Lightly Child, Lightly. (Part II)

5:05 am. Tuesday morning.

Mid-January, 40° F.  40° F, and Australia is burning.

Cabin is quiet, but for the heater humming, knocking down the chill.

Headlights illuminate I-95, dry road. 74 mph. Speed lane.  I pass Truckers on my right, a convoy racing to beat rush hour into Manhattan.  Google Maps updates arrival time in Midtown: 55 minutes.

I re-grip the steering wheel, shift in my seat, adjust the seat belt, uncomfortably snug across my lower belly.

Two nights before. At kitchen table. Fingers untie the bow, then move to the white wrapping paper covering the gift from the Chocolate Chalet.  Hand made chocolates, hand selected by a friend, a colleague, and her children. Milk Chocolate. Raspberry jelly. Cherry. Vanilla Creme. Dark Chocolate. Nut clusters.  I cordon off a Do Not Cross area around the table signalling My Box, My Chocolates, My Zone.

One night before. Monday Night. At kitchen table. With half of the chocolates remaining. I re-established my position, the cordoned off area, and went at it again.

And, there it goes. An entire box of chocolates in a span of a few minutes during back to back evenings, when the world stopped. No, Shoulder PainNo, Work. No, Brother Gone.

I step out of the car, hand the keys to the parking attendant, and walk.  Not to the office, it was early yet. But I walk down Broadway, with the lights beaming down from the buildings in Times Square.  A few morning walkers, and me.  And snippets of Renkl’s essay “After the Fall” drift in and out.

There’s no making peace with it.

There’s no closure.

You wear it under your clothes like a film.

Time claims you: your belly softens, your hair grays, the skin of your grief will loosen, soften, drape your hard bones.

The flowers turn their faces to your face.

Walk out into the springtime, and look: the birds welcome you with a chorus.


Notes:

  • Photo: Mine. Looking down Broadway in Times Square. Tuesday morning, January 14, 2019.
  • Post Inspiration: “This talk of making peace with it. Of feeling it and then finding a way through. Of closure. It’s all nonsense. Here is what no one told me about grief: you inhabit it like a skin. Everywhere you go, you wear grief under your clothes. Everything you see, you see through it, like a film. It is not a hidden hair shirt of suffering. It is only you, the thing you are, the cells that cling to each other in your shape, the muscles that are doing your work in the world. And like your other skin, your other eyes, your other muscles, it too will change in time. It will change so slowly you won’t even see it happening. No matter how you scrutinize it, no matter how you poke at it with a worried finger, you will not see it changing. Time claims you: your belly softens, your hair grays, the skin on the top of your hand goes loose as a grandmother’s, and the skin of your grief, too, will loosen, soften, forgive your sharp edges, drape your hard bones. You are waking into a new shape. You are waking into an old self. What I mean is, time offers your old self a new shape. What I mean is, you are the old, ungrieving you, and you are also the new, ruined you. You are both, and you will always be both. There is nothing to fear. There is nothing at all to fear. Walk out into the springtime, and look: the birds welcome you with a chorus. The flowers turn their faces to your face. The last of last year’s leaves, still damp in the shadows, smell ripe and faintly of fall.” ~ Margaret Renkl, from “After the Fall” in Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss (Milkweed Editions (July 9, 2019)
  • 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.”

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week!


chen shuval with A Man and his Dog (via Newthom)

Lightly Child, Lightly


Notes:

  • Source: Famousfishathletecookie (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)
  • 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:

  • Photo from I Love Animals. (Thank you Horty for sharing)
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

 

Jozi: City of Gold? Aura of Its People.


Notes:

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

You really don’t have to lose everything and travel to a remote valley to discover that the world is always rushing forward to teach us, and that the greatest thing we can do is stand there, open and available, and be taught by it. There is no limit to what this cracked and broken and achingly beautiful world can offer, and there is equally no limit to our ability to meet it.

Each day, the sun rises and we get out of bed. Another day has begun and bravely, almost recklessly, we stagger into it not knowing what it will bring to us. How will we meet this unpredictable, untamable human life? How will we answer its many questions and challenges and delights? What will we do when we find ourselves, stumble over ourselves, encounter ourselves, once again, in the kitchen?

~ Dana Velden, Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook (Rodale Books, September 8, 2015)


Notes:

  • Quote source – Thank you Catherine @ beyondthefieldsweknow.org. Be sure to check out her blog and her design studio @ The KerrdeLune Design Works.
  • Photo: elenandrevn (via BruWho)
  • Post inspired by Make Believe Boutique: “When the True Self breaks through, a new and impassioned approach to life often makes itself known. We tap into an inner radiance that I call delight. I’m speaking of a unique kind of response to life that can coexist with our most painful realities. I’m speaking of the joy of saying yes to life in the core of our being. I believe that the capacity to delight in life is deeply carved by our waiting.  Delight can become a way of life, a way of journeying. There’s a saying, “Religion is not to be believed, but danced.” I like this idea, as it shifts the emphasis from our endless pursuit of religious knowledge back to the dimension of living our religion in such a way that it becomes a dance, a celebration in which we open our arms and say yes to life. ~ Sue Monk Kidd, “When the Heart Waits. Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions”

Sunday Morning

I want to be a monk because I think that would be a very good use of me, he continued. Does that sound strange? It sounds a bit arrogant, I suppose. I don’t mean to be arrogant. I want to be an implement. Something like a shovel with a beard. If I live with humility and intent, if I do what I do well and gracefully, that is good. Beyond that I cannot go. When I speak to children they will ask me things like, if I do enough good, and other people do good, then the good stacks up, right? and the good eventually beats the bad, right? and I cannot say this is so. I am not very interested in speculation about such things. I was never interested in theology. I think theology is an attempt to make sense of that to which sense does not apply. I cannot explain why I hope that what I do matters; all I can do is do what I do, either well or ill, patiently or not, gracefully or not. And I do find that doing things mindfully, patiently, easefully, makes the task far more interesting. I love to cut the grass here, for I sometimes come to a sort of understanding with the grass, and the hill, and the creatures in the grass, and with my legs and arms and back, a sort of silent conversation in which we all communicate easily and thoroughly. Do you have any idea of what I mean with all this?

~ Brian Doyle, from “Because It’s Hard” in “One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder” (Little, Brown and Company, December 3, 2019)


Notes:

Saturday Morning

One’s very own room, ventilated to please one’s self, furnished just as one wishes, with one’s pet belongings arranged to suit one’s own tastes; an entire bed in which one may pitch and toss, stretch and yawn, without the consciousness that another would-be sleeper is being annoyed – all of these are aids to happiness.

Virginia Terhune Van de Water, “From Kitchen to Garret,” (Published in 1910)


Notes: Quote via Schonwieder. Photo via Sabon Home

House on Fire


Photo: Wildlife rescuer Simon Adamczyk carries a koala out of a burning forest to safety on Kangaroo Island, southwest of Adelaide, Australia, on January 7, 2020. Photograph by David Mariuz.

The Atlantic: Animals Rescued From Australia’s Bushfires. January 9, 2020:

“The horrific wildfires that have been burning across Australia for months now have taken a severe toll on the animals that called the scorched lands home. Estimates of the number of animals killed by the fires range from hundreds of millions to more than 1 billion. Volunteers and crews from Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service have been doing what they can to help some of the kangaroos, koalas, lizards, and birds that can be rescued and treated. Ranchers and pet owners have been working to keep the animals in their care secure when possible, but many farm animals have been killed as well. As much as one-third of Australia’s Kangaroo Island has burned so far, with wildlife experts fearing that more than half of the island’s 50,000 koalas have been killed.”

Beth Takes The Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your current state of mind?  I am calm, peaceful, happy, looking forward to the new year and new adventures.
  2. What is your favorite journey?  A long walk through the woods.
  3. What is your idea of perfect happiness?  My family and friends happy and healthy, me in love, a book, a hot cup of coffee, a good film, a blanket.
  4. What is your greatest fear?  That I would outlive one of my children
  5. What is your most marked characteristic? My ability to always see the positive side of things
  6. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  My lack of control over my blurting or interrupting (just because I’m excited or have a story or idea)
  7. What is the trait you most deplore in others?  Cruelty.
  8. What is your greatest extravagance? Very soft things- clothes, scarves, fabric, blankets, bed – worth every penny
  9. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?  Having to be the best 
  10. On what occasion do you lie? To save someone’s heart
  11. Dislike most about your appearance? My height is 5′ 3″ – it would be fun to be tall sometimes, but I’m okay with it overall
  12. Which living person do you most despise?  Our current president – so much cruelty flows from him
  13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  ‘done’
  14. What is your greatest regret? that I wasn’t able to have more time with my daughters when they were young and I was busy trying to make life better for all of us
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?  my family
  16. When and where were you happiest?   when all of my family is together
  17. Which talent would you most like to have?   to be a singer with a beautiful voice and a dancer with grace
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?   to spend more time helping those less fortunate in life
  19. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?   that they would never have to suffer
  20. What do you consider your greatest achievement?  my children
  21. What is your most treasured possession? my 7 dollar wooden kitchen table made from one plank of wood (found at the Salvation Army and a gift from my children)
  22. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?   losing a love
  23. Where would you like to live?   in a quiet small home near the water and woods
  24. What is your favorite occupation?  writing
  25. What is the quality you most like in a man?  kindness, compassion, humor, honesty  
  26. What is the quality you most like in a woman?  same as #25
  27. What do you most value in your friends?  loyalty
  28. Who are your favorite writers?  pat conroy, roald dahl, ann patchett, fredrick backman, david sedaris, bill bryson, erma bombeck, rod serling
  29. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? King Arthur
  30. What is it that you most dislike?  clowns/dentists
  31. Who are your heroes in real life?  children
  32. How would you like to die?   asleep in my soft bed, dreaming
  33. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?  a pygmy goat living on a lavender farm
  34. What is your motto? “this is the best day ever.”
  35. Bonus Question: How did you find my blog? I have no memory of my stumbling upon you, just that is was a pleasant experience from the get-go
  36. Bonus Question: Why do you keep coming back to this Blog?  because it is beautiful, heartfelt, thoughtful, kind, and intelligent. it offers me food for thought and a wonderful aesthetic experience, plus I love to give my feedback/opinion. 

Notes:

  • Beth is a virtual friend and faithful follower (and me of her blog) and she kindly agreed to share her responses to the Proust Questionnaire. When I think of Beth, I think of her in response #5. She is exceptional. You can find her website and bio here: I didn’t have my glasses on.
  • See prior Proust Questionnaires.
  • The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.  (Source: Vanity Fair)
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