T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


Photo: via NewThom

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Your light…
Your silence…
In the silence, without listening,
I heard it,
and without words,
without language or breath,

I answered.

~ C.K. Williams, from “With Ignorance” in Collected Poems.


Notes:

  • Inspired by Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa): “The wise man believes profoundly in silence, the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind, and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence – not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree, not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool – his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life. Silence is the cornerstone of character.
  • Photo by Evgeniy Shaman with “Beyond the Infinite” via shrbrrpxr.
  • Poem: via violentwavesofemotion
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • 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?


Notes:

Tuesday Morning

Rain to come – the sky lies gray-silver behind
soft clouds of a darker gray.  The trees are quiet,
their colors dark and heavy.  So one enters the morning
softly as if taking off one’s hat in church.  Now comes
the cathedral of rain, – gothic, tall, severe – intense.
We worship the god of inwardness.

Nils Peterson, “Rain to Come” in A Walk to the Center of Things


Notes: Poem: via 3quarksdaily.com. Photo by Susan Kanigan, Long Island Sound (January 2018)

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

As 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache stood at attention during the commencement ceremony at West Point, N.Y., he was overcome with emotion. Tears rolled down both cheeks, but his gloved left hand held firm on his white, gold and black “cover,” the dress headgear that Army cadets wear.

He worked his way through one of the nation’s most prestigious military schools after immigrating to the United States from Haiti, earning his citizenship and serving for two years as an enlisted soldier.

“I am humbled and shocked at the same time. Thank you for giving me a shot at the American Dream and may God bless America, the greatest country on earth.”

“I am from Haiti and never did I imagine that such honor would be one day bestowed on me.

“Knowing that one day I will be a pilot is humbling beyond words,” Idrache wrote. “I could not help but be flooded with emotions knowing that I will be leading these men and women who are willing to give their all to preserve what we value as the American way of life. To me, that is the greatest honor. Once again, thank you.”

Idrache was a leader in his class of 950 cadets. He was named a regimental commander last summer. He became West Point’s top graduate in physics.

Idrache’s father, Dieujuste, immigrated to America and was able to bring the rest of his family with him in 2009, one year before an earthquake leveled much of Port-au-Prince. The family didn’t have much, Idrache said.

~ Dan Lamothe, excerpts from The story behind the ‘American Dream’ photo at West Point that went viral


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: Today is Martin Luther King Day: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.”
  • Post Title: “The New Colossus” is a sonnet that American poet Emma Lazarus (1849–1887) wrote in 1883 to raise money for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. In 1903, the poem was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level. (Source: wiki)

Blue Spring is a sacred place

I don’t belong here.

Walking the wooden path of Blue Spring State Park next to the clear shallow waters, I am a trespasser in the habitats of the West Indian Manatees who winter here. I walk among the cabal palms and nature’s stillness disturbed only by the distant roar of an engine somewhere above and other tourists who have come to see the manatees inch their way forward into the hot spring where they pause, reverently it seems, over the opening from deep in the earth below.

Blue Spring is a sacred place.

So gracefully does the Manatee approach the spring head, the deep hole through the limestone that pours 111 million gallons of water per day from deep below the earth’s surface, enough for every resident of greater Orlando to drink fifty gallons of water a day. The manatee knows nothing of nearby Orlando. Nothing about Epcot or Disney World. Nothing of the Holy Land theme park. Nothing of technology, malls, or vacations. She lives where she is . . . in this special place where she spends her winters to stay warm by the heated water of Blue Spring.

Her movements seem effortless, so fluid and gentle, like the water around her. Her huge flat tail, like a leaf fluttering in a soft breeze, inches her upstream toward the place where the earth is refreshed by the natural hot tub, before the water from deep below the surface cools as it flows downstream to replenish the river. Slowly, very slowly, she moves to the edge of the black oblong opening, this hole in the earth, the spring head, the epicenter of the green pool at the head of the river where she lives. Her tail stops moving. She stays very still and bows her head, like the Virgin Mary pondering the mystery of an ever-virginal Incarnation.

The trespassers get to see this. We can only see it if we push away the noisy culture we have brought to this place; push away the interruptions of a gathering crowd of people taking on cell phones, laughing, and loudly speaking to their fellow tourists as though they were at the mall, cruising past the mannequins in the shop windows or stopping by a town for an hour or two on a cruise. Instead this is where the manatees live more naturally than we.

The manatees have no enemies. None but us.

~ Gordon C. Stewart, excerpt from Be Still!: Departure from Collective Madness (January 23, 2017)


Notes:

I heard and then began to feel, in my chest, a deep rhythmic whooshing

A few years ago in a forest in northeast India, I heard and then began to feel, in my chest, a deep rhythmic whooshing. It sounded meteorological, but it was the wingbeats of a pair of great hornbills flying in to land in a fruiting tree. They had massive yellow bills and hefty white thighs; they looked like a cross between a toucan and a giant panda. As they clambered around in the tree, placidly eating fruit, I found myself crying out with the rarest of all emotions: pure joy. It had nothing to do with what I wanted or what I possessed. It was the sheer gorgeous fact of the great hornbill, which couldn’t have cared less about me.

The radical otherness of birds is integral to their beauty and their value. They are always among us but never of us. They’re the other world-dominating animals that evolution has produced, and their indifference to us ought to serve as a chastening reminder that we’re not the measure of all things. The stories we tell about the past and imagine for the future are mental constructions that birds can do without. Birds live squarely in the present. And at present, although our cats and our windows and our pesticides kill billions of them every year, and although some species, particularly on oceanic islands, have been lost forever, their world is still very much alive. In every corner of the globe, in nests as small as walnuts or as large as haystacks, chicks are pecking through their shells and into the light.

~ Jonathan Franzen, from Why Birds Matter, and Are Worth Protecting (NatGeo, January 2018)


Photo of Great Hornbill by Roham Sheikholeslami

Driving I-95 S. With Michelango.

Thursday. I’m heading south on I-95 to Manhattan. 5:45 am.  Pre-rush hour, traffic moving smoothly.

I’m swept back to an evening in December at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art: Michelangelo. Divine Draftsman & Artist.

My eyes pan the exhibit brochure…he was called Il Divino (“the divine one”)…the exhibit presents a stunning range and number of works…133 of his drawings, three of his marble sculptures…his wood model…his earliest paintings..the exhibition presents his stunning range.

I set down my wine glass on a tray.  And, separate myself from the group.

My ears catch the sound of my footfall on the marble floors as if to scold: “Slow down Jack. You are in the presence of a God.”

I slow my pace and pause in front of a marble sculpture. His hands built this, what, 500 years ago? This Man, Michelango, created this. He was a Man, just like you. You, a Hu-Man, just like him.  And, what did you do this week? [Read more…]

Why I Wake Early

There are things you can’t reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.
The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.
And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier…
I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree —
they are all in this too.
And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world
comes.

At least, closer.
And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?” in  Why I Wake Early


Notes: Poem from Alive 0n All Channels. Photo: okdavid

T.G.I.F.: When?


Source: Kelsey MacDonald @writeskelsey

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