Miracle. All of it.

The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale. It weighs more than seven tons. It’s as big as a room. It is a room, with four chambers. A child could walk around it, head high, bending only to step through the valves. The valves are as big as the swinging doors in a saloon. This house of a heart drives a creature a hundred feet long. When this creature is born it is twenty feet long and weighs four tons. It is waaaaay bigger than your car. It drinks a hundred gallons of milk from its mama every day and gains two hundred pounds a day, and when it is seven or eight years old it endures an unimaginable puberty and then it essentially disappears from human ken, for next to nothing is known of the the mating habits, travel patterns, diet, social life, language, social structure, diseases, spirituality, wars, stories, despairs and arts of the blue whale. There are perhaps ten thousand blue whales in the world, living in every ocean on earth, and of the largest animal who ever lived we know nearly nothing. But we know this: the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs, and their penetrating moaning cries, their piercing yearning tongue, can be heard underwater for miles and miles.

Brian Doyle, from “Joyas Voladoras


Notes:

  • Photo: Frank Brennan with “Blue whale nursing its calf just off Dana Point” via Orange County Register
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

 

Sunday Morning

So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one in the end—not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.

~ Brian Doyle, from “Joyas Voladoras


Photo via Your Eyes Blaze Out

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Turning to the head of his bed, he noticed a single camellia blossom that had fallen to the floor. He was certain he had heard it drop during the night; the sound had resounded in his ears like a rubber ball bounced off the ceiling. Although he thought this might be explained by the silence of the night, just to make sure that all was well with him, he had placed his right hand over his heart. Then, feeling the blood pulsating correctly at the edge of his ribs, he had fallen asleep. For some time, he gazed vacantly at the color of the large blossom, which was nearly as large as a baby’s head. Then, as if he had just thought of it, he put his hand to his heart and once again began to study its beat. It had become a habit with him lately to listen to his heart’s pulsation while lying in bed. As usual, the palpitation was calm and steady. With his hand still on his chest, he tried to imagine the warm, crimson blood flowing leisurely to this beat. This was life, he thought. Now, at this very moment, he held in his grasp the current of life as it flowed by.

~ Natsume Sōseki, “And Then” (1909)


Photo (edited): commorancy with Pink Camellia, Hakone Japanese Gardens

Saturday Morning


Bernard Toustrate wrote in the Forum Catholique, summarizing one degree of Sister Marie-Aimée’s “twelve degrees of silence” [Les Douze degrés du silence]: “If the tongue is mute, if the senses are calm, if the imagination, memory and creatures keep quiet and form a solitude, if not throughout the soul, then at least in the innermost part of it, then the heart will make only a few noises. Silence of one’s likes and dislikes, silence of desires insofar as they are too intense, silence of zeal insofar as it is indiscreet; silence of fervor insofar as it is exaggerated; silence to the point of sighing.

~ Cardinal Robert Sarah, excerpts from “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise” (April, 2017).


Photo: Verwunschlicht

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

For all matters having to do with that four chambered, fist-shaped muscle we carry – that carries us – with constancy. That beats – did you know? – more than one hundred thousand times a day. Imagine that. Even when we’re pressing snooze and rolling over in bed, folding ourselves into our covers and postponing the day’s bubbling over, and soon after notching cold butter on warm toast, or later coming to a halt as we bound up a flight of subway stairs only to stall behind an elderly woman whose left leg trails behind her right leg – one leaden step at a time – even then, when time decelerates and the relative importance of our lives, of our hurry, undergoes a sudden audit, even then, our heart never stops…My heart continues as ever, pulsing towards its daily quota. More than one hundred thousand times a day. Eighty beats per minute.

~ Durga Chew-Bose, from “Heart Museum” in Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays


Photo: Durga Chew-Bose @ Twitter

Monday Morning Wake-up Call

drums

I hear a sound, reverberating, like a drum with poor memory.
A thing that the wind thumps again and again
against some other object the earth is holding tight…
The sound of a slow heart heard through a stethoscope.

— Tomas Tranströmer, from “Start of a Late Autumn Novel,” The Half-Finished Heaven


Notes: Poem Source – Hidden Sanctuary. Photo – Precious Things

the experience altered him

bird-in-hand

The musician became a bird lover at the aviary. He tells a story of holding a dying finch one day and feeling overwhelmed by its tiny heartbeat. He had never studied a bird so closely before, never observed its delicate and immaculate plumage, and the experience altered him.

~ Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation 

 


Notes:

A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart.

la-et-ms-keith-richards-announces-first-solo-album-in-more-than-20-years-20150709

In a way you want to stretch yourself into other people’s hearts. You want to plant yourself there, or at least get a resonance, where other people become a bigger instrument than the one you’re playing. It becomes almost an obsession to touch other people.

To write a song that is remembered and taken to heart is a connection, a touching of bases. A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart. Sometimes I think songwriting is about tightening the heartstrings as much as possible without bringing on a heart attack.

And you listen to some of that meticulous Mozart stuff and Vivaldi and you realize that they knew that too. They knew when to leave one note just hanging up there where it illegally belongs and let it dangle in the wind and turn a dead body into a living beauty.

~ Keith Richards, Life


Notes:

 

Lightly child, lightly.

blue

Not often,
but now and again there’s a moment
when the heart cries aloud:
yes, I am willing to be
that wild darkness,
that long, blue body of light.

— Mary Oliver, from “Whelks,” New and Selected Poems: Vol. 1.


Notes:

  • Poem: The Vale of Soulmaking.
  • Photograph: Ahsan Uzzaman with Blue (Taupo, Waikato, New Zealand)
  • 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.”

 

 

Saturday Morning

green-tea

And the heart, unscrolled,
is comforted by such small things:
a cup of green tea rescues us, grows deep and large, a lake.”

—Jane Hirschfield, from “Recalling a Sung Dynasty Landscape” in Of Gravity and Angels 

 


Notes: Poem – thank you Beth at Alive on All Channels. Photo: Green tea with mint by Kookoo sabzi.

 

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