But our reality, some blend of print and digital, material and immaterial

The more we use our screens, it seems, the more power we assign to books as objects, and to turning their literal pages as a timeless icon of languor. But our reality, some blend of print and digital, material and immaterial, is perhaps no less picturesque. On this beautiful summer morning, while finishing this piece, I was happily distracted by the Twitter feed of a poet named Jeremy Proehl, who, like the mad, poverty-stricken Romantic poet John Clare, inscribes his verse on birch bark. Clare, who also concocted his own ink out of “a mix of bruised nut galls, green copper, and stone blue soaked in a pint and a half of rain-water,” was after permanence, not planned transience: he would not recognize his art in the notion that Proehl’s own bark poems will “fade and break apart in the weather.”

The Internet has no weather, and these dissolving poems will be preserved in every state of decay. What part of my summer morning was “reading,” and what part of it was distraction? Once I put the period on this sentence, I’m headed outside with a copy of John Clare’s poetry, along with my phone, in case I need to look up some images of chaffinches, hedge roses, or whitethorn shrubs.

~ Dan Chiasson, from “Reader, I Googled It” in The New Yorker, August 26, 2019


Photo: Jeremy Proehl – “I write poems on birch bark and hang them in the woods. I call them prayer poems. As they fade and break apart in the weather, like prayer flags, I hope the thoughts of the poems travel on.

Something about long, lazy days and whirring air conditioners

Summer…It must be something about the heat and the smell of chlorine, fresh-cut grass and honeysuckle, asphalt sizzling after late-day thunderstorms, the steam rising while everything drips around it. Something about long, lazy days and whirring air conditioners and bright plastic flip-flops from the drugstore thwacking down the street. Something about fall being so close, another year, another Christmas, another beginning. So much in one summer, stirring up like the storms that crest at the end of each day, blowing out all the heat and dirt to leave everything gasping and cool.

Sarah Dessen, That Summer 


Notes: Quote: Thank you Whiskey River. Photo: Walking Geema

Lightly child, lightly

Don’t you wish they would stop,
all the thoughts swirling around in your head,
bees in a hive, dancers tapping their way across the stage.
I should rake the leaves in the carport, buy Christmas lights.
Was there really life on Mars? What will I cook for dinner?
I walk up the driveway, put out the garbage bins…
Does the car need oil, again? There’s a hole in the ozone
the size of Texas, and everything seems to be speeding up.

Come, let’s stand by the window and look out
at the light on the field. Let’s watch how
the clouds cover the sun, and almost nothing
stirs in the grass.

~ Danusha Lameris, from “Thinking” from The Moons of August


Notes:

  • Poem – Thank you Karl @ Mindfulbalance.  Photo: Moon gazing at Max Patch, North Carolina by Paolo Nacpil
  • 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.”

Lightly child, lightly

The curtain

In the August quietude and the silence

Of the tranquil morning,

Moves gently in the wandering air . . .

Beautiful moment.

Juan Ramón Jiménez, from “Lightness” in The Selected Writings of Juan Ramon


Notes:

  • Poem – via violentwavesofemotion.  Photo: takemeaway
  • 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.”

Saturday Morning

Leave it alone…

let the bones cool…

~ Lisa TaddeoThree Women (July 9, 2019)


Notes:

  • Inspired by: “One of the most difficult aspects of the frantic rush through a busy life is that we often do not allow even the smallest notion of “completion” to enter the picture of our daily lives. We often rush from task to task, so much so that the end of one task is just the invitation to start another. There are no gaps in between in which we could take even a few seconds to sit, to take stock, to realize that we have just completed something. Just the reverse: how many times do we hear ourselves say, “I haven’t achieved anything at all today?” If you can practice cultivating a sense of completeness- even a glimmer, right now, in this moment, with the little things of life- there is a chance that you would be better able to cope with those aspects of mind that keep telling you that you are not there yet; not yet happy, not yet fulfilled. You might learn that you are complete, whole, just as you are.” ~Mark Williams & Danny Penman, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World (via Make Believe Boutique)
  • Photo (via Newthom)

Forecast: 94° F. (Feels like…Hot)


Wiebke Rauers, a freelance illustrator from Berlin working on character designs, children’s books, and magazines. Find her on Facebook here.

This August Day

This August day, reader, is a rose window glowing with heat.

I make you a gift of it, it is yours.

One o’clock. I am going back to the village for lunch. Strong with the silence of the pines and the chestnut trees.

I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer.

~ Violette LeDuc, La Bâtarde


Notes: Quote: Nemophilies. Photo: Franiuk (via Your Eyes Blaze Out). Inspired by: High today – 91° F. Lisbon: 111.2° F

Before Air-Conditioning*

Later on, in the Depression thirties, the summers seemed even hotter. Out West, it was the time of the red sun and the dust storms, when whole desiccated farms blew away and sent the Okies, whom Steinbeck immortalized, out on their desperate treks toward the Pacific. My father had a small coat factory on Thirty-ninth Street then, with about a dozen men working sewing machines. Just to watch them handling thick woollen winter coats in that heat was, for me, a torture. The cutters were on piecework, paid by the number of seams they finished, so their lunch break was short—fifteen or twenty minutes. They brought their own food: bunches of radishes, a tomato perhaps, cucumbers, and a jar of thick sour cream, which went into a bowl they kept under the machines. A small loaf of pumpernickel also materialized, which they tore apart and used as a spoon to scoop up the cream and vegetables.

~ Arthur Miller, Before Air-Conditioning (The New Yorker, June 22, 1998)


Notes:

  • *Inspired by temperature now in Dallas, TX: 103° F and Rising!
  • Photo: Radishes by El Oso Botas. “Madrid-based, Guatemala-born and raised, photographer, food stylist, chef and digital content creator. I’ve had a keen interest in art, colours, and shapes since I was a child.” More photographs here.

Jane’s Summer Vacation (60 sec)


For direct link to CBS Sunday Morning video: Jane’s Summer Vacation

Saturday Morning


Photo by David Godlis via Craveonline.com – Take a trip back in Time to Miami Beach, 1974

T.G.I.T.: 5:00 Bell!

black and white


Source: Photograph by  (via Newthom)

Let’s Go Swimming (In Suining)

suining-china-swimming-pool-crowded-dead-sea

More than 6,000 people pour into the swimming pool at the Dead Sea tourist resort to avoid summer heat in Suining, China.  See more photos and back story here: Chinese Tourists REALLY Love Their Swimming Pool At The ‘Daying Dead Sea’


Photo Source: wsj.com

Summer

Jean-Daniel-Lorieux


Notes: Photograph shot by Jean-Daniel Lorieux in Djerba, an island off the coast of Tunisia which is known for Mediterranean beaches and whitewashed desert towns. Find more of his photos on his Facebook page.   (Source: This Isn’t Happiness)

 

90° F, and simmering. That in earth, on leaf, in air, seethed.

heat-wave-sun

Around us in our shade and hush
Roared summer’s fierce fecundity,
And the sun struck down,
In blare and dazzle, on the myth of the world, but we
Safe in the bourne of distance and shade,
Sat so silent that, from woods coming down
To the whitewashed fence but yards behind me,
I heard the secret murmur and hum
That in earth, on leaf, in air, seethed.

~ Robert Penn Warren, from “Safe in Shade,” Being Here: Poems 1977-1980


Credits:

Today’s Forecast

hot-humid-august-summer-hot


Source: Birthe Piontek via This Isn’t Happiness.  Piontek is a fine art photographer based in Vancouver BC, Canada.  Originally from Germany, she moved to Canada in 2005 after receiving her MFA from the University of Essen in Communication Design and Photography.

Truth

gif-cloud-humid-humidity-summer-august

It was one of those humid days
when the atmosphere gets confused.
Sitting on the porch, you could feel it:
the air wishing it was water.

~ Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex 


Image: Richard Clarkson

What happened to that semi-sacred reading space during the golden months?

summer-read-reading-books-beach

A few years ago, in the Boston Globe, Craig Fehrman wrote an amusing piece about the origins of the summer reading list in the late 19th century. He connected it to the rise of the American vacation. A growing middle class meant the advent of leisure time, and these developments coincided with the desire of working Americans to escape the increasingly routinized nature of their jobs.

The emphasis at that time was on light reading, on diversionary texts that would relieve the harried mind. Mr. Fehrman quotes from an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune in 1872 that recommended summer books which “the idler can take with him into solitude, and read with delightful pauses, when with indolent finger upon the page, his eye wanders up some green vista, or catches some view of the distant sea, and his ear is soothed with the distant murmur of the winds and waves.” In other words, if you’re too distracted to read, bring along a book that will not make you feel guilty if you never finish it. […]

And what did it matter if you never finished any of these books, if a lot of people picked up Tolstoy’s classic summer after summer and never got through the peace part to the war part? The idea of perfecting your inner life by reading the right books over the summer was as much a chimera as the idea of the perfect summer.

Still, looking forward to that spell of leisure and self-edification got you through the winter, and it consoled you with the illusion of a replenishing pause, outside the frame of mortal space and time. The Summer Book will always be with me. Even now, as my indolent finger falls upon a page of Gibbon’s masterwork on the Roman empire (summers of 1975-76, 1978-80, 2014-15, status: pending), winter’s workaday grind and piles of snow seem far, far away.

~ Lee Siegel, The End of the Ambitious Summer Reading ListFor generations, Americans used the golden months to catch up on great old books and modern must reads. What happened to that semi-sacred reading space?

T.G.I.F.: Shark Attack!

TGIF-T.G.I.F.-funny-pet-dog-gif


Source: gifak-net

The first week of August

fans-summer-gif-august-hot

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses on its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.

–Natalie Babbitt, from Tuck Everlasting


Notes: Image Source: David Pichler, 3oneseven.com (via Mennyfox55). Quote source: Paper Ghosts

Just when you’d begun to feel you could rely on summer

beach-walk

Just when you’d begun to feel
You could rely on the summer,
That each morning would deliver
The same mourning dove singing
From his station on the phone pole,
The same smell of bacon frying
Somewhere in the neighborhood,
The same sun burning off
The coastal fog by noon,
When you could reward yourself
For a good morning’s work
With lunch at the same little seaside cafe
With its shaded deck and iced tea,
The day’s routine finally down
Like an old song with minor variations,
There comes that morning when the light
Tilts ever so slightly on its track,
A cool gust out of nowhere
Whirlwinds a litter of dead grass
Across the sidewalk, the swimsuits
Are piled on the sale table,
And the back of your hand,
Which you thought you knew,
Has begun to look like an old leaf.
Or the back of someone else’s hand.

George Bilgere, “August,” The Good Kiss (Akron, 2002)


Notes: George Bilgere Bio.  Poem Source – The Journey of Words. Image: Precious Things

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