Lightly Child, Lightly.

1 a.m.: Lie here then. Just lie here. What of it? It’s just lying here. Think of good things… Try to calm the banging heart.

 


Notes:

  • Photo: Katia Chausheva (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) with Ariel amoureuse (via Mennyfox55)
  • 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.

So rests the sky against the earth. The dark still tarn in the lap of the forest. As a husband embraces his wife’s body in faithful tenderness, so the bare ground and trees are embraced by the still, high, light of the morning. I feel an ache of longing to share in this embrace, to be united and absorbed. A longing like carnal desire, but directed towards earth, water, sky, and returned by the whispers of the trees, the fragrance of the soil, the caresses of the wind, the embrace of water and light. Content? No, no, no–but refreshed, rested–while waiting.

— Dag Hammarskjöld, “Markings” (Alfred A. Knopf, 1964)


Notes:

  • Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels
  • Photo: DK’s Daybreak. 5:19 am. July 1, 2020. 65° F. Humidity 100%. Wind: 3 mph. Gusts: 4 mph. Cloud Cover: 66%. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT
  • 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.”

 

 

Walking. In White.

3:35 a.m. Restless. Lousy night’s sleep. (Again.) Co-pilot is fast asleep next to me. She dreams of bunny rabbits and puppies. I’m being chased by failure and mortality. Any wonder why you don’t sleep?

Yesterday morning: “Are you getting tired of the same walk?” Translated, she’s getting tired of flipping through the same shots, the same landscapes, morning after morning. “No,” was my monosyllabic response, short, curt, clipped, after 3x years of marriage (I didn’t want to do the math), there was no need for more words.

4:28 a.m. Gear check. Backpack. Camera. Battery. Memory Card. iPhone. Earbuds. Audible Book re: Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking.  I adhere the strap to my right wrist, synch it up, and clip it to camera, listening for the satisfying snap. Secure.

4:33 a.m. I’m out the door.

Day 5x something, just shy of two months. Not a single day missed.  Same route. Near the same time. A five mile walk.  Walmsley to Linden to Hollow Tree Ridge Road to Hillside to Anthony to Brookside to Post to Weed Avenue to Cove Island Park. And back again.

Scene 1.  I’m 1/4 mile out on Hollow Tree Ridge Road and a patrol car stops one street up. Rare to see any traffic this time of the morning. He pauses under the street lamp, looking in my direction. He sees: Man, 6′ 1″, black long sleeved shirt. Black pants. Carrying something black in his right hand. Backpack on his back. Walking briskly. [Read more…]

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Do you want to see the most beautiful thing I’ve ever filmed? It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing, and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was just, dancing with me, like a little kid beggin’ me to play with it – for fifteen minutes. And that’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember – I need to remember. Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world – I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart is just going to cave in.

— Wes Bentley [Ricky Fitts] American Beauty (1999) Written by Alan Ball. Directed by Sam Mendes.


Notes:

  • Quote via Vale of Soul Making.
  • 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.”

Walking. With On Golden Pond.

3:30 am: Up. Six hours of sleep, easily two short. Two shots of Tylenol PM won’t keep this guy down. I think about amping up the dosage to three, soft baby blue, colored pills —  bad idea Doctor, bad idea.

3:35 am: Skim morning papers. RSS reader feeds. Blog Posts. Emails. Texts. Read a passage from Joyce Maynard’s At Home in the World where J.D. Salinger tells her: “Some day, Joyce…there will be a story you want to tell for no better reason than because it matters to you more than any other…You’ll stop looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re keeping everybody happy, and you’ll simply write what’s real and true. Honest writing always makes people nervous, and they’ll think of all kinds of ways to make your life hell. One day a long time from now you’ll cease to care anymore whom you please or what anybody has to say about you. That’s when you’ll finally produce the work you’re capable of.” Hmmm. Not ready for ‘real and true.’ And ‘honesty’ makes me nervous. But Salinger does offer sound reasoning for the mediocrity that spills out onto this page. There’ll be time enough to chase the written word that I’m capable of.

4:25 am: Strip, including Apple Watch. Ounces make massive differences. I step on the digital scale, and inhale. The figures race upward, like slots in Vegas, having similar odds.  It stops hard on the Score. I exhale.  Wow, good result. Space for large breakfast.

4:35 am: Check temperature. 60° F. Put on long sleeve shirt. 60° F and I need long sleeve shirt. For some reason this triggers a scene from “On Golden Pond” where Katherine Hepburn shouts: “Don’t be such an old poop Norman.”

4:40 am. 38 consecutive daybreaks in a row. On same walk. same location. same loop. I know precisely what time to leave the house to walk the mile to Long Island Sound and arrive ten minutes before Sunrise. I make a point to google WebMD when I get home to diagnose my form of OCD. I pack my camera bag, take 3 large gulps of water, and head out the door.

5:10 am. I’m on shoulder of Weed Avenue. The geese, 50 or so, float ever-so-still, catching their last bit of shut eye before the day starts.  There are two swans, with their heads tucked under their wings. Must be cozy in there. And mallards interspersed among the others in the sleepover.

There’s no traffic. Long Island Sound is quiet. The World gives Sun its moment of silence.

5:25 am. Here comes the Sun. The World stands still to watch the spectacle. I snap a few shots, put the camera down. And watch, the Sun, in all its glory, with gold and orange hues.

A loon, with its long, curved neck, breaks the silence with its call.

And this triggers another line from “On Golden Pond“. “Come here, Norman. Hurry up. The loons! The loons! They’re welcoming us back.”

Yes, they welcome me back. Thankfully. Again.

Each breath, a Gift.


Daybreak. 5:25 am. June 13, 2020. 60° F. Wind: 9 mph. Gusts: 22 mph. Cloud Cover: 3%. Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.

Sunday Morning

My cousin’s last day was spent out on his bike, a seventy-mile ride on a Saturday morning. He did the ride alone, and nobody had any contact with him after that. At some time in the next twenty-four hours he died, and his body was found by the police on Monday morning when his employer called them, worried because he hadn’t turned up for work. He always turned up for work.

I would wish for my last day to involve an act of freedom–a walk by the ocean, a long bike ride, something I love. I hope that the walk and the bike ride were suffused with joy, with pleasure, for my stepdad and my cousin. Neither knew it was their last time to do that thing. If they’d known, would they have enjoyed it more or less? Eventually, everything has to be done for the final time. There must be many things that, without our realising it, already fall into that category for all of us.

Final acts acquire holiness. My stepdad’s walk that day has. When we go to Ireland we almost always take the same route. We look out on the sea because it’s the last sea he saw. We write his name in the sand. We reflect, each of us inwardly, that one day we will never see this place again either. It’s a dull shock.

If finality makes something holy then every moment is holy, because every moment could be the last. That’s a thought we spend too cheaply. Live each day as if it’s your last, we think, and then we don’t. Everything is holy. It’s only when we die that the holiness is called up. But it was always holy, all along.

Samantha Harvey, The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping (Grove Press; May 12, 2020)


Photo: Mine. 5:23 a.m. A Holy Moment, on Sunday, a Holy Day. Cove Island Park Stamford, CT.

Running. With Incongruity.

Friday. Early afternoon. A crack between conference calls.

I run.

I’m up a whopping seven pounds since being sheltered in place. There are no barriers to entry, to the Fridge, to the pantry, to the potato chips. Or the counter tops, which on alternative days are lined with Susan’s Chocolate chip cookies, Zucchini loaves and Banana Bread.

I flip her an article: “Forget the Sourdough. Everybody’s Baking Banana Bread” and highlight the punch line:

Nervous about venturing into markets, many people are making do with ingredients at hand, including the moldering bananas. In the past month, banana bread beat out pancakes, brownies and pizza dough as the No. 1 searched-for recipe in the U.S. and world-wide, according to Google. The humble loaves are taking a star turn on Instagram and Twitter…. “The isolation stages of grief,” another said, are “denial, anger, banana bread.”

But I feel little of this. No grief. No denial. Little isolation. OK, maybe anger, ever-present, on slow boil.

And yet again, I’m out of step with the Pack, feeling none of the isolation, feeling none of the mid-winter-like cabin fever others are swamped in. [Read more…]

Spring

And the scent of mock orange
drifts through the window.

How can I rest?
How can I be content
when there is still
that odor in the world?

Louise Glück, from “Mock Orange” in The Triumph of Achilles 


Notes:

Good Morning

And on this uneventful morning, the soft rain makes the oak outside my window dip enough for the early light to stream across the braided mountain hanging on my wall. Now the thread on the border swells with the sun and seems for the moment the source of all strength. Then the sun steps higher in the sky, and the thread that holds all things together goes back to work.

~ Mark Nepo, from “The Golden Thread” (Patheos.com, April, 13, 2020)


Photo: Rain Drops by DEmiJAN Me

Sunday Morning

“Mansfield’s last note, from an unfinished story, ends with an observation that only the dying Mansfield would make: “It was an exquisite day. It was one of those days so clear, so still, so silent you almost feel the earth itself has stopped in astonishment at its own beauty.”

~ Yiyun Li, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life


Photo: “Clear Day” by Zoo Human

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