Lightly Child, Lightly.

Inevitably alchemy, the lesser into the greater,
morphing to the pupa stage, the chrysalis,
but faster, the cuticle of skin sloughed off,
regrown, and shed again, each larval, instar
meta phase passing through more molting lives
than saints — five, six times before the final birth,
then into the light, like eyes wadded up, then slowly,
with the blood, wings opening. Opening and closing.

Stanley Plumly, from “Butterflies,” Old Heart: Poems.


Notes:

  • Quote: Vale of Soul Making.  Photo: Brooke Shaden with Season Changing
  • 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.”

 

It’s been a long day

It is perfectly possible — indeed, it is far from uncommon — to go to bed one night, or wake up one morning, or simply walk through a door one has known all one’s life, and discover, between inhaling and exhaling, that the self one has sewn together with such effort is all dirty rags, is unusable, is gone: and out of what raw material will one build a self again? The lives of men — and, therefore, of nations — to an extent literally unimaginable, depend on how vividly this question lives in the mind. It is a question which can paralyze the mind, of course.

~ James Baldwin from “Nothing Personal,” in The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction 


Notes:

 

 

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

Dear David:

Last week I was very fortunate to be at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. The moment I saw this sculpture, I knew it needed to be sent to you, the best-known anywhere collector of camels.  It is a very, very tall camel by a favorite Maine artist, Blackie Langlais. His work is all over Maine (and the rest of the world), made mostly of found materials and wood. This link takes you to his bio and a map showing the locations of many of his publicly accessible sculptures. The second link is to the Farnsworth Museum.”

Peace,

Nan Heldenbrand Morrissette (August 15, 2017)


Thank you Nan!


Notes: Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

Twenty Years of ‘Marital Blitz’: ‘Happily-Ever-After Doesn’t Exist’

In a recent email, Suki John and Horacio Cocchi attempted to sum up their 20-year marriage in one paragraph, which read like a grocery list. It included: 8 homes, 9 housemates, 1 foreclosure, 21 jobs, 3 layoffs, 2 miscarriages, 1 birth, 3 parents and 2 friends deceased, 1 bankruptcy, 1 set of dentures, innumerable road trips, 3 days in Amarillo waiting for parts, 9 cars, 5 billion phone calls, far too many dance performances, 5 weeks in Europe, 17 weeks in Cuba, 1 summer in Vermont, 6 mattresses, 2 bread machines, 9 espresso machines, countless bottles of extra virgin olive oil, 5 tango lessons and 2 wedding rings.

The couple met 21 years ago, when she approached him in a coffee shop on the Upper West Side. “I saw him across the room and it was like a magnet,” said Ms. John, 58, who is as excitable as her wild, curly hair. […]

They are not a quiet or even-tempered couple. Living next door to them is probably akin to living next to trombone players. They argue often, about the symbolism of tango dancing, or which rug would look best in their living room, or whether God exists (she’s Jewish, he’s an atheist). “It’s noisy and messy and emotional,” she said. Mr. Cocchi describes their relationship as “marital blitz.” […]

After a lot of arguing, he acquiesced. “My wisdom is, it’s very hard to have a long-lasting relationship,” he said. “For me, it was about how much am I willing to give up to keep this marriage growing?” […] He likes to say, “Bad times will be followed by good times,” which seems true at the moment. […]

They also have a new ritual. They regularly meet at home in the afternoon, between teaching responsibilities, to take a “siesta” together. They lie next to each other in their dark bedroom. “It’s so sweet,” she said. “We just want to be with each other. I still think he’s absolutely adorable.”

~ Lois Smith Brady, from Twenty Years of ‘Marital Blitz’ (NY Times, August 10, 2017)

 

 

 

I did my best to see the best in a bad situation (for 6 years!)

Two men released from al Qaeda captivity after six years in northern Mali made their first public appearances Thursday, recounting their ordeals. […] The extremists have made a fortune over the last decade abducting foreigners in the vast Sahel region and demanding enormous ransoms for their release.

When asked how they coped during their long years in the desert with their captors, Mr. Gustafsson said he converted to Islam “to save my life.” He said fleeing the extremists had been “out of the question.” He had been on a motorcycle tour of Africa when he was seized.

Mr. McGown, who said he also converted to Islam, said his captors gave him clothes, food and medication.

“I did my best to see the best in a bad situation,” he said. He described how he learned some Arabic to communicate and said he watched birds migrate “backwards and forwards” across the vast Sahara.

~ By Associated Press: excerpts from Men Who Were Held by al Qaeda Tell of Ordeal (wsj.com, August 10, 2017)


Photograph: Freed hostage Stephen McGown with his wife Catherine on Thursday. Photo by Gulshan Khan, Agence France-Presse

A sense of shame has never entirely departed

“If you grew up very self-conscious, feeling that you’re not as good as other people, I think that it defines you,” she said.

A sense of shame has never entirely departed. “Owning it, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing,” Ms. Walls said. “It’s important to tap into it and be in touch with it. For me, it’s part of process of storytelling.”

With the writing of her memoir, she let go of trying to bury the fact that she slept in a rope bed, defecated in a ditch and lived in ramshackle quarters whose ceilings and floorboards threatened to crumble at any hour.

“Somebody told me the secret to happiness is low expectations,” she said. “I still can’t believe that I have flush toilets, that I can go to a grocery store and buy whatever I want, which will never fail to amaze me.” […]

Nothing doing for Ms. Walls. “I wanted a place where I could go broke and still grow vegetables, bail water out of the creek and shoot deer,” she said. “If worse comes to worst, I’ll survive.”

~ Ruth La Ferla, excerpts from Jeannette Walls Settles Down Far From the Noise of New York, (The New York Times, August 5, 2017)


Notes: Jeannette Walls is the author of the best selling (and must read) memoir: The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Monday Morning: Let’s Go.

Because who is perfect? (Moved.)


Thank you Susan

that warning from the past, that call to the future, what the gentle leaves of the ginkgo trees are still trying to tell us.

Excerpts from The Whispering Leaves of the Hiroshima Ginkgo Trees by Ariel Dorfman:

On Aug. 6, 1945, a 14-year-old schoolboy named Akihiro Takahashi was knocked unconscious by a deafening roar and a flash of blinding light. When he awoke, he found that he had been thrown many yards by the detonation of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He had survived because his school was about a mile from the epicenter of the blast.

Dazed and burned, Akihiro headed to the river to cool himself. Along the way, he witnessed a scene of apocalypse: corpses strewn like rocks, a baby crying in the arms of its charred mother, scalded men peppered with shards of glass, their clothes melted, wandering like ghosts through the wasteland, the unbreathable darkened air, the raging conflagrations. In an instant, some 80,000 men, women and children had perished. In the days and months that followed, tens of thousands more succumbed to their injuries and the effects of radiation.

I met Mr. Takahashi in 1984, when he was the director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. By then middle-aged, his body was a testament to that war crime and its aftermath. One ear was flat and mangled, his hands were gnarled, and from a finger on each grew a black fingernail.  “You must see the hibakujumoku, the survivor trees,” he said to me, almost as an order, at the end of a long conversation in his office. “You must see the ginkgos.” […]

The ginkgo, I learned, was an expert in survival, a species found in fossils 270 million years old. These specific trees had endured because their roots underground had been spared the nuclear annihilation. Within days of the explosion they had sprouted new greenery — surrounded by Hiroshima’s horrors of carbonized bodies and black rain and wailing survivors. The ginkgos, Mr. Takahashi said, expressed better than anything he could say through an interpreter the endurance of hope, the need for peace and reconciliation. […] [Read more…]

I Needed Color: Free from the future. Free from the past. Free from regret. Free from worry.

What do you do when life chooses you? You can choose not to do it. You can choose to try to do something safer. Your vocation chooses you. When I really started painting a lot, I had become so obsessed, there was nowhere to move. In my home, paintings were everywhere. There were becoming part of the furniture. I was eating on them. I found myself looking around at one point, a really bleak winter in New York. It was just so depressing and I think I needed color. […]

You can tell what I love by the color of the paintings. You can tell my inner life by the darkness in some of them. You can tell by what I want by the brightness in some of them. […]

I think what makes someone an artist is they make models of their inner life. They make something physically come into being that is inspired by their emotions or their needs…

I like the independence of it. Love the freedom of it. No one else tells you what you can and can’t do…and, there’s an immediacy to it. Art has to be service, like you are servicing your subconscious…

When I was a kid I spent half my time in the living room performing for people. I spent the other half of my time in my bedroom by myself writing poetry and sketching. I was not the type of kid that you could say as a punishment: “good to your room” – because my room was Heaven to me. My isolation was welcome…

I don’t know what painting teaches me. I know it just frees me. Free from the future. Free from the past. Free from regret. Free from worry…

~ Jim Carrey, excerpts from  I Needed Color

Note to Self: Who knew that the star of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), Dumb and Dumber (1994), The Mask (1994) – had this talent.


%d bloggers like this: