Monday Morning

You, Michael, always said that it was immoral to invest thousands of shekels in a bathroom. What does a bathroom need except running water, you’d say, adding another two-word phrase (in your verdicts, you also liked to use two-word phrases to express loathing): Outrageous waste. Pure ostentation. Revolting hedonism. After showering in Avner Ashdot’s computerized bathroom, I want to add to the list, if you will permit me, another two-word phrase: pure pleasure. Buttons that regulate heat, cold, and water pressure in such a way that you can adjust them exactly, not approximately, to what you want. A steam hood that keeps too much steam from accumulating. Shelves overflowing with the best toiletries, including bath oils and natural soaps. Scented candles. Buttons you press that change the color of the water by activating underwater colored lighting. Velvety soft towels. I know that you couldn’t care less about all of this. It’s clear to me that you consider these technical specifications irrelevant. But I really want you to understand, Michael, not only how much I enjoyed that shower—so much that I forgot I was supposed to step out of it at some point—but also why, for days after it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it with longing. Actually yearning for it.

~ Eshkol Nevo, Three Floors Up


Photo via Your Eyes Blaze Out

Miracle. All of it. (100 sec)


Notes:

  • NASAEarthObservatory. Published on Dec 19, 2017. NASA’s Operation IceBridge flew for the ninth year over Antarctica to map the ice. This video features photographs of land ice and sea ice, shot with a handheld camera and with the Digital Mapping System (DMS), during IceBridge flights in November 2017.
  • Post Inspiration: Aruni Nan Futuronsky: “I realize in this moment that there is no deprivation here in my life. This moment of my growth is one of inclusivity. I am old enough now to give myself full permission to integrate it all. To savor, to pick and choose, to put it all together. Not without feelings, not without disappointment and grieving, not without hope and possibility yet it is all sacred. It is all inevitable. All these streams of influence, all these rivers of practices and feelings and perspectives. I get them all. I get to turn; I get to change. I get to continue to choose what touches me and what grows me, continually building on the platform of who I am.” (Thank you makebelieveboutique.com)

Tuesday Morning

Rain to come – the sky lies gray-silver behind
soft clouds of a darker gray.  The trees are quiet,
their colors dark and heavy.  So one enters the morning
softly as if taking off one’s hat in church.  Now comes
the cathedral of rain, – gothic, tall, severe – intense.
We worship the god of inwardness.

Nils Peterson, “Rain to Come” in A Walk to the Center of Things


Notes: Poem: via 3quarksdaily.com. Photo by Susan Kanigan, Long Island Sound (January 2018)

Miracle. All of it.

Behind me the sun settles
into the sea but I’m facing
a fire flickering in a great stone
hearth not big enough to roast
an ox, but big enough.
It’s taken the universe fifteen
billion years to get me here
and I find I’m grateful.

Nils Peterson, “Christmas Eve By the Sea” in A Walk to the Center of Things


Notes:

It all began with her

Bob Greene, excerpts from I Actually Thanked A TeacherNow 88, she gave me a refresher in the lesson I’d learned in first grade: how to read the word ‘look.’ (wsj.com, April 12, 2017):

…My first-grade teacher was named Patricia Ruoff…I still recall the day she helped me learn the first word I could ever read…and she showed me what the shape of the four letters on the first page meant, and what they sounded like. That one word: “Look.”

I went home so thrilled that day. I knew how to read a word. “Look.” When the day had begun I hadn’t known it, and now I did. Such a magical feeling, accompanied by the sure knowledge that other words would soon follow. […]

it became important to me to find that teacher. It took some doing—it turns out she has been twice widowed, and thus has had two different last names since back then—but I reached a woman on the telephone who I thought might be her.

“I’m sorry if I have the wrong number,” I said. “But I’m looking for a Patricia Ruoff, who once was a schoolteacher.”

“Yes,” the voice said. “You have the right person.”

“You taught me to read,” I said.

I told her my name.

“Oh, Bobby,” she said. […] [Read more…]

Walking Cross-Town. Teetering on myself.

head-cold-mist-jpg

Day 0: Friday morning, not yesterday, a week ago. Flying down I-95, light traffic. I’m lip syncing America’s Ventura Highway: “Chewing on a piece of grass…Walking down the road…Cause the free wind is blowin’ through your hair.” I flick through the day’s calendar as I pull into the parking garage. Light. Nice ramp into the weekend. What Bliss is This?

By day’s end, Bliss is way amiss. Whether from a hand shake, or splashed in the air from a cough or a sneeze, or from an infected keyboard at a guest office, the virus is planted in the eye, it spreads to the tear duct and then to the nose – and we jackknife from Bliss to → Far-From-Bliss-Miserable-Son-of-A-Bitch.

Patience, a short string on sunny days, is a gator snapping. Sick man, with head cold, brooding.

The nasal secretion flows uninterrupted.  I roll the smooth, orange-crush colored LiquiCaps in the palm of my hand. Marbles! Days are measured by DayQuil feedings, ingested at 4 hour intervals and then relieved at bedtime by NyQuil. The Vick’s team is on the field 24 x 7.

I’m squinting at the DayQuil packaging. Multi-Symptom Relief. I flip it over, and the font shrinks to something less than 5 point. What a**hole at Vick’s thinks I can read this sh*t? A commercial conspiracy I’m sure, to disguise dosage levels to keep juicing. [Read more…]

Walking. Walking it down the cheek.

tear-cheek

1:32 am.

Halldór’s nightlessness and insomnia in all directions.

A new routine, and I’ve grooved it. To bed early, wake early, read to exhaustion, and back to sleep until sunrise.

I flick on the iPad, illuminating the dark. I get after it. The Journal. The Times. Apple News. Blog posts. RSS feeds in Feedly. A few late night incoming emails. And then to dessert, a chapter or two on Kindle, half-way through Lebedev’s Oblivion.  It’s 3:15 am, I’m turning pages on a title called Oblivion, now that’s something. You must sleep, or you will pay dearly.

I set the e-gear down, turn on the left side, and pull up the covers. Fragments of news, pages, posts, emails and today’s full day calendar are flitting by, churning, the mind workin’, workin’. Anxiety…A piece rises to the top. Begley: “A compulsion is at once psychological balm and curse, surface madness and profound relief…The ability of compulsive behaviors to quiet anxieties great and small is one of the greatest gifts our brains can give us.”

I pause, close my eyes, and marinate in this…if this is the greatest gift our brains can give us, I am fully gifted, fully loaded. FULL UP.

And, then, it stopped. The churning stopped. [Read more…]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

eric-rose-light-face-portrait

An early riser, an optimist by nature, a lover of mornings, I’m always eager to launch myself into the day. And it doesn’t take much to make me happy: A cup of strong coffee laced with cream or a handful of frozen blueberries from my summer-stash in the freezer, a silly joke shared with my husband, a good-morning text from a far-away friend, the hairy woodpecker hanging upside-down at the feeder, busily extracting his morning ration of sunflower seeds, a sky fluid with traveling clouds executing their own sublime choreography, or a soft grey mantle of mist draped across the nearby hills. Looking around at the life I’m privileged to live, I see much to be grateful for.

~ Katrina Kenison, from Mending the World (Jan 20, 2017)

 


Notes:

 

Every morning, even before I open my eyes

simone-de-beauvoir

Every morning, even before I open my eyes, I know I am in my bedroom and my bed. But if I go to sleep after lunch in the room where I work, sometimes I wake up with a feeling of childish amazement — why am I myself? What astonishes me, just as it astonishes a child when he becomes aware of his own identity, is the fact of finding myself here, and at this moment, deep in this life and not in any other. What stroke of chance has brought this about? What astonishes me, just as it astonishes a child when he becomes aware of his own identity, is the fact of finding myself here, and at this moment, deep in this life and not in any other.

~ Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986) in her autobiography, All Said and Done 

 


Source: Brainpickings – Simone de Beauvoir on the Constellation of Chance and Choice That Makes Us Who We Are

 

To see the full miraculous essentiality of the color blue is to be grateful with no necessity for a word of thanks

blue-sky-palm-trees-clouds

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously, part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape.

To see the full miraculous essentiality of the color blue is to be grateful with no necessity for a word of thanks. To see fully, the beauty of a daughter’s face across the table, of a son’s outline against the mountains, is to be fully grateful without having to seek a God to thank him. To sit among friends and strangers, hearing many voices, strange opinions; to intuit even stranger inner lives beneath calm surface lives, to inhabit many worlds at once in this world, to be a someone amongst all other someones, and therefore to make a conversation without saying a word, is to deepen our sense of presence and therefore our natural sense of thankfulness that everything happens both with us and without us, that we are participants and witness all at once.

Thankfulness finds its full measure in generosity of presence, both through participation and witness. We sit at the table as part of every other person’s strange world while making our own world without will or effort, this is what is extraordinary and gifted, this is the essence of gratefulness, seeing to the heart of privilege.

Thanksgiving happens when our sense of presence meets and fully beholds all other presences. Being unappreciative, feeling distant, might mean we are simply not paying attention.

~ David Whyte, from “Gratitude” in Consolation: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

 


Notes: Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on all Channels. Photo: Ethnoscape via Blue in My World

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