Saturday Morning

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But we had long ago shed our busyness. The basic measure of time, the tempo around which we arranged ourselves, the water lapping, the sky slowly changing from paper white to cobalt blue, was the tempo of boating retirees. Or maybe it was the tempo of firebrand revolutionaries on a wildcat strike against industry. Either way, we were Not Working. We had desynchronized from productive time frames. My chronic sense of being late for some appointment dissolved. I heard the clicking of the musician’s shutter and looked up to see the western grebe stretching and spreading its wings. Then the western grebe retracted its wings and went back to floating.

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


Notes:

Just for the joy of it

bird-chicadee-branch-jpg

What is worth singing about? What if the song is too small? Books will tell you that birds sing for a number of reasons— to call to each other, to warn of predators, to navigate, to attract mates. But I wasn’t so much interested in what the books believed. I wanted to know what the musician believed. “Why do birds sing?” So, at the end of our first bird walk together, I asked. I wanted him to say they sing because they have to, because they must, because it is part of their very essence, an irrepressible need. […]

Slowly the musician nodded his head. Finally, he said, “Okay. It’s possible that birds may sing just for the joy of it.” I don’t know why his response made me so happy but it did.

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

 


Notes:

Go ahead. Draw your feet up a little.

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Source: Via New England Journal of Education (1878). Thank you Rob @ The Hammock Papers

 

But dawn— dawn is a gift.

morning-frost-grass-light

There is a rumor of total welcome among the frosts of the winter morning. Beauty has its purposes, which, all our lives and at every season, it is our opportunity, and our joy, to divine. Nothing outside ourselves makes us desire to do so; the questions, and the striving toward answers, come from within. The field I am looking at is perhaps twenty acres altogether, long and broad. The sun has not yet risen but is sending its first showers over the mountains, a kind of rehearsal, a slant light with even a golden cast. I do not exaggerate. The light touches every blade of frozen grass, which then burns as a particular as well as part of the general view. The still-upright weeds have become wands, encased in a temporary shirt of ice and light. Neither does this first light miss the opportunity of the small pond, or the groups of pine trees. And now: enough of silver, behold the pink, even a vague, unsurpassable flush of pale green. It is the performance of this hour only, the dawning of the day, fresh and ever new. This is to say nothing against afternoons, evenings, or even midnight. Each has its portion of the spectacular. But dawn— dawn is a gift. Much is revealed about a person by his or her passion, or indifference, to this opening of the door of day. No one who loves dawn, and is abroad to see it, could be a stranger to me.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Wordsworth’s Mountain” in Upstream: Selected Essays

 


Photo: emeL (magic grass)

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.

Monday Morning: Let Me Rise Up

red ovenbird,

When I rise up
let me rise up joyful
like a bird

When I fall
let me fall without regret
like a leaf.

~ Wendell Berry, “Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer” from The Mad Farmer Poems


Notes:

Saturday Morning

bird-feather-plumage-red-orange
He wakes to find his wife lying on her stomach,
the children on top of her,
one on her back,
the other on her buttocks.
They are sleeping on her, clinging, head to foot.
Their presence absolves him, slowly he grows content.
This world, its birds in their feathers,
its sunlight … reason, at least for the moment.
It consoles him.
He is warm, potent, filled with impregnable joy.

~ James Salter, Light Years


Notes:

A small, sweet, plosive sound comes from his lips, after each entreaty the same noise, a breath out and a consonant mixed with spit.

baby-drawing

Four days later, Ev starts to talk. His sounds have been buffering at meaning for weeks, but now they emerge as his own handiwork and he sets them gently one beside another in lines. […]

Children are born into language. They understand the nuances of speech at birth and Ev has been listening to our ceaseless chatter for months in the womb. He has been read to and sung to and laughed at. He knows the pattern of our voices and by its cadence he knows too that something is happening. My face signals it, and the sudden sparks of urgent conversation, the gaps that follow.

Ev’s vocabulary as he presents it to us is superlatively normal. He has no words for fear. He says Daddy to mean either of us, kee for monkey and Oh no! at all upsets. Ssss serves for snake, the letter S, and any linear thing like a belt or bit of his railway track. He says click for light and sta for monster, gakator for tractor and soon has a small handy clip of words like digger, apple, spoon, butter, cardi, eye, toast, brush. Seem means machine. He can do two, three and four. And in a way that is entirely normal too, we poke him and spur him on. This is what you do with children, goad them for your own enjoyment. Make a noise like a volcano, we say. Make a noise like a firework. Make a noise like a dinosaur. His eyes are merry. A small, sweet, plosive sound comes from his lips, after each entreaty the same noise, a breath out and a consonant mixed with spit. […]

He is the size of a cat; a thing of gold fur and whitened sunshine. His hands paw and pat the textures of the food as he draws each substance one by one into his mouth: sour, sweet, char, salt, pulp, oil and leaf.  […]

He goes at food with intellectual interest and straight joy in taste. It is bonny. If I had known how much pleasure I would get from watching my baby eat I would have thought it an argument for more babies. It is such a treat I can’t take my eyes off him and I mask my keenness in case it makes him suspicious that there is something more at stake. So I eat with him, or look out the window or pretend to read the paper. He spoons up lentils, snuffles through tomato sauce with basil and surges his pasta round in it, he dips bread in spinach soup till soup and bread are one and sucks it. He holds broccoli like a cudgel and stuffs one, then two, three, four trees into his mouth. He eats liver! He eats bananas and garlic and stir-fry! We goggle at him. We win and he wins. We all triumph together.

~ Marion Coutts, The Iceberg: A Memoir


Baby Drawing: Ben Connell

 

May it all bring you joy, says this opposing, unwanted, huge opportunity

 black-lab-nose-dog-pet-cute

Everything is proof of it—this forced gift of existence—even the tired face of a small-town bus driver in the early morning; it speaks of longing, the endless patience you have when scrutinizing good fortune that has unexpectedly dropped into your lap. And what does life offer in return… the quiet hum inside the bus where you can warm up, a change from the frozen and bleak winter landscape… What does it offer in return? A kiss goodbye from your wife before you head out, and the mildly bitter taste of coffee with cream? The early morning fog and a dead moose on the side of a road? Like an Indian who gets glass beads in exchange for gold, you trade the suffering of existence in return for the smell of baking bread. The feel of a dog’s wet nose against your hand. The look in your children’s eyes. A bird feeder. May it all bring you joy, says this opposing, unwanted, huge opportunity—Life.

~ Inga Ābele, High Tide


Credits: Quotes – the distance between two doors. Photo: AdamsBullDozer with The nose knows (via hundegalskap)

Where is your bliss station?

sit-still-peace-quiet-solitude

[Sacred space] is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen. […]

Our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended. You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it.

~ Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth


Credits: Quote – Brain Pickings. Photograph: HauntedBeautifully

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