writer/artist/minister activities. Jan and her husband live in central Florida. Her site can be found at janrichardson.com.
Source: That Girl
Solitude, Mobile Hotel Room, Andalsnes, Norway
“As soon as we are alone…inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we immediately shut out all our inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important.”
It has a sound, a fullness.
It’s heavy with sigh of tree,
and space between breaths.
It’s ripe with pause between birdsong
and crash of surf.
It’s golden they say.
But no one tells us it’s addictive.”
~ Angela Long