Nyepi, A day of silence


Nyepi, A Day of Silence by Olafur Arnalds

 

Truth

In “How Steam and Chips Remade the World” (op-ed, Oct. 19), John Steele Gordon remarks that “a man from half a century ago would surely regard the . . . smartphone as magic.” As one of those men, who keeps his phone more off than on, I disagree. Driving cross country as a 19-year-old in a beat-up car with only $50 cash and a gas-station map, without interstates, was a magical experience. Magic today would be a young person doing the same, or finding a parent who would let them.

~ Stephen Borkowski (Pittsburg, Texas). In letters to the Editor. (wsj.com, October 24, 2019)


Photo: Ansel Adams, Desert Road, NV 1960 (via Newthom)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call


A Common Grackle.  Photo by Ostdrossel from Michigan. A site I look forward to visiting each morning.  She has “an action camera made by Gitup which she puts in a DIY box with a macro lens” and she gets such amazing close-ups of birds. You must visit.

Go ahead — you first

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes…
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”

Danusha Laméris, from “Small Kindnesses” (NY Times Magazine, September 19, 2019)


Photo: agent j loves nyc with Crowded Car

Saturday Morning

I was struggling… overwhelmed with the world, and I had this feeling that I just wanted things to stop for a while so that I could catch up.  And I told my mom at one point that I was going to…spend a few weeks where people wouldn’t expect me to do anything other than just stare out the window…And she said, “You need to go to the wilderness.”

~ Terry Tempest Williams, Erosion: Essays of Undoing (October 8, 2019)


Photo: Luksefjell (Norway) by allanaasland (via Poppins-me)

I hear nothing, only feel a slight breeze.

An owl’s feathers are silent in flight because individual barbs zipper shut so no air can rush through like the sound of desert wind. Each time I find a feather, I brush its webbing like velvet against my cheek. Sometimes, I close my eyes and fan the air by my ear. I hear nothing, only feel a slight breeze.

~ Terry Tempest Williams, Erosion: Essays of Undoing (October 8, 2019)


Photo: Burrowing Owl by Kevin Juberg (via Voice of Nature)

Walking Cross Town. Small gestures with big tailwinds.

Late to bed Tuesday night, following long return flight from Phoenix.

Late jump Wednesday morning.

4th morning train to NYC.

Light misty rain.

And, Terry Tempest Williams continues to lay tracks.

In the end, it’s rarely the large gestures that count, it’s the small ones.

My antenna is up.

On train, a middle aged man gives up his seat for a lady. She’s not young. Not old. Not pregnant. He just does it. And stands for the entire 55 minute ride.

At Grand Central Station, Construction worker, hard hat under his arm, looks behind as he crosses the threshold of the exit, sees me coming, holds door open. I was several yards back. Let’s say 10 yards back. Rare occurrence. It was a conscious act.  Everyone is exhausted with political attacks, the lack of civility. How about some decency today?

And the gestures, small, keep coming.

Flight to Phoenix. Elderly lady sits in aisle seat. Not her seat. “Would you mind taking the window seat.” She gestures asking him to lean closer: “I have a bladder problem.” He slides across and takes the window seat. “No problem.” She exhales.

Susan out for a morning walk in Phoenix. She returns to tell me “the most unbelievable story.” I roll my eyes. Can’t wait to hear this.  She comes across a lady walking “Sunny”, a Golden Doodle.  Lady asks where we’re from. Susan explains. “Here to visit my husband’s younger brother. He’s hospitalized and breathing with the aid of a ventilator.” Lady pauses to assess the receptiveness of her planned gesture.  “I’m sorry to be so forward, but would you mind if I said a Prayer for him and for you.” And then proceeds to reach for Susan’s hands, and Prays.

I walk across Fifth Avenue. It’s 7 a.m. E.S.T. and 4 a.m. in Phoenix.

He’s sleeping now, machine pumps oxygen into his lungs.

I stand waiting for the cross walk sign to turn.

I look up, light drizzle brushes my face, three flags flap over a major hotel entrance.

I inhale deeply, and then exhale, and this Agnostic fires up his own Prayer.

Breathe Bro. Breathe.


Photo: Mine with smartphone. At Times Square yesterday morning, at the end of my cross-town walk. NYC awakening.

 

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (Or Winding It Up)


Photo of White Wagtail via Head Like An Orange. The White Wagtail is the national bird of Latvia.

De Niro + Pacino + Joe Pesci = Must See TV

We get together and talk, compare notes,” De Niro explained. “Not quite miss each other. We might miss each other.”

Perhaps most surprising of all is that at a moment when they could easily rest on their laurels — and have sometimes been accused of doing just that — Pacino, 79, and De Niro, 76, continue to care immensely about their craft…

But the actors found it a delicate task to explain why this facet of the film appealed to them and for obvious reasons: Who wants to admit that he is nearer to the end of things than to the beginning? As Mann put it, “Does one walk around thinking, oh, I’m an elder statesman now? Or do you still secretly think, who am I going to be when I grow up?”

With some hesitation, De Niro said that he and Pacino had to reckon with the existential questions that “The Irishman” raises.

“We’re at a point where we’re getting closer to seeing” — he made an oscillating, over-the-hill hand gesture as he sought the right words — “I don’t want to say the end, but the horizon,” De Niro said. “The beginning of the tip around and to the other side.”

De Niro and Pacino Have Always Connected. Just Rarely Onscreen. The Irishman is officially only the third time they’ve collaborated, but over the years they often turned to one another. Who else could understand?” (New York Times, October 25, 2019)

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