the world is alive with such innocent progress

In feathers the color of dusk, a swallow,
up under the shadowy eaves of the barn,
weaves now, with skillful beak and chitter,
one bright white feather into her nest
to guide her flight home in the darkness.
It has taken one hundred thousand years
for a bird to learn this one trick with a feather,
a simple thing. And the world is alive
with such innocent progress. But to what
safe place shall any of us return
in the last smoky nightfall,
when we in our madness have put the torch
to the hope in every nest and feather?

~ Ted Kooser, “Nightfall” in Kindest Regards: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, May 8, 2018)


Image (edited): featherthenest.com

A Division of Labor. A Promise Kept.

Saturday morning. Bird song, many species, ease softly through the window. The body, the bones and the mind at rest. The peace and sanctuary of Saturday morning. Bliss.

Until, it’s not.

For most, the smell of freshly cut grass conjures warm images of youth, of order, of parallel lines, or of a task completed. Or perhaps it’s the smell of rich, black soil, or the solidity of earth under one’s feet. Or perhaps a feeling of rebirth or growth.

For most.

But not for me.

This past, this dipping back into youth, of weekend chores, of hundreds of yards of uncut grass, of an aging push mower, of a hot sun bearing down, of a rush to finish – offers no such relief.

[Read more…]

I like how I am

Billy Bob Thornton also spoke about his marriage to Angelina Jolie.  As for why they split, Thornton said, “We just had different lifestyles. Hers is a global lifestyle and mine is an agoraphobic lifestyle,” he said with a laugh. “So that’s really, that’s the only reason we’re probably not still together, maybe. There was a different path in life we wanted to take.”

“I never felt good enough for her,” he shared, adding that despite his many years in Hollywood, he’s “real uncomfortable around rich and important people.”

And he wasn’t looking to change his ways.

“I like how I am,” he said.

~ Mike Miller, Billy Bob Thornton Says There Is Only One Reason He Is Not Still Married to Angelina Jolie (People, June 13, 2018)


Portrait of Billy Bob Thornton: Alan Amato

 

the only way to end this circuitous torture of self-obsession

russell-brand

AC: The self, which we worship at the moment, is actually a terrible prison. It’s a cage. You are trapped…When you get trapped in your own short term desires, it’s a cage…Maybe it’s good to escape from that daily grind of having to listen to your consciousness constantly saying that “I want this. I want this. I want this.” Which we are encouraged to believe is liberation…Maybe it’s not.

RB: I think you are quite right. Even pop spiritual orators such as Eckhart Tolle will say to you this incessant inner narrative, the relentless thinking – there’s no freedom in that. And watch where those thoughts take you. If I’m walking my dog in the field…this material reality is…I am a man, in a field with a dog. In my head what’s happening: “Oh God. Why did I do that for? This will probably go wrong. What’s going to happen?” …There is a self-imposed tyranny to that…

AC: People live inside their heads very much. Because they are encouraged to, that is the end point. But actually what’s going on in those heads are things that people don’t want to tell. Fear. Loneliness. Doubt. Because actually if you are going to be the right kind of individual, you mustn’t have that. You see that on social media at the moment…

RB: …Self is the relentless driven inner narrative…I myself have had to battle…I believe the disease of addiction has at its core a kind of circuitous self-centeredness that can only be ended, well first by removal of the initial substance…once those things are gone you recognize those drives are still present. What is it?! You become obsessed with food. You become obsessed with sex. You become obsessed with work and other people’s opinion. In the end you begin to recognize that the only way to end this circuitous torture of self-obsession is with ideas that have always been present in religious and spiritual doctrine, service, connectionin whose service is perfect freedom. It is so beautiful. You give yourself up…it is an idiom that implies that there is an upward transcendent trajectory.

~ Russell BrandIs Civilization Crumbling? With Adam Curtis. (Under the Skin. With Russell Brand. Podcast #50, March 24, 2018)

Sunday Morning

Refresh yourself, sister
With the water from the copper bowl with bits of ice in it –
Open your eyes under water, wash them –
Dry yourself with a rough towel and cast
A glance at a book you love.
In this way begin
A lovely and useful day.

Bertolt Brecht, “Sister” from Do-it-Yourself Brecht Poem Toolkit

 


Notes: Photo: heather milazzo with Face Washing .  Poem: Thank you Whiskey River.

Driving I-95 S. With Ray…

9 p.m. Thursday evening.

2.5 hours of sleep the night before – the body (and mind) have quit. I’m done. It’s done.

An eggshell blue Extra Strength Tylenol PM caplet rolls in the palm of my hand.  Please. Work your magic. Free me of this Mind. These thoughts. These chains. This swirl. This madness. Just let go.Of me. Please.

And it does. I find Goldbarth’s layer on layer, down and down. And down I went.

5:40 a.m. this morning.

I blink to clear the plume of narcotic, misting Tylenol PM.  Both hands grip the wheel – Steady DK, Steady. There’s a giant Semi to my right, Transpro Intermodal Trucking Inc., Bensalem PA, and a five-foot high barrier on my left…thousands of pounds of concrete which I can reach out and touch.  Lane feels tight. Walls on both sides close in. Steady DK. Steady. I reduce speed to 55, glance in the rear view mirror, wait for oncoming traffic to clear, and swing the car across two lanes. The convoy of trucks and early morning commuters stream by – all racing to beat The Rush to Manhattan.  Not today Friends. Not today. I’m out.

6:05 a.m.

It’s me and a floor of empty offices and desks. The air conditioning is humming. The overhead florescent tubes buzz. I log into my PC, wait for the gremlins to load. While I’m waiting, I flick through WordPress posts.  It’s Ray on the rural roads in South Carolina.  My eyes scan his post, my pulse slows, the body softens and I’m swept away in “Take the Backroads“:

“There is something refreshing about making your way through cornfields, strawberry fields, horse farms and peach orchards at 50mph or so. It is much more relaxing than driving on the Interstate at 75mph and being passed by 18 wheelers…I made my way the thirty-two miles from the meeting back home, I drove, windows down,  through a large cornfield as the sun was setting. The air was fresh and sweet and since there was little traffic, I was able to drive well below the posted speed limit, breath deep and take it all in. When I was younger, I never would have done that. I probably should have.”

Yes Ray.

Yes.


Notes:

  • Inspired by : “One of the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important… There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance.” – G.K. Chesterton, Robert Browning (Thank you Beth @ Alive on all Channels)
  • Photo: via Mennyfox55

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

 


Photo via Newthom

Sunday Morning


The snarl of saws and feller bunchers, somewhere in the distance. A great truth comes over him: Trees fall with spectacular crashes. But planting is silent and growth is invisible.

Some days, dawn breaks in Arthurian mists. There are mornings when the chill threatens to kill him, noons when the heat knocks him on his semi-numbed butt. Afternoons so profligate with blue he lies on his back and stares upward until his eyes water. There come mocking and merciless rains. Rain the weight and color of lead. Shy rain, auditioning with stage fright. Rain that leaves his feet sprouting moss and lichen. There were huge, spiked skeins of interwoven wood here once. They will come again.

Sometimes he works alongside other tree slingers, some of whom speak no language he recognizes. He meets hikers who want to know where the forests of their youth have gone. The seasonal pineros come and go, and the hard cores, like him, keep on. Mostly, it’s him and the brute, blank, stripped-down rhythm of the work. Wedge, squat, insert, stand, and boot-tip seal.

They look so pitiful, his tiny Douglas-firs. Like pipe cleaners. Like props for a train set. From a distance, spread across these man-made meadows, they’re a crew cut on a balding man. But each weedy stem he puts into the dirt is a magic trick eons in the making. He rolls them out by the thousands, and he loves and trusts them as he would dearly love to trust his fellow men.

Left alone—and there’s the catch—left alone to the air and light and rain, each one might put on tens of thousands of pounds. Any one of his starts could grow for the next six hundred years and dwarf the largest factory chimney. It could play host to generations of voles that never go to ground and several dozen species of insects whose only desire is to strip their host bare. Could rain down ten million needles a year on its own lower branches, building up mats of soil that grow their own gardens high in the air.

Any one of these gangly seedlings could push out millions of cones over the course of its life, the small yellow males with their pollen that floats across entire states, the drooping females with their mouse tails sticking out from the coil of scales, a look he finds dearer than his own life. And the forest they might remake he can almost smell—resinous, fresh, thick with yearning, sap of a fruit that is no fruit, the scent of Christmases endlessly older than Christ.

Douglas Pavlicek works a clear-cut as big as downtown Eugene, saying goodbye to his plants as he tucks each one in. Hang on. Only ten or twenty decades. Child’s play, for you guys. You just have to outlast us.

~ Richard Powers, from “Douglas Pavlicek” in The Overstory: A Novel (April 3, 2018)


Photo: Biology.unm.edu

Saturday Morning

A cluster of seals rises behind the skiff when I idle away from Peril Island. I feel as if they’re ushering me off, and as if the other animals are watching with relief while I depart: the seals stretched out on warm rocks; the blinking oystercatchers; the fretting gulls and shorebirds; the eagle who flew when I arrived; the peregrine, perched in some distant tree or soaring invisibly against the sun’s corona. I can almost sense the whole place breathing out as its tranquility returns. My deepest impression is that Peril Island and its animals belong to one another, and that there is no rightful place among them for humans.

Richard NelsonThe Island Within

 


Notes: Photo Credit: conservationaction.com.  Related Posts: “Richard Nelson”, The Island Within

T.G.I.F.: Do Your Work. Rest Here.


Notes: Photo/GIF: Head Like An Orange. Title from Christina Baldwin, The Seven Whispers: “We often speak of ‘doing the work.’ … Do your work. Rest here. Find peace of mind. Ask for guidance. Fill yourself with certainty. then move on. The work does not need to be grand, only fitting. It is guided by asking ourselves over and over: What is the next right thing?” (Thank you Make Believe Boutique)

%d bloggers like this: