Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Experience one beautiful thing a day. However small. However trivial. Read a poem. Play a favorite song. Laugh with a friend. Gaze at the sky just before the sun’s final tumble toward night. Watch a classic movie. Eat a slice of lemon drizzle cake. Whatever. Just give yourself one simple reminder that the world is full of wonders. Even if we are at a point in life where we can’t appreciate things, it sometimes helps to remember there are things in this world to enjoy, when we are ready.

—  Matt Haig, with “One Beautiful Thing” in “The Comfort Book” (Penguin Life, July 6, 2021)


Notes:

Sunday Morning

I love the natural world and I never ceased to see it. The beauty of trees and fields, of hills and streams, of the changing colours, of the small creatures so busy and occupied. My long hours walking or sitting in the field with my back against the wall, watching the clouds and the weather, allowed me some steadiness. It was because I knew all this would be there when I was not that I thought I could go. The world was beautiful. I was a speck in it.

Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (Grove Press, March 6, 2012)


DK @ Daybreak. 6:00 to 7:05 am. September 19, 2021. 68° F & Breezy. Nantucket, MA.

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Soft the dove-hued shadows mingle,
Color fades, sound droops to sleep.
Life and motion melt to darkness
Swaying murmurs far and deep.
But the night moth’s languid flitting
Stirs the air invisibly:
Oh, the hour of wordless longing;
I in all, and all in me.

Twilight—tranquil, brooding twilight,
Course through me, serene and smooth;
Quiet, languid, fragrant twilight,
Flood all depths, all sorrows soothe,
Every sense in dark and cooling
Self-forgetfulness immerse,—
Grant that I may taste extinction
In the dreaming universe.

Fyodor Tyutchev, from Twilight; (Translated by Avrahm Yarmolinsky). Written in 1835.

Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Twilight. 5:45 am, September 12, 2021. 67° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. (Yes, this shot is the dawn side of Twilight, not in alignment with this beautiful poem)
  • 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: Joshua Cripps in My Modern Met: “So, how did Cripps pull off this photograph? “The whole shoot was meticulously planned,” he reveals to My Modern Met, “from the country (UAE) to the location (Liwa desert), to even the GPS coordinates of where I and camel would both stand, as well as the focal length of the lens I would use. Even the timing was planned, down to the minute of when the eclipse would appear in the frame behind the man and his camel. ” (Thank you for sharing Mimi!)
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again.

Intoxication with color…often fierce, may express itself as a profound attachment to landscape


Notes:

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

The present, we assume, is eternally before us, one of the few things in life from which we cannot be parted. It overwhelms us in the painful first moments of entry into the world, when it is still too new to be managed or negotiated, remains by our side during childhood and adolescence, in those years before the weight of memory and expectation, and so it is sad and a little unsettling to see that we become, as we grow older, much less capable of touching, grazing, or even glimpsing it, that the closest we seem to get to the present are those brief moments we stop to consider the spaces our bodies are occupying, the intimate warmth of the sheets in which we wake, the scratched surface of the window on a train taking us somewhere else, as if the only way we can hold time still is by trying physically to prevent the objects around us from moving. The present, we realize, eludes us more and more as the years go by, showing itself for fleeting moments before losing us in the world’s incessant movement, fleeing the second we look away and leaving scarcely a trace of its passing, or this at least is how it usually seems in retrospect, when in the next brief moment of consciousness, the next occasion we are able to hold things still, we realize how much time has passed since we were last aware of ourselves, when we realize how many days, weeks, and months have slipped by without our consent. Events take place, moods ebb and flow, people and situations come and go, but looking back during these rare junctures in which we are, for whatever reason, lifted up from the circular daydream of everyday life, we are slightly surprised to find ourselves in the places we are, as though we were absent while everything was happening, as though we were somewhere else during the time that is usually referred to as our life. Waking up each morning we follow by circuitous routes the thread of habit, out of our homes, into the world, and back to our beds at night, move unseeingly through familiar paths, one day giving way to another and one week to the next, so that when in the midst of this daydream something happens and the thread is finally cut, when, in a moment of strong desire or unexpected loss, the rhythms of life are interrupted, we look around and are quietly surprised to see that the world is vaster than we thought, as if we’d been tricked or cheated out of all that time, time that in retrospect appears to have contained nothing of substance, no change and no duration, time that has come and gone but left us somehow untouched.

—  Anuk Arudpragasam, A Passage North: A Novel (Hogarth (July 13, 2021)

Crescent Moon 2

And out the windows the sky was still dimming, darkening, the vast earth turning slowly on its axis… Outside, astronomical twilight. Crescent moon hanging low over the dark water. Tide returning now with a faint repeating rush over the sand. Another place, another time.

— Sally RooneyBeautiful World, Where Are You: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 7, 2021)


Notes:

Miracle. All of It.

Stop. If you’re inside, go to a window. Throw it open and turn your face to the sky. All that empty space, the deep vastness of the air, the heavens wide above you. The sky is full of insects, and all of them are going somewhere. Every day, above and around us, the collective voyage of billions of beings.

…There are other worlds around us. Too often, we pass through them unknowing, seeing but blind, hearing but deaf, touching but not feeling, contained by the limits of our senses, the banality of our imaginations, our Ptolemaic certitudes. […]

They had heard about the butterflies, gnats, water striders, leaf bugs, booklice, and katydids sighted hundreds of miles out on the open ocean; about the aphids that Captain William Parry had encountered on ice floes during his polar expedition of 1828; and about those other aphids that, in 1925, made the 800-mile journey across the frigid, windswept Barents Sea between the Kola Peninsula, in Russia, and Spitsbergen, off Norway, in just twenty-four hours. Still, they were taken aback by the enormous quantities of animals they were discovering in the air above Louisiana and unashamedly astonished by the heights at which they found them. All of a sudden, it seemed, the heavens had opened.

Unmoored, they turned to the ocean, began talking about the “aeroplankton” drifting in the vastness of the open skies. They told each other about tiny insects, some of them wingless, all with large surface-area-to-weight ratios, plucked from their earthly tethers by a sharp gust of wind, picked up on air currents and thrust high into the convection streams without volition or capacity for resistance, some terrible accident, carried great distances across oceans and continents, then dropped with the same fateful arbitrariness in a downdraft on some distant mountaintop or valley plain. […]

On August 10, 1926, a Stinson Detroiter SM-1 six-seater monoplane took off from the rudimentary airstrip at Tallulah, Louisiana. […] [O]ver the next five years, the researchers flew more than 1,300 sorties from the Louisiana airstrip […].

They estimated that at any given time on any given day throughout the year, the air column rising from 50 to 14,000 feet above one square mile of Louisiana countryside contained an average of 25 million insects and perhaps as many as 36 million. [Read more…]

that which you hold holds you

She wondered how the moon, two hundred and thirty-nine thousand miles above the roof, could affect her as profoundly as it did. Being four times larger than the moon, the earth appeared to dominate. Caught in the earth’s gravitational web, the moon moved around the earth and could never get away. Yet, as any half-awake materialist well knows, that which you hold holds you. Neither could the earth escape the moon.

—  Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker: A Novel (Bantam; June 17, 2003)

 


DK with Crescent Moon. Waxing Crescent Phase. 7:38 pm, September 11, 2021. 71° F. (@dkct25 on Instagram)

Then and Now

Pascal Campion’s “9/11: Then and Now.” In his cover for the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Pascal Campion depicts two people, likely too young to have experienced the day firsthand, sharing a moment of comfort and consolation on the rebuilt site of the World Trade Center. “Emotions can often be difficult to express in words,” Campion said. “But I’m a visual artist and, in my chosen medium, emotions can transcend words.” Behind the couple, the memorial reflecting pools, the footprints of the old Twin Towers; the wing-like silhouette of the Oculus, Santiago Calatrava’s gleaming shopping-mall-cum-transportation hub; and the illuminated office towers that make up the present-day skyline. Life has gone on. And yet, almost two decades later, the surroundings remain imbued with the memory of the events that took place on that day and by the absence of what was. (The New Yorker, September 13, 2021)

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