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

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:

 

DK: Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your current state of mind? Unsettled. Restless. (Permanent Status.)
  2. What is your favorite journey? To stay home.
  3. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Solitude. Followed closely by Donuts.
  4. What is your greatest fear? Mortality. 
  5. What is your most marked characteristic? Impatience. Volatility.
  6. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Introversion. Restlessness.
  7. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty. Arrogance.
  8. What is your greatest extravagance? Gadgets. (Latest edition. Don’t ask how many.)
  9. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Optimism.
  10. On what occasion do you lie? It’s rare.
  11. Dislike most about your appearance? I’m at peace with it all (except morning weigh-ins)
  12. Which living person do you most despise? Despise, such a strong word. No one.
  13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Are you prepared to hear this?”
  14. What is your greatest regret? Memories of cruelty.
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? Family.
  16. When and where were you happiest? Right now.
  17. Which talent would you most like to have? Pianist like Beethoven. Writer like Steinbeck.
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Less introverted.
  19. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? Accept that the Patriarch is right.
  20. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Our two children.
  21. What is your most treasured possession? Gadgets. All of them.
  22. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The poor, the cold and the hungry in winter. Cruelty to animals.
  23. Where would you like to live? Home. Wherever home is.
  24. What is your favorite occupation? The one I’m in. Love it or leave it.
  25. What is the quality you most like in a man? Humor and humility.
  26. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Grace and kindness.
  27. What do you most value in your friends? Truth.
  28. Who are your favorite writers? Haruki Murakami. Mary Oliver. Steinbeck. Ted Kooser.
  29. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Bugs Bunny.
  30. What is it that you most dislike? Meals without prodigious amounts of dessert.
  31. Who are your heroes in real life? No heros. I admire the gentle, the kind, the humble.
  32. How would you like to die? I wouldn’t.
  33. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? A Golden Retriever. Or Bruce Springsteen.
  34. What is your motto? Never look back.

The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.  (Source: Vanity Fair)

 

T.G.I.F.


Notes: Just Chillin’ by street photographer Tom Rothery on UPSP (via Newthom)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

This day, then, ends in rain
but almost everyone will live through it.
Tomorrow’s thousands losing their loved ones
have not yet stepped into never being the same again.
Maybe the sun’s first light will hit me
in those moments, but I’d gladly wake to feel it:
the dramatic opening of a day,
clean blood pumping from the heart.

Michael Ryan, from Poem at Thirty in New and Selected Poems


Notes: Poem: Thank you Whiskey River.  Photo: Kelly Winton Photography for a book cover for “Pages For Her” by Sylvia Brownrigg (via mennyfox55)

T.G.I.F.

So I say to you.

This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:

Like a tiny drop of dew,
or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream.

— Buddha, from the Diamond Sūtra


Notes:

  • Diamond Sūtra: “A copy of the Chinese version of Diamond Sūtra, found among the Dunhuang manuscripts in the early 20th century by Aurel Stein, was dated back to 11 May 868. It is, in the words of the British Library, “the earliest complete survival of a dated printed book.” (Source: Wiki)
  • Photo (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

the beauty of the clavicle

Only she who has breast-fed
knows how beautiful the ear is.
Only they who have been breast-fed
know the beauty of the clavicle…

~ Vera Pavlova, in “If There is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems.”


Notes:

I saw the life of life

Another poet came into being
when I saw the life of life…
the child I had birthed.
That was my beginning:
blood burning the groin,
the soul soaring, the baby wailing
in the arms of a nurse.

~ Vera Pavlova, from “Snapshots from Memory” in “If There is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems.” Pavlova (54) is a Russian Poet who was born in Moscow.  Her husband Steven Seymour, a professional interpreter and translator, was the translator.


Portrait of Vera Pavlova: 7faces

Miracle. All of it.

World’s smallest birds is just one of several distinctions that hummingbird species claim. They’re the only birds that can hover in still air for 30 seconds or more. They’re the only birds with a “reverse gear”—that is, they can truly fly backward. And they’re the record holders for the fastest metabolic rate of any vertebrate on the planet: A 2013 University of Toronto study concluded that if hummingbirds were the size of an average human, they’d need to drink more than one 12-ounce can of soda for every minute they’re hovering, because they burn sugar so fast. Small wonder that these birds will wage aerial dogfights to control a prime patch of nectar-laden flowers. […]

[Photo Caption] Hummingbirds often brave downpours to gather the nectar needed to avoid starvation. This Anna’s hummingbird shakes off rain as a wet dog does, with an oscillation of its head and body. According to researchers at UC Berkeley, each twist lasts four-hundredths of a second and subjects the bird’s head to 34 times the force of gravity. Even more remarkable: Hummingbirds can do this in flight as well as when perched.

~ Brendan Borrell, from Unlocking the Secrets behind the Hummingbird’s Frenzy (National Geographic Magazine, July, 2017)

Do not miss full story & photos taken with high speed cameras


Notes:

Walking Across Town. Blinded By the Light.

Isabel Miramontes, Come On

Mid July in Manhattan.

I step out of the Metro North car onto the platform, and walk down the tunnel in Grand Central. There’s zero transition from the air cooled train car @ 69° F to This. The body is swallowed by dampness, cool to not cool, Bam. The softness of the pressed shirt turns to less soft, to not soft, to moist, to sticking to the chest. Feet, are choking from their leather wraps, swollen from weight gain (6.3 lbs in less than 30 days) – chafing is coming, oh, it’s coming, by days end, or sooner. There will be blood.

I exhale little puppy breaths to pass the heat, trying to keep cool. Fail.

It’s 6:28 a.m. Tourists mingle in midtown, coalesce around the network TV studios and their Morning Shows – holding their cups of coffee, hoping to spot a celebrity, or better yet, get a cameo for the folks back home. Hi, Jane from Iowa! [Read more…]

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