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It’s been a long day

If just looking could be so satisfying, why was I always striving to have things or to get things done? Certainly I had never suspected that the key to my private reality might lie in so apparently simple a skill as the ability to let the senses roam unfettered by purposes. I began to wonder whether eyes and ears might not have a wisdom of their own.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (First Published, 1934)


Notes:

It’s been a long day

luci d'inverno

The blue river is grey at morning
and evening. There is twilight
at dawn and dusk. I lie in the dark
wondering if this quiet in me now
is a beginning or an end.

~ Jack Gilbert, “Waking at Night” (The Greensboro Review, Fall 2008)


Notes:

 

It’s been a long day

Or was Mill concerned that, in a perfect world, with nothing more to strive for, we might simply grow bored? As the 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once upliftingly put it, “life swings back and forth like a pendulum between pain and boredom.” When we are not consumed by the desire to achieve something (food, shelter, companionship, wealth, career, status, social reform, etc.), we are tortured by boredom…

The answer, he discovered through reading Wordsworth, is to take refuge in a capacity to be moved by beauty — a capacity to take joy in the quiet contemplation of delicate thoughts, sights, sounds, and feelings, not just titanic struggles…

I hope, and suspect, that Mill is right about this: that we all have the ability to find some durable joy in quietude, normalcy and contemplation. In our personal lives, and in our political lives too, it would be nice if we could escape Schopenhauer’s pendulum:

to simply enjoy where we are, at times; to find some peace in the cessation of motion…

~ Adam Etinson, from Is a Life Without Struggle Worth Living? (NY Times, October 2, 2017)


Notes: Photo: via bea’titudeRelated Posts: It’s been a long day

 

It’s been a long day

…Days too small to fill their slots,
days too large for the day to hold them.
And days, no matter what their size,
that leaked into the next.
A leaky day is a dangerous thing…

Richard Siken, from The Field of Rooms and Halls


Notes:

 

It’s been a long day (Right)

Rohingya refugee children from Myanmar’s Rakhine state rest at a refugee camp near Teknaf, Bangladesh. Nearly 125,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh since a fresh surge of violence in Myanmar began in late August. Photo by: K. M. Asad, Agence France-Presse, Getty Images. (wsj.com, September 5, 2017)


Related Posts: It’s been a long day

 

It’s been a long day


To whom does my brain belong?
With what can I or you resist?
Within me disorder
While my brain seeks its order, at almost any price …

~ Göran Sonnevi, from Mozart’s Third Brain


Notes:

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:

 

 

It’s been a long day


How strong they could want something and how dissatisfied they were with having.

Why was having never enough?

And why did wanting always feel so real?

~ Catherine Lacey, from “The Answers: A Novel” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 6, 2017)
 


Notes:

It’s been a long day

wind

I don’t know. Things don’t have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What’s the function of a galaxy? I don’t know if our life has a purpose and I don’t see that it matters. What does matter is that we’re a part. Like a thread in a cloth or a grass-blade in a field. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass.

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven: A Novel


Notes:

It’s been a long day

I was interrupted. People – People. – Phone. – Phone. – Endless. And I am so tired. – :And I would like to sleep under trees – Red ones – Blue ones – Swirling passionate ones – It has been a broken up day – … All fine – but I so damnably tired – I…found I had failed –

~ Alfred Stieglitz · [New York City] ·  June 30, 1917, from My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz

 


Notes:

  • Photo: National Geographic (December 18, 2015) Photographing autumn foliage in Kyoto, Japan. Aurora Simionescu came upon these illuminated paper umbrellas in a stand of bamboo trees at Kodaiji Temple. But capturing this image of the display wasn’t easy. “Illuminated traditional paper umbrellas were scattered throughout the temple grounds as a part of [the autumn illumination] festival,” she explains, “but I especially liked how they broke the monotony of the bamboo forest by adding a splash of color.
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