Lightly Child, Lightly.

A very sweet light is spreading over the Earth like a perfume. The moon is slowly dissolving and a boy-sun languidly stretches his translucent arms…Cool murmurings of pure waters that surrender themselves to the hillsides. A pair of wings dances in the rosy atmosphere.

Silence, my friends.

The day is about to begin.

Clarice Lispector, “Fever Dream” from The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector


Notes:

  • Photo:Unfathomable Depths by Ibai Acevedo (via see more)
  • 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.”

 

Hearing the Birds Chirp and the Wind Whistle

Strangers approach Charlen Evans, on street corners and city buses, when they notice her cochlear implant. They greet her by placing a finger just below their ear, gliding it in an arc across the cheek and stopping just shy of the mouth. It is one of the few gestures of American Sign Language that Ms. Evans understands. They are asking if she is deaf. Ms. Evans, 61, is not always sure how to reply.

Her hearing has been impaired her entire life. In school, she weathered a litany of taunts about it, and as an adaptive measure, she learned to read lips with such mastery that she likens her talent to a sixth sense. Yet Ms. Evans said she did not feel all that different from her peers, and certainly did not feel disabled. The problem was never met with any urgency at home. “My mom always said I hear what I want to hear and didn’t believe that I had a hearing problem,” Ms. Evans said. “She was a good mother, but she didn’t like to think anything was wrong.”

Shortly after graduating from high school in Brooklyn, Ms. Evans started a family, marrying a man in the armed forces. She and her husband lived on Air Force bases in Tucson and Plattsburgh, N.Y., where she worked as a teacher’s aide, a job that finally forced her to confront the reality of her poor hearing. She struggled to hear the students in her class. […]

During a hospital visit toward the end of her mother’s life, Ms. Evans had her hearing tested. “I finally decided to do it because I wanted to hear my grandchildren say ‘I love you,’” she said.  Doctors discovered that she had bilateral hearing loss, which was severe to profound in her right ear and moderate to severe in the left. She qualified for a cochlear implant and had the surgery in 2012.

After the operation, Ms. Evans was stunned by the difference in her perceptions. She experienced the everyday chatter of the world, once beyond her ken: the swishing of her pants, the drumming of footsteps on sidewalks, the chirping of birds and the whistling of the wind. “I never even knew that made a sound,” Ms. Evans said of the wind. […]

Early last month, Ms. Evans returned to Kingsborough Community College, where she is taking classes in creative writing and sign language. She wants to one day work in a classroom again, this time in service to deaf students.

“I just want to do something worthwhile with my life.”

~ John Otis, excerpts from: “For the First Time, Hearing the Birds Chirp and the Wind Whistle. The Neediest Cases Fund.” (The New York Times, October 21, 2017)

Lightly Child, Lightly.


Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning-
whatever it was I said

I would be doing-
I was standing
at the edge of the field –
I was hurrying

through my own soul,
opening its dark doors –
I was leaning out;
I was listening.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Mockingbirds” (The Atlantic, Febuary 1994)


Notes:

  • Photo: Patty Maher
  • 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.”

 

Yep…

33.

Today many people are drunk on speaking,
always agitated,
incapable of silence or respect for others.
They have lost their calm and dignity.

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


Image: Observando via Kuanios

 

The Moment

Listen . . . Listen . . .

hair-red-close-up

Tune to the frequency of the wood and
you’ll hear the deer, breathing; a muscle, tensing;
the sigh of a field mouse under an owl.
Now listen to yourself —
that friction — the push-and-drag,
the double pulse, the drum.
You can hear it, clearly.
You can hear the sound of your body, breaking down.
If you’re very quiet, you might pick up loss:
or rather the thin noise that losing makes — perdition.
If you’re absolutely silent and still,
you can hear nothing but the sound of nothing:
this voice and its wasting, the soul’s tinsel.
Listen . . .
Listen . . .

~ Robin Robertson, Tinsel from Sailing the Forest: Selected Poems  (Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2014 )


Notes:

Saturday Morning

porch-cabin-nature-outdoors

It is an attitude Thoreau would have applauded. As he notes in his journals, “Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumacs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.”

From sunrise to noon is a considerable stretch of time, especially at the height of summer. One cannot imagine a contemporary writer squandering even a fraction of those hours. But Thoreau had a tremendous capacity for patience, as his friend Emerson understood. “He knew how to sit immovable, a part of the rock he rested on, until the bird, the reptile, the fish, which retired from him, should come back and resume its habits, nay, moved by curiosity, should come to him and watch him.”

~ Christian McEwen, “Searching & Dreaming” in World Enough & Time


Notes:

I’m listening.

moon-full-moon

There are many such assignments one can give. When Janet Fout’s daughter was a little girl, the two of them used to spend time together out of doors, playing and inventing nature games. My own favorite was listening for the sounds they could not hear, which Fout called “The Sounds of a Creature Not Stirring.” Examples might include: sap rising, snowflakes forming and falling, sunrise, moonrise, feathers, dew on the grass, a seed germinating, an earthworm moving through the soil, an apple ripening, wood petrifying, a spider weaving its web, a leaf changing colors, a salmon spawning.

~ Christian McEwen, World Enough & Time


Notes:

Saturday Morning: Close your eyes and ears.

faces-Aga-Ciszewska-siguni

Have a seat. Stretch out your legs. Close your eyes and ears. I shall say nothing for five minutes so you can think about Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. See, and this will be more perfect still, if you manage not to think in words, but rather create a state of feeling. See if you can halt the whole whirlwind and clear a space for the Fifth Symphony. It is so beautiful. Only thus will you have it, through silence. Understand! If I perform it for you, it will fade away, note by note. As soon as the first one is sounded, it will no longer exist. And after the second, the harmony will no longer echo. And the beginning will be the prelude to the end, as in all things. If I perform it you will hear music and that alone. Whereas there is a way to keep it paused and eternal, each note like a statue inside you.

~ Clarice Lispector, “Letters to Hermengardo” from The Complete Stories.


Notes:

Saturday Morning

cross-black-and-white-dress-portrait

I come into this small room and take a seat on the floor.
I don’t expect miracles.
But I have given myself a sacred space,
and now I simply offer myself the even greater gift of time to use it.
Someday, perhaps, something will happen here.
For now, I love this room,
this emptiness, the fading light, my own quiet company.
I am learning, by sitting, to become,
in the words of Terry Tempest Williams,
“a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness, a listener of wind.”

~ Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment 


Notes:

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