Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Clara was always so gentle with me, soft knocks on my bedroom door, a hand just barely on my back as we walked, her voice always low with me, like speaking to someone ill who had just woken up. She once came to my room with a sack of clementines and asked me if I would like one. I didn’t know what a clementine was but I said yes. I always said yes. We sat in the living room and she showed me how to puncture the skin, tear back the peel, divide the sections out like a strange bloom. I ate one after another just so I could peel them again and again. (Did anyone else notice how citrus skin released a wet blast of oil with each pull?)…I kept my mouth full of citrus, rubbed the oil from the peels against my palms and wrists, and still every time I see a clementine I think of this moment, think of Clara.

~ Catherine Lacey, from “The Answers: A Novel


Photo: Haikudeck

Sunday Morning

I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance.  A condition I can’t really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep.  Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why.  And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t.  That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?

~Mary Oliver, “I Happened to Be Standing” from A Thousand Mornings 


Notes: Poem Source: Thank you Make Believe Boutique. Photo: Seb Rogo

Lightly Child, Lightly.


and maybe a good day
is standing outside your window,

quietly tapping
until you are alert enough
to hear its sound
and draw the curtains.

let light in.

Noor Shirazie, into the wildfire: battle scars


Notes:

  • Photo by Ibai Acevedo titled A la vuelta de la esquina
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • 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.”

Veteran’s Day: asking ourselves what it must have been like to live through…

The same thing happens whenever we attempt, incredulously, to peer into the past, asking ourselves what it must have been like to live through World War Two, the Holocaust, or during Stalin’s purges, the years of the greatest terror, and it seems impossible, inconceivable, to survive even an hour in such a nightmare—but for those who weren’t that day’s direct victims of persecution, there was always more reality, always some kind of weather, they were either hungry or well fed, a dog was barking somewhere, a plane flew overhead, Mother was making pierogi in the kitchen, you had to think about buying winter boots, making the soup … They went for walks in the park, they forgot for a moment. They were in love, happily or otherwise, they read Madame Bovary or some other nineteenth-century novel, the radio played a Schubert sonata. Anyone who spent his or her childhood in Stalin’s Poland will remember the scent of the first spring pussy willows and the stammering priest who taught catechism in a cramped parish hall smelling of floor polish better than the gigantic portraits of leaders floating awkwardly, flapping over the May Day Parade. Even the fear that paralyzed so many in its time evaporates as the years pass, becomes difficult to imagine. Especially fear, fear, which is like a migraine—it disappears and leaves no trace. Although it may leave scars upon the soul.


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: In honor of all who served.
  • Photo: Daily Mail – “My hero big brother: Heart-wrenching moment a soldier’s grieving sister collapses in front of his grave at Arlington Cemetery”
  • Related Posts: Adam Zagajewski

Lightly child, lightly.

For the flight of a single butterfly
the entire sky is needed.

~ Paul Claudel,  1868 – 1955, French poet and dramatist.


Notes:

  • Photo Source: My Modern Met. France-based street artist Mantra transforms multi-story buildings into gigantic butterfly specimen cases in a series of clever, trick-of-the-eye 3D murals. The enormous, hyper-realistic butterflies appear to be set within wooden-framed boxes, recessed into the side of each building. Long shadows and subtle details, which suggest a transparent glass surface, create a convincing level of depth that helps to enforce the head-turning optical illusions.
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • 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.”

Sunday Morning

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

Pat Schneider, The Patience of Ordinary Things, “Another River: New and Selected Poems


Notes: Poem – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: Colorinstantfilm

Flying over I-40 N. With Cotton.

  • 2:38 a.m.  Alarm set for 3:30, Body set to go, Now.
  • 2:40 a.m.  Check Sleep App: 4 hr. 30 min. Could be worse.
  • 3:50 a.m.  “Good morning Mr. Kanigan. You’re off early.” No sh*t.
  • 4:00 a.m.  No car. Check calendar. I’m 30 minutes early. Wow. Nicely done.
  • 4:15 a.m.  I Shazam R&B tune coming thru hotel pipes. Leela James. Swept away.
  • 4:50 a.m.  DFW airport doors open. Insomniacs, airport workers and DK stream in.
  • 5:50 a.m.  Walk concourses. (Yes, Plural.) Fitbit Counter: 4,033.
  • 6:05 a.m.  Board AA# 1150 to NY LGA.
  • 6:25 a.m.  “We’ll be cruising at 31,000 ft.  Flight time: 3 hours. Expect a smooth flight.”
  • 6:37 a.m.  Eye lids heavy. Leela on loop crooning thru the earbuds.
  • 6:40 a.m.  Drifting to Bradbury‘s “country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist.”

I’m flicking thru Netflix and spot him. Ray Liotta (Fields of Dreams / Goodfellas) in a 2016 movie titled Sticky Notes.  Papa Bear writes this on a Sticky Note to his daughter:

Whoever feels it deepest wins.”

I look out the window, and here we are…31,000 ft up and floating on fluffy, mountainous sized cotton balls.

Cotton balls. White. Cotton. Balls.

  • New cotton briefs. Stretch fabric. Contoured to snuggle it/them
  • New, cotton socks. Toes wiggle, happy.
  • Soft cotton twill Chinos, hugging the legs and thighs.
  • A velvety cotton, v-neck t-shirt wraps the chest and back.
  • A cotton button down shirt, hundreds of stitches, fitting just so…smooth.

“Whoever feels it deepest wins.”

Feels it deepest.

Wins.


Notes: Image: Perception is reality, Andrey Kasay

Dawn

Every morning all year round I can see the sunrise. It’s a sight that is hard to get used to. Not that it is surprising, for of course I know that the sun rises every morning, and that its light makes the darkness yield, but rather because it happens in so many different ways, and perhaps most importantly that it feels so fundamentally good. The feeling is a little like taking a hot bath when one is feeling chilly, satisfaction that the body is somehow restored to its basic state. When the basic state has been re-established, the satisfaction disappears, we rarely think about the fact that our body temperature is perfectly regulated. The same is the case with the sunrise. It isn’t the light in itself that feels good, for once it’s here, say, at around 2.30 in the afternoon, we take it for granted. What matters is the actual transition. Not the light from the immobile sun, which shoots across the horizon as the earth’s sphere turns towards it, but the faint glow cast by this light in the minutes before, visible as a pale streak in the darkness of night, so faint it almost doesn’t seem to be light at all, merely a kind of enfeebling of the darkness. How this infinitely subtle, dim, grey-marbled gleam slowly spreads out and imperceptibly enters the garden around me, where the trees and the walls of the houses just as slowly emerge. If the sky is clear, it turns blue in the east, and then the first beams of sunlight shoot forth, bright orange. At first it is as if they are just showing off and don’t have any other attributes than this colour, but the next moment, when the rays plummet in vast chutes across the landscape, they show their true qualities, filling the landscape with colours and brightness. If the sky isn’t clear but overcast, all this happens as if by stealth: the trees and the house emerge from the darkness, which vanishes, and the landscape fills with colour and brightness but without the source of this transformation being visible as anything more than an area of greater luminosity in the sky, sometimes round, if the cloud cover is thin, sometimes indeterminate, when it seems as if the clouds themselves are shining. Through this phenomenon, which occurs every single day of our lives, we also understand ourselves…light represents life and goodness, these two transitional zones between night and day become manifestations of the great existential drama we are caught up in, which is something I rarely think about as I stand in the garden gazing towards the growing light in the east, but which must still resonate in me somehow, since watching it feels so good…Light and life are anomalies, the dawn is their continual affirmation.

~ Karl Ove Knausgaard,, excerpt from “Dawn” in Chapter titled “November” from “Autumn


Notes:

  • Photo: Dawn by Tim Messer (Dawn. Shot while listening to Black Grouse, bubbling in the hills above Callander, Stirlingshire in Scotland)
  • Related Posts: Karl Ove Knausgaard

Lightly child, lightly.

Isn’t it wonderful to be alive?

You know, you can forget all about it.

Then suddenly you remember, and think of all the things you can do. Here I am. I can walk around. I can talk. I can see things and remember things.

I am alive.

How wonderful.

~ Sophia Loren


Notes:

  • Photo Source: Oscar.org
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • 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.”

Oh, if I could be more like a tree on this Sunday morning

See how the trees
Reach up and outward
As if their entire existence
Were an elegant gesture of prayer.
See how they welcome the breath of spirit,
In all its visible and invisible forms.
See how the roots reach downward and out,
Embracing the physical,
The body and bones
Of its soul of earth and stone,
Allowing half its life to be sheltered
in the most quiet and secret places.

Oh, if I could be more like a tree on this Sunday morning,
To feel the breath of invisible spirit
Touch me as tenderly as a kiss on the forehead.
If I could courageously and confidently
Dig down into the dark
Where the ground water runs deep,
Where shelter and sanctuary
Can be had and held.

Ah, to be like a tree
With all its bent and unbent places,
A whole and holy thing
From its topmost twigs
To the deepest taproot
To all the good and graceful
Spaces between.

~ Carrie Newcomer, “To Be Like A Tree” from The Beautiful Not Yet: Poems, Essays and Lyrics


Notes:

 

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