From behind me in the heat, beneath a cloudless sky, I hear happy shouts. Treasure every moment you are given; savor every summer’s day. From the time you are a child there is the sanguine suggestion that you will have a supply of those days stretching to the horizon and beyond. The greatest gift of summers, even as they conclude each September, is the winking promise that next year a new one will be rolling around. Waiting for you up ahead.
Labor Day weekend: Soon autumn will arrive, cool days for rekindled ambition, a time for fervent vows and ardent goals, of fresh determination that this may be the season when your ship comes in. But before that, even now, the summer we’re all sharing still has a few breaths left, each with an expiration date. To squander a single one of them would seem a shame.
This is a book about the power of language – strong style, single words – to shape our sense of place. […]
The ten following chapters explore writing so fierce in its focus that it can change the vision of its readers for good in both senses. […] A book that brilliantly shows how such seeing might occur in language, written as it is in prose that has ‘the quivering intensity of an arrow thudding into a tree’. And for over a decade I have been collecting place words as I have found them gleaned singly from conversations, correspondences or books, and jotted down in journals or on slips of paper. […]
Many of these terms have mingled oddness and familiarity in the manner that Freud calls uncanny: peculiar in their particularity, but recognizable in that they name something conceivable, if not instantly locatable. Ammil is a Devon term for the fine film of silver ice that coats leaves, twigs and grass when freeze follows thaw, a beautifully exact word for a fugitive phenomenon I have several times seen but never before been able to name. Shetlandic has a word, af’ rug, for the ‘reflex of a wave after it has struck the shore’; another, pirr, meaning ‘a light breath of wind, such as will make a cat’s paw on the water’; and another, klett, for a ‘a low-lying earth-fast rock on the seashore’. On Exmoor, zwer is the onomatopoeic term for the sound made by a covey of partridges taking flight. […]
There are experiences of landscape that will always resist articulation, and of which words offer only a remote echo – or to which silence is by far the best response. Nature does not name itself. Granite does not self-identify as igneous. Light has no grammar. Language is always late for its subject. Sometimes on the top of a mountain I just say, ‘Wow.’
Note: Portrait – Wharfedaleobserver
5:45 am. I round the corner to Cove Island – low tide. The sulfur released from the exposed mud fills the lungs – gas, pungent smelling salts.
Geese float silently in the shadows.
I’m around the loop and back, 1/4 mile from the entrance. GPS flashes 4.1 miles in. I don’t glance at the time, that’s been a year now, I’ve conceded. “Matured.” Over 25 years of daily tracking of body weight and notating work-outs, first in a log book, then Excel spreadsheets and now Google Sheets. And also, now, on a parallel path on a digital step tracker which automatically feeds volumes of data into machines and is charted and graphed and spliced into pieces – all of which I never look at. The logging, the tracking, the effort, I mean Really! WHO CARES?
Yet, the tension pulls at both ends, a medieval body rack tearing the limbs from the torso. Wired to Do, whipped by a Mind that makes you Do and strapped to a Body that can no longer Do. And, the Head swims in rip currents.
Sunday morning, early, 5:40 am. Out the door.
Temperature: 78° F. Humidity? 1 zillion, and climbing. Visibility? Fair. Mist rises from the earth, still absorbing the 3 am deluge – one very large compost pile. It’s August in the Connecticut rainforest, and I run. This should be corrected, I used to run. Now I lean forward and move my feet hoping not to take a header. I’m 1/2 mile in, all exposed body parts glisten with a high sheen…and the rest are feelin’ Heavy. I flip my music player to Counting Crows and The Rain King. Yes, if you’ve followed along with me on this blog, this song and its reference would be a repeat. You get old, you repeat sh*t. That’s how it goes.
….When I think of heaven, (Deliver me in a black-winged bird) I think of flying…
I triple click the up volume arrow, Rain King is boomin’ into the earbuds. The tech gremlin pipes in a warning: “Sir, you can sustain ear damage at high volumes.” Honey, no worries, there’s ain’t nothing up there will be damaged.
I round the corner and approach a steep incline. You’re Usain Bolt. You’re a Kenyan. You’re in Rio. You’re amazing!
I take off. [Read more…]
Remember the giant whooping crane on the county highway
whose mate had been hit, stretched out dead at the center
of the road? She stood by him, wings open and flapping, shrewd
voice anxious, screaming, her dark red crown bowing in her descent
through the rim of despair. With each oncoming car she took a short
running flight to get our of the way, pacing the side of the road until
she could return to him. The next day, when still there, exhausted,
wings tattered and brown, we scraped what left of her lover
off the asphalt with a snow shovel, and laid the body on the low,
dry treadgrass by the embankment. The birds had come that July
to our swill, which had filled with monsoon rain. She stood there
close to us, in the still, yellowing grass, her interminable legs wobbling
underneath her body. The long toes of her feet twitching. That
shallow silver dish of my mind chattering, lay hold of me. Lay hold.
~ Elizabeth Jacobson,”Lay Hold of Me,” The American Poetry Review (July/August 2016)
This body is 6’1″ and yet it always seems to hit me head-high. On the chin. Wraps around my forehead. Straps across the eyes, like strings of celophane plastered on the corneas. And on a bad day, at the end of a long morning run when I’m heaving, it hits me full on the mouth like strands of cotton candy, without the sweet and the color. Here, the scene would be a middle aged man who’s lost his marbles, arms waving maniacally and spitting like a machine gun.
Yet, it’s so fine. A fraction of the electrical wires slung between the poles overhead. Thinner than the monofilament fishing line I would cast in the eddies of the Kootenay river. And thinner yet, than the fiber optic cable laid across the Atlantic.
Yet on this road, this morning, this path less travelled, it was apparent that overnight he was working. At 5:15 a.m., it hit me across both eyes. A single strand. Not on the forehead. Not on the chest. Not on the knees. Not even on the neck. Not one eye, square across both eyes, as if he had a plum bob, measured me up and said: to get him, it has to be right here. 5’x” off the ground, and assume a bit of up and down motion because he’s running.
The single web line was strung across a two lane highway, to a tree on the other side. Across a two-lane highway!
How? Now that is the question(s). [Read more…]
Not the bald image, but always –
undulant, elusive, beyond reach
of any dull staring eye
among the words, beneath
the skin of images: nerves,
muscles, rivers of urgent blood,
secret, disciplined, generous and
- Source: Beth @ Alive on All Channels and the rain doesn’t care who it wakes
- Photo: Katerina Plotnikova with Untitled (via Hidden Sanctuary)
- Post 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 Live & Learn Posts: Miracle. All of it.