Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

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Epiphanies aren’t lightning bolts. They are a hummed note, a prayer mumbled constantly, brought to the surface given the right conditions. It’s as if I am always hearing three ways, first shallowly, collecting, then one level deeper as I’m processing, and finally, I am hearing with my body, which is when I’m hearing myself. That’s one way, for me, information combines with experience and becomes knowledge. I wish there were a shortcut.

Stephanie Danler, Stray: A Memoir (Knopf, May 19, 2020)


Notes: New York Times Book Review on “Stray: A Memoir” – “In ‘Stray,’ Stephanie Danler Asks How a Victim Becomes a Perpetrator

Memorial Day 2020

The New York Times Front Page (May 24, 2020): “An Incalculable Loss.” America is fast approaching a grim milestone in the coronavirus outbreak — each figure here represents one of the nearly 100,000 lives lost so far. But a count reveals only so much. Memories, gathered from obituaries across the country, help us to reckon with what was lost.

One hundred thousand.

A number is an imperfect measure when applied to the human condition. A number provides an answer to how many, but it can never convey the individual arcs of life, the 100,000 ways of greeting the morning and saying goodnight…to share that closing prayer, that parting glass, that final hug.

One. Hundred. Thousand.

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Sunday Morning

Got up on a cool morning. Leaned out a window. 
No cloud, no wind. Air that flowers held 
for awhile. Some dove somewhere…
these moments 
count for a lot–peace, you know.
Let the bucket of memory down into the well,
bring it up. Cool, cool minutes. No one 
stirring, no plans. Just being there.

This is what the whole thing is about.

— William Stafford, from “Just Thinking” in “Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford” 


Photo: Mine. 5:46 a.m. May 24, 2020. 50° F, feels like 46° F. Wind 12 mph, gusts up to 23 mph. Weed Ave/Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.

Saturday Morning

And come the dawn,
how slow and easy the Sun-beams
Long legs of a great crab,
move through the sea of mist.

~ Takarai Kikaku (1661-1707), Haiku in Mad in Translation by Robin D. Gill


Photo: 6:06 am. 60° F. Low tide. Weed Ave Stamford, CT.

Running. With Possum.

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Last night. My sleep app registers 6.5 hours (Tues), 5.3 hours (Wed) and 4.1 hours (Thurs). Recognizing that this trend is unsustainable, I do what Americans do. We medicate. Three Tylenol PM tablets down the hatch and in bed at 9pm. I twist in my earbuds, hit play on Audible and listen to the narration of Stephanie Danler’s new Memoir “Stray.” I’m gone in minutes.

4:35 a.m. this morning. Eyes are pharmaceutically glued shut, but some life force demands that I check the time. Ah, ha. I’ve bent back the sleep curve. And feel like sh*t…

16 consecutive days of morning runs, and I’ll be damned if I was going to break the streak this morning. Because that’s what compulsive obsessives do.

A passage from Danler’s book floats up: “Every addict’s journey follows the same trajectory. It’s an Icarus story: a high that’s unsustainable and then down, down, down.” I think about this for a moment, get the down-down-down part, and wonder: “Where’s my High?”

I’m out the door. 53° F. 5:05 am. Cautiously advancing, one wobbly step in front of the other. Eyes desperately trying to focus, I blink trying to reset but the Tylenol leans in on the eyelids. Eyes water.

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Lightly Child, Lightly

The Mekas image had a caption, drawn from 2007’s To New York with Love. YOU LOOK AT THE SUN. THEN YOU RETURN HOME AND YOU CAN’T WORK, YOU’RE IMPREGNATE WITH ALL THAT LIGHT. We’re so often told that art can’t really change anything. But I think it can. It shapes our ethical landscapes; it opens us to the interior lives of others. It is a training ground for possibility. It makes plain inequalities, and it offers other ways of living. Don’t you want it, to be impregnate with all that light? And what will happen if you are?

Olivia LaingFunny Weather: Art in an Emergency ( W. W. Norton & Company; May 12, 2020)


Notes:

  • Image Source
  • 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?


Thank you Carrie for sharing. Photo Source: Global Voices

 

Morning Meditation


Notes:

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I want to reinstate a respect for soil. We must touch the soil. How many times do we touch our mobile phone every day? Maybe 100 times. How many times do we touch the soil? Hardly ever. We must give dignity to peasants, farmers and gardeners. We are all part of this healthy web of life maintained by soil. The Latin word humus means soil. The words human, humility and humus all come from the same root. When humans lose contact with soil, they are no longer humans.

Satish Kumar, from “The Link Between Soil, Soul and Society” (The Guardian)


Notes: Quote via Liquid Light and Running Trees. Photo – Soil by Alexandra

Sunday Morning

My cousin’s last day was spent out on his bike, a seventy-mile ride on a Saturday morning. He did the ride alone, and nobody had any contact with him after that. At some time in the next twenty-four hours he died, and his body was found by the police on Monday morning when his employer called them, worried because he hadn’t turned up for work. He always turned up for work.

I would wish for my last day to involve an act of freedom–a walk by the ocean, a long bike ride, something I love. I hope that the walk and the bike ride were suffused with joy, with pleasure, for my stepdad and my cousin. Neither knew it was their last time to do that thing. If they’d known, would they have enjoyed it more or less? Eventually, everything has to be done for the final time. There must be many things that, without our realising it, already fall into that category for all of us.

Final acts acquire holiness. My stepdad’s walk that day has. When we go to Ireland we almost always take the same route. We look out on the sea because it’s the last sea he saw. We write his name in the sand. We reflect, each of us inwardly, that one day we will never see this place again either. It’s a dull shock.

If finality makes something holy then every moment is holy, because every moment could be the last. That’s a thought we spend too cheaply. Live each day as if it’s your last, we think, and then we don’t. Everything is holy. It’s only when we die that the holiness is called up. But it was always holy, all along.

Samantha Harvey, The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping (Grove Press; May 12, 2020)


Photo: Mine. 5:23 a.m. A Holy Moment, on Sunday, a Holy Day. Cove Island Park Stamford, CT.

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