Lightly Child, Lightly.

Dissolve.

A moment of quiet.

The dust settles.

—  Wallace Stegner, Recapitulation


Notes:

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


  • Photo: “Camel Herding” by David Swindler: “Since we are in Mongolia, what could be better than taking on the role of a camel herder! It was a cold morning in the Gobi Desert as evidenced by the camel’s breath. Fortunately, we warmed up quickly as we climbed the steep dunes with the camels. Immediately after I snapped this shot, the camel came up and kissed Evelyn on her shoulder. What a memorable morning we had with these magnificent animals!” (Thank you for sharing Christie!)
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again.

Three of my best friends

Having just read “The Overstory,” by Richard Powers, I was delighted to learn more about Suzanne Simard, an inspiration for Patricia Westerford, who despite derision and opposition, proved trees communicate among themselves. When I was a child growing up in Marblehead, Mass., three of my best friends were trees: two oaks and a white pine. I named them, climbed them and talked to them knowing they recognized me and enjoyed my company. Now, at 88, all my two-legged friends are gone, but my tree friends are still standing. I visited them last summer, glad to see them tall, strong and healthy.

—  Cynthia Baketel Systrom, Stuart, FL in a reader’s letter to the editor in response to Ferris Jabr’s “The Social Life of Forests in the NY Times Magazine 12/6/20 issue (New York Times Magazine, Dec 20, 2020)


Photo: DK’s 3 Sisters. Cove Island Park. 6:56 am. January 6, 2021.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

When stumped by a life choice, choose “enlargement” over happiness. I’m indebted to the Jungian therapist James Hollis for the insight that major personal decisions should be made not by asking, “Will this make me happy?”, but “Will this choice enlarge me or diminish me?”

Oliver BurkemanOliver Burkeman’s last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life (The Guardian, Sept 4, 2020)


Notes:

Sunday Morning

In a May 1952 paper for her religion class, “Religion as I See It,” Plath laid out her “basic tenets”: man was “born without purpose in a neutral universe,” without inherent morals, and was responsible for his own destiny. There was no afterlife. “His mind may live on, as it were, in books, his flesh may continue in his children. That is all.” God was not to blame for man’s evils or triumphs. Plath claimed that she could “never find my faith through the avenue of manmade institutions,” and called herself an “agnostic humanist.” She happily admitted she was a pantheist at heart: “For my security, I resort not to the church, but to the earth. The impersonal world of sun, rocks, sea and sky gives me a strange courage.” For her, the vital world was earthly and present.

— Heather Clark, Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath (Knopf; October 27, 2020)


Notes:

  • Plath was 19 years old in May 1952.
  • Photographs: DK @ Daybreak. Jan 10, 2021. 6:43 to 7:20 am. 28° F, feels like 18° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT. More photos from this morning here.

the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

—  Mary Oliver, Wild Geese


Photo: Daybreak. Jan 9, 2021. 6:54 am. 24° F, feels like 13° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT

The shift to peace is soft, barely there. A scrape of gravel, the breathing of trees.


Notes:

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

 


  • Did you know? Frampton’s Camel is English musician Peter Frampton’s second studio album, recorded and released in 1973. It was the first album that Frampton recorded in the United States. Most of the album was written in New York City. It reached number 110 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. (Source: Wiki)
  • Photo Source: Thank you Christie!
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again.

Hear dawn take her first breath

This was also the month (January 1949) Mr. Crockett famously rounded up his charges to watch the sun rise over Babson Park and recite poetry. Sylvia wrote, “The early hour was so that everyone could hear ‘dawn take her first breath’ and thereby reach a higher ‘kinship with infinity.’

— Heather Clark, Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath (Knopf; October 27, 2020)


Notes:

  • Plath was 16 years old at the time she wrote this.
  • Photographs: DK @ Daybreak. Jan 5, 2021. 6:43 to 7:20 am. 33° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT. More photos from this morning here.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

As I sit alone with these words, I think about how brave he was in so many ways, and how brave he was to go into that studio every day with his demons and his angels, and labor to put them on canvas. Nulla dia sine linea, No day without a line, is the motto at the Art Students League, from Pliny the Elder, derived from the Greek painter Apelles. The devotions.

— Elizabeth Alexander, “The Light of the World: A Memoir.


Elizabeth Alexander was married to Ficre Ghebreyesus from 1997 until he died unexpectedly in 2012 days after his 50th birthday. Her memoir, “The Light of the World” is a story of her loss and her love.  The painting above was Ficre Ghebreyesus’ Middle Passage Figures with Solitary Boats (c. 2002–2007) (detail). Acrylic on canvas. 24 x 30 inches; 26.5 x 32.5 x 2 inches.

%d bloggers like this: