Morning Exercise (1, 2, or 3?)

#1:

ice-swim-winter-paris

#2:

ice-swim-cold

Or is it #3?

[Read more…]

Riding Metro North. With Flicker.

veggie-chips-jpgIt’s the Quiet Car.  Quiet.  There is no prohibition for dining in a Quiet Car. Or in any car for that matter.

You may be Pro-Life or Pro-Choice. You may be Vegetarian. You may believe in Global Warming. You may be a member of the NRA or for Gun Control. You may be for or anti Keystone Pipeline or fracking.  Voucher or Public School.  Whatever. As long as you aren’t in my face with your POV, I’m good.  With one exception: Dining on public transportation. Don’t like it. Don’t do it. Find it deplorable.

6:35 p.m. Metro North departing from Grand Central Station to parts North.

It’s a six-seater, with four persons.  Three people is manageable. Four is crowded. As the fourth piles in, the other three, me included, grumble. The commuter code is broken.

I’m knee to knee with a student, who has cracked open a pre-packaged salad, its perfume, sesame ginger dressing, spills into the cabin.  She spreads out her napkins and proceeds to dive in with her plastic fork.  Mixed mesclun greens. Julienne sliced red bell pepper. Water chestnuts. Baby Corn.  All coated and shimmering in dressing.  She catches me sliding my knees into the aisle. One Human feels discomfort in another Human.  She wraps the dish in the plastic bag offering additional spillage protection and looks up.  I grin.  A sort-of thank you cheetah-like grin. Just one drop on me and there will be an explosion in this train car.  She gingerly spears her greens and uses the plastic bag as a splash guard.  Graying Mustachio Man looks unpredictable, eyes have that crazed look, best not to test him. [Read more…]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (Draw Water. Carry Wood.)

firewood

The ordinary moments of our daily life may appear commonplace, but in reality they are not so; they carry enormous significance. To polish a pair of shoes, to serve a helping of apple pie, to break bread, to chop firewood- these can be lordly activities. Any action performed with a sense of reverence, of care and of pleasure, can become what I would call a sacrament. Zen, in particular, lays emphasis on ‘everyday life’ as the real path to the great mystery. One of its Masters, Joshu, replied to a question about the true nature of the Great Way, the Tao, by saying, “Our everyday life, that is the Tao.” It is the worship of the moment’s duration, inviolate, detached, and passionate. It is the observation of the sunlight on a bald of grass, the sight of a beetle crawling across a leaf; the worship of the day’s most commonplace events:

I draw water,
I carry wood,
This is my magic.

~ John Lane, from the “Art of Commonplace” in The Spirit of Silence

 


Quote: Thank you Make Believe Boutique. Photo: tapioanttilacollection

 

Come to the woods, for here is rest.

tree-cold-winter

To Fight the Winter Blues, Try a Dose of Nature by Florence Williams (excerpts):

Wintertime is rough on those whom the 19th-century hiker-philosopher John Muir called “tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people.” But we have an obvious cure for our doldrums: go outside. Though we are months away from the flowers and leafy foliage of spring, a dose of nature can still calm the mind and solidify human bonds. The real question is why we don’t partake more often of this easy balm…

After crunching the data, Dr. MacKerron and Susana Mourato…found people were significantly happier outdoors, especially in natural settings, than they were indoors…But there was a catch: Most of the participants didn’t behave as if they knew this, because they were rarely outside. They were indoors or in vehicles for 93% of their waking hours.

The study reveals our epidemic dislocation from the outdoors—an indictment not just of the structures and expectations of modern life but of our self-understanding. As the writer Annie Dillard famously said, how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Why don’t we do more of what makes us happy? Part of the answer is that we’re flat-out busy. But even when we have free time, we’re not always smart about how we spend it…

Because we don’t spend enough time outside to notice that it makes us feel good, we spend even less time outside, replacing it with shopping, social media and so on. We especially “devalue nearby nature,” she says, such as small urban parks and tree-lined streets, because we tend to think they aren’t impressive enough as destinations. Scientists are quantifying the effects of even small doses of urban nature not only on our moods and well-being but also on our ability to think—to remember things, plan, create, daydream and focus… [Read more…]

Walking. Walking it down the cheek.

tear-cheek

1:32 am.

Halldór’s nightlessness and insomnia in all directions.

A new routine, and I’ve grooved it. To bed early, wake early, read to exhaustion, and back to sleep until sunrise.

I flick on the iPad, illuminating the dark. I get after it. The Journal. The Times. Apple News. Blog posts. RSS feeds in Feedly. A few late night incoming emails. And then to dessert, a chapter or two on Kindle, half-way through Lebedev’s Oblivion.  It’s 3:15 am, I’m turning pages on a title called Oblivion, now that’s something. You must sleep, or you will pay dearly.

I set the e-gear down, turn on the left side, and pull up the covers. Fragments of news, pages, posts, emails and today’s full day calendar are flitting by, churning, the mind workin’, workin’. Anxiety…A piece rises to the top. Begley: “A compulsion is at once psychological balm and curse, surface madness and profound relief…The ability of compulsive behaviors to quiet anxieties great and small is one of the greatest gifts our brains can give us.”

I pause, close my eyes, and marinate in this…if this is the greatest gift our brains can give us, I am fully gifted, fully loaded. FULL UP.

And, then, it stopped. The churning stopped. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning

fog-mist-gif


Fog in the mornings, hunger for clarity
coffee and bread with sour plum jam.
Numbness of soul in placid neighborhoods.
Lives ticking on as if.

A typewriter’s torrent, suddenly still…
Whatever you bring in your hands, I need to see it…

A cat drinks from a bowl of marigolds – his moment.
Surely the love of life is never-ending…

~ Adrienne Rich, from “To The Days” in Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems 1991-1995


Photo Gif: LivingStills

Miracle. All of It.

elephant-city

If you were an elephant living wild in a western city…

  • You’d have one two-fingered hand swinging from your face – a hand as sensitive as tumescent genitals, but which could smash a wall or pick a cherry. With that hand you’d explore your best friends’ mouths, just for the sake of friendship.
  • you’d smell water two miles away and the flowers at your feet
  • Grumbles from trucks and cabs would shudder through the toxic ground, tickle the lamellar corpuscles in your feet and ricochet up your bones…You’d hear with your feet, and your femurs would be microphones
  • As you walked 10 miles for your breakfast you’d chatter with your friends in 10 octaves
  • You’d have the happiest kind of political system, run by wise old women, appointed for their knowledge of the world and their judgment, uninterested in hierarchy for hierarchy’s sake, and seeking the greatest good for the greatest number.
  • Elephants know, from distances well beyond the reach of ordinary senses, that other elephants were on the way…from 50 miles away
  • Why do elephants seek out other elephants?…because they like other elephants.
  • When a bereaved elephant mother carries her dead baby round on her tusks, or trails miserably behind the herd for weeks, her head hanging down, she’s grieving. When other elephants sit for hours around the body of a dead elephant, they’re mourning. When they cover an elephant corpse with soil or vegetation, or move elephant bones, they’re being reverential. When they cover a dead human, or build a protective wall of sticks around a wounded human, they’re showing an empathic acknowledgment of our shared destiny that we’d do well to learn.
  • You’re a city elephant. You’ll inhabit the city much more intensely and satisfactorily than most of its human denizens. All your senses will be turned fully on. You won’t, like most woefully unsensual humans, using only your eyes.
  • If they’re people, they’re embarrassingly better people than we are. They build better communities; they live at peace with themselves and aren’t, unlike us, actively psychopathic towards other species.
  • Be careful, though. You’re likely to end up dead because someone wants a couple of your teeth.

~ Charles Foster, excerpts from “If You Were An Elephant” in The Guardian (Jan 19, 2017)


Notes:

  • Digital Art Image Credit: Larger than Life by H3NDRIX121
  • Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.

T.G.I.F.: Road Trip!

celine-dion-jupiter-florida-swimming-pool

Singer Céline Dion is cutting the price of her Florida estate to $38.5 million. See the 19 other amazing pictures here: Celine Dion Jupiter Estate.

It’s been a long day

breathe-gratitude-long-day


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly.

light

Light splashed this morning…
A curious gladness shook me…
and I pick my notebook up
and I start to read aloud
the still-wet words I scribbled
on the blotted page:
“Light splashed …”

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.

~ Stanley Kunitz, from “The Round” in Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected


Notes:

  • Photo:ben cauchi via mennyfox55. Poem: via readalittlepoetry
  • 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.”
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