Driving I-287 East. A long day, longer.

I duck out of the office. It’s been a long day.

Waze flashes an estimate for a quick ride home: 28 minutes.  The Dark Sky App sends an alert: Large storm is bearing down.

I’m one mile from the exit to I-95 on I-287.

The sky blackens.

A few leaves gust and float overhead.

Another wind gust blows a large swarm of leaves from the hillside, they hang mid-air, swirl and gust upward in a wind tunnel. Ominous.

Then comes the rain.

Then darkness. [Read more…]

Walking the floor. Sewn into our skins.

The walkway to the entrance is a shadow, sprayed clean, still moist in its elongated drying cycle in the early morning humidity in August – the industrial hose is wrapped tightly in the hidden wall closet.

The silver trash can standing a few feet from the elevator has been wiped down and emptied.

The rug under the desk is now free of the paper chads that spilled from the three-hole punch that was toppled over when rushing to answer the phone.

The trash can under the desk with the wax paper Chick-fil-A wrapper has been emptied, along with the paper pocket which held the home fries.

The paper dispenser in the men’s room is replenished. The bathroom floors have been scrubbed with a fresh lemon scented cleaner. The sinks are clean and dry, the toilets wiped down, the mirrors are spot-free and gleam.

My desk top has been wiped clean, yesterday wiped away.

My hands rest on the desktop.

Her hands rest under her head.  She sleeps now, and she sleeps hard. She’ll be up in a few hours catching a bus for her second job, laundry and folding sheets for a Comfort Inn.

Investigators dusting this scene and applying a flourescent dye stain and a burst of orange light would find her fingerprints everywhere. The desks. The computer screens. The walls. The floors. The door knobs. The sinks. The toilets.

Kafka was right.

People are sewn into their skins and can’t alter the seams.

The phone rings, breaking the spell.

I’m back, back in my skin.

~ DK


Notes:

Often I found myself expelling a quivering, involuntary “Whoa”

The trees are so big that it would be cowardly not to deal with their bigness head on. They are very, very big. You already knew this — they’re called “giant sequoias” — and I knew it, too. But in person, their bigness still feels unexpected, revelatory. And the delirium of their size is enhanced by their age, by the knowledge that some of the oldest sequoias predate our best tools for processing and communicating phenomena like sequoias, that the trees are older than the English language and most of the world’s major religions — older by centuries, easily, even millenniums. The physical appearance of a tree cannot be deafening, and yet with these trees, it is. Facing down a sequoia, the most grammatically scrambled thoughts wind up feeling right. Really, there’s only so much a person can do or say. Often I found myself expelling a quivering, involuntary Whoa. […]

Late one afternoon, I lay down in the snow at the base of one for a while, watching as the fog poured in through its crown, and I remembered how untroubled Riksheim sounded at the bar the previous evening when, lowering his voice, he mentioned that there was a particular sequoia near his house that he was keeping an eye on. He could wake up dead tomorrow, he said. “It’s just that flying, fickle finger of Fate. Every once in a while, it’s going to point at you.” Then he fluttered his long, bony index finger through the air and lowered it with a sudden whoosh. Out of nowhere: crash. And I realized that his experience of it — a feeling of forsakenness, of arbitrary cruelty — would be essentially the same as the tree’s.

Two days later, I was snowshoeing around alone when I discovered I was standing in front of the same sequoia I had lain under. There, in the sloping snow at its roots, I saw my imprint. My back and legs and arms were joined into a wispy column, with the perfectly ovular hood of my parka rounding off the top. It looked like a snow angel, but also like a mummy — an image of both levity and dolefulness, neither all good nor all bad. I took a picture of it: what little of myself was left after I’d gone. The figure looked smaller and more delicate than I thought it should, but the Giant Forest was so quiet that I couldn’t imagine who else it could be.


Photo: The General Sherman Sequoia Tree – 275 feet tall, 100 feet around. Sequoia National Park from the foothills of central California’s Sierra Nevada. “To a human being, a 2,000-year-old sequoia seems immortal.”  (David Benjamin Sherry)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

climb-climbing-potential

Are you up to your given destiny?

That is the challenge of Hamlet’s troubled question. The ultimate nature of the experience of life is that toil and pleasure, sorrow and joy, are inseparably mixed in it. The very will to life that brought one to light, however, was a will to come even through pain into this world; else one never would have got here. And that is the notion underlying the oriental idea of reincarnation. Since you came to birth in this world at this time, in this place, and with this particular destiny, it was this indeed that you wanted and required for your own ultimate illumination. That was a great big wonderful thing that you thereupon brought to pass; not the “you”, of course, that you now suppose yourself to be, but the “you” that was already there before you were born and which even now is keeping your heart beating and your lungs breathing and doing for you all those complicated things inside that are your life. You are not now to lose your nerve! Go on through with it and play your own game all the way!“

~ Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By


Notes: Quote – Thank you Beth at Alive on all Channels. Photo: ‘just keep climbing’ at Shelf Road near Canon City, CO by zach dischner via Your Eyes Blaze Out

I might have been myself minus amazement

Transient Desert Sands - rob woodcut

I am who I am.
A coincidence no less unthinkable
than any other.

I could have different
ancestors, after all,
I could have fluttered
from another nest
or crawled bescaled
from under another tree.

Nature’s wardrobe
holds a fair supply of costumes:
spider, seagull, field mouse.
Each fits perfectly right off
and is dutifully worn
into shreds.

I didn’t get a choice either,
but I can’t complain.
I could have been someone
much less separate.
Someone from an anthill, shoal, or buzzing swarm,
an inch of landscape tousled by the wind.

Someone much less fortunate,
bred for my fur
or Christmas dinner,
something swimming under a square of glass.

A tree rooted to the ground
as the fire draws near.

A grass blade trampled by a stampede
of incomprehensible events.

A shady type whose darkness
dazzled some.

What if I’d prompted only fear,
loathing,
or pity?

If I’d been born
in the wrong tribe,
with all roads closed before me?

Fate has been kind
to me thus far.

I might never have been given
the memory of happy moments.

My yen for comparison
might have been taken away.

I might have been myself minus amazement,
that is,
someone completely different.

~ Wisława Szymborska, “Among The Multitudes“, Poems New and Collected 


Notes:

A good trade.

lotto-ticket-spain

In mid-November I flew to Madrid. […] In Cartagena we made a pit stop at a restaurant called Juanita. […] I was sitting at the bar, having lukewarm coffee and a bowl of marinated beans warmed in possibly the first microwave ever made, when I realized some guy had sidled up to me.

He opened a well-worn oxblood wallet to reveal a solitary lottery ticket with the number 46172. I didn’t get the feeling it was a winning number, but in the end I paid six euros for it, which was a lot for a lottery ticket. Then he sat down next to me, ordered a beer and a plate of cold meatballs, and paid for them with my euros. We ate together in silence. Then he got up, looked me straight in the face, and grinned, saying buena suerte. I smiled back and wished him luck as well.

It occurred to me that my ticket may be worthless, but I didn’t care. I was willingly drawn into the whole scene, like a random character in a B. Traven novel. Lucky or not, I went along with the part I was targeted to play: the pigeon who gets off a bus at a pit stop on the road to Cartagena, hit on to invest in a suspiciously limp lottery ticket. The way I look at it is that fate touches me and some rumpled straggler has a repast of meatballs and warm beer. He is happy, I feel at one with the world— a good trade.

~ Patti Smith, ‘Her Name was Sandy’ from the M Train

Notes:

avenoir


avenoir – n. the desire that memory could flow backward

We take it for granted that life moves forward. But you move as a rower moves, facing backwards—you can see where you’ve been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It’s hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way…


Source: John Koenig: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

It, did. It had me.

Christine-Comyn

“From the beginning I had a sense of destiny, as though my life was assigned to me by fate and had to be fulfilled. This gave me an inner security, and though I could never prove it to myself, it proved itself to me. did not have this certainty, it had me.”

C. G. Jung, from Memories, Dreams, Reflections

 


Notes:

duende

rain-raindrops-word-definition-hindi

fika-coffee-friends-swedish-word-definition [Read more…]

When you are required to exhibit strength, it comes

joseph-campbell

“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”


“Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer.  His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: “Follow your bliss.”  He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood he became interested in mythology. He loved to read books about American Indian cultures, and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was fascinated by the museum’s collection of totem poles. Campbell was educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in medieval literature, and continued his studies at universities in Paris and Munich. While abroad he was influenced by the art of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the novels of James Joyce and Thomas Mann, and the psychological studies of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. These encounters led to Campbell’s theory that all myths and epics are linked in the human psyche, and that they are cultural manifestations of the universal need to explain social, cosmological, and spiritual realities.”  (Sources: Wiki & Amazon)

Source: Journal of A Nobody.  Joseph Campbell portrait: TheStrengthsFoundation.org

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