Sunday Morning


The snarl of saws and feller bunchers, somewhere in the distance. A great truth comes over him: Trees fall with spectacular crashes. But planting is silent and growth is invisible.

Some days, dawn breaks in Arthurian mists. There are mornings when the chill threatens to kill him, noons when the heat knocks him on his semi-numbed butt. Afternoons so profligate with blue he lies on his back and stares upward until his eyes water. There come mocking and merciless rains. Rain the weight and color of lead. Shy rain, auditioning with stage fright. Rain that leaves his feet sprouting moss and lichen. There were huge, spiked skeins of interwoven wood here once. They will come again.

Sometimes he works alongside other tree slingers, some of whom speak no language he recognizes. He meets hikers who want to know where the forests of their youth have gone. The seasonal pineros come and go, and the hard cores, like him, keep on. Mostly, it’s him and the brute, blank, stripped-down rhythm of the work. Wedge, squat, insert, stand, and boot-tip seal.

They look so pitiful, his tiny Douglas-firs. Like pipe cleaners. Like props for a train set. From a distance, spread across these man-made meadows, they’re a crew cut on a balding man. But each weedy stem he puts into the dirt is a magic trick eons in the making. He rolls them out by the thousands, and he loves and trusts them as he would dearly love to trust his fellow men.

Left alone—and there’s the catch—left alone to the air and light and rain, each one might put on tens of thousands of pounds. Any one of his starts could grow for the next six hundred years and dwarf the largest factory chimney. It could play host to generations of voles that never go to ground and several dozen species of insects whose only desire is to strip their host bare. Could rain down ten million needles a year on its own lower branches, building up mats of soil that grow their own gardens high in the air.

Any one of these gangly seedlings could push out millions of cones over the course of its life, the small yellow males with their pollen that floats across entire states, the drooping females with their mouse tails sticking out from the coil of scales, a look he finds dearer than his own life. And the forest they might remake he can almost smell—resinous, fresh, thick with yearning, sap of a fruit that is no fruit, the scent of Christmases endlessly older than Christ.

Douglas Pavlicek works a clear-cut as big as downtown Eugene, saying goodbye to his plants as he tucks each one in. Hang on. Only ten or twenty decades. Child’s play, for you guys. You just have to outlast us.

~ Richard Powers, from “Douglas Pavlicek” in The Overstory: A Novel (April 3, 2018)


Photo: Biology.unm.edu

The most important decision of your life

happiness-psychology

He wants to write a book about “the most important decision of your life,” which he considers choosing to be happy every day. We are programmed to look for what’s wrong to fend off danger, he says, but instead we should decide that life is too short to live in a “suffering state.” He wants people to tell themselves, “I’m going to find a way to find creativity and gratitude or growth or joy in every moment.”

– Alexandra Wolfe, Tony Robbins Faces His Fears


Source: Ruby Wax Quote – Thank you Steve Layman.

Riding Metro-North S/N. With Crawford.

Amtrak Cascades train 509 races through Vader, WA.

Miracles.
The Show plays same time daily. Pre-dawn in a tight band around 4:30 am.
Zeke‘s bred to hunt birds. His Dad, to wake free of alarms.
I peek out from under the covers, and voila.
6 hours of intermittent shut-eye, and the florescent digits blaze 4:38 am.
The red spark plugs ignite the engine.
I calculate the odds of catching the 5:01 am.
22 minutes to shower, shave, dress, cover 1/4 mile and buy ticket.
Too tight. Next train: 5:40 am.

*  *   *

I make the 5:40.

I finish skimming the morning e-papers.

I move to Matthew Crawford’s new book: The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction.  After an engaging introduction, I catch myself jumping words, then sentences and whole paragraphs. I’m skipping a torrent of multi-syllabic words. I’m not understanding much of it — it’s washing over me like dirty runoff. I’m hoping something sticks. Nothing does. [Read more…]

Pure poison.

apple-watch

Mark Morford, Optimize your way to a miserable life!

…Do not misunderstand. Goals are great. Achievements can feel wonderful. Fitness trackers can motivate you to stay healthy and workout more. Lists, efficiency, hard work – all lovely and powerful and, done correctly and with an open heart, laughter and good bourbon, fine playthings indeed.

But when they rule your world? When you can’t feel anything, connect to fellow humans, love or cry or enjoy your goddamn drink for a second because you got too much to do, places to go, scores to settle, appointments to keep, apps to download? When they replace intention, touch, a deep and connected pause?

Pure poison. The Void simply cannot be filled from the outside. Which is not to say that new, all-steel Apple Watch isn’t sort of gorgeous. Why not play with it? Enjoy it? And then laugh at its adorable attempts to tell you about something about the meaning of walking?

Be sure to read Morford’s entire post here: Optimize your way to a miserable life!


Image: Apple Watch at Apple.com

Then — with a thunderous roar replied…

lightning-greece-corfu

The Gods called your name
and the seas turned dark;
the earth quaked with power.

You looked up at Olympus
screaming at the gates;
“What will I become?”

The Gods fell silent, then-
with a thunderous roar replied;
“Who are you now?”

— Achilles


Credits: Poem via Mirroir.  Photograph: Lightning Storm in Corfu, Greece. Thank you Cristi. (With Greek Mythology, you need to bring a fantastic photo from Greece!)

 

Find Your Beach

zadie-smith

Here’s English author Zadie Smith in The New York Review of Books with an essay titled Find Your Beach:

[…] Now the ad says: Find your beach. The bottle of beer—it’s an ad for beer—is very yellow and the background luxury-holiday-blue. It seems to me uniquely well placed, like a piece of commissioned public art in perfect sympathy with its urban site. The tone is pure Manhattan. Echoes can be found in the personal growth section of the bookstore (“Find your happy”), and in exercise classes (“Find your soul”), and in the therapist’s office (“Find your self”). I find it significant that there exists a more expansive, national version of this ad that runs in magazines, and on television.

This woman is genius and can write.  Don’t miss her full essay here: Find Your Beach


Notes: Find her award winning book on Amazon here: White TeethPortrait of Zadie Smith: oprah.com. Bio at Wiki here: Zadie Smith 

Five Stages of One’s Career

balloon-portrait-life

Then there are the stages of one’s career: an old joke invoked the five stages of Joseph Epstein (supply your own name here): 1. Who is Joseph Epstein? 2. This is a job, clearly, for Joseph Epstein. 3. We ought to get someone like Joseph Epstein for this job. 4. This job calls for a younger Joseph Epstein, and 5. Who is Joseph Epstein?

~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays


Credits: Photograph – Tugbaumit

 

God. No God. Bottom Line? Stupefaction.

watermelon

I have observed the power of the watermelon seed. It has the power of drawing from the ground and through itself 200,000 times its weight. When you can tell me how it takes this material and out of it colors an outside surface beyond the imitation of art, and then forms inside of it a white rind and within that again a red heart, thickly inlaid with black seeds, each one of which in turn is capable of drawing through itself 200,000 times its weight – when you can explain to me the mystery of a watermelon, you can ask me to explain the mystery of God.

William Jennings Bryan


Quote Source: Thank you Steve Layman. Image: Wallyes.com. Definition for Stupefaction.

Related Post: Love ya. All Seasons. All Forms. All meals.

 

Something inside seems to be waiting, holding its breath

Alice-Walker

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”

Autumn Lights

autumn lights


Love these. What are they?


Source: Elinka via German Photographer stefanie-d-b. Her bio with google translation: “i photograph. much. passionate. whatever I want, and how I want it. I show the things not as they are, but then, as I see it.


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