Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

The present, we assume, is eternally before us, one of the few things in life from which we cannot be parted. It overwhelms us in the painful first moments of entry into the world, when it is still too new to be managed or negotiated, remains by our side during childhood and adolescence, in those years before the weight of memory and expectation, and so it is sad and a little unsettling to see that we become, as we grow older, much less capable of touching, grazing, or even glimpsing it, that the closest we seem to get to the present are those brief moments we stop to consider the spaces our bodies are occupying, the intimate warmth of the sheets in which we wake, the scratched surface of the window on a train taking us somewhere else, as if the only way we can hold time still is by trying physically to prevent the objects around us from moving. The present, we realize, eludes us more and more as the years go by, showing itself for fleeting moments before losing us in the world’s incessant movement, fleeing the second we look away and leaving scarcely a trace of its passing, or this at least is how it usually seems in retrospect, when in the next brief moment of consciousness, the next occasion we are able to hold things still, we realize how much time has passed since we were last aware of ourselves, when we realize how many days, weeks, and months have slipped by without our consent. Events take place, moods ebb and flow, people and situations come and go, but looking back during these rare junctures in which we are, for whatever reason, lifted up from the circular daydream of everyday life, we are slightly surprised to find ourselves in the places we are, as though we were absent while everything was happening, as though we were somewhere else during the time that is usually referred to as our life. Waking up each morning we follow by circuitous routes the thread of habit, out of our homes, into the world, and back to our beds at night, move unseeingly through familiar paths, one day giving way to another and one week to the next, so that when in the midst of this daydream something happens and the thread is finally cut, when, in a moment of strong desire or unexpected loss, the rhythms of life are interrupted, we look around and are quietly surprised to see that the world is vaster than we thought, as if we’d been tricked or cheated out of all that time, time that in retrospect appears to have contained nothing of substance, no change and no duration, time that has come and gone but left us somehow untouched.

—  Anuk Arudpragasam, A Passage North: A Novel (Hogarth (July 13, 2021)

Monday Morning Wake Up Call

Ordinary isn’t the enemy but instead something nourishing and unavoidable, the bedrock upon which the rest of experience ebbs and flows. Embrace this — the warm water, the pruned hands, the prismatic gleam of the bubbles and the steady passage from dish to dish to dish — and feel, however briefly, the breath of actual time, a reality that lies dormant and plausible under all the clutter we pile on top of it. A bird makes its indecipherable call to another bird, a song from a passing car warps in the Doppler effect and I’m reminded, if only for a moment, that I need a lot less than I think I do and that I don’t have to leave my kitchen to get it.

– Mike Powell, An Ode to Washing the Dishes (NY Times Magazine, June 4, 2019)


Notes: Quote Source: Extraordinary Routines. Photo: Medium

Good Morning

And on this uneventful morning, the soft rain makes the oak outside my window dip enough for the early light to stream across the braided mountain hanging on my wall. Now the thread on the border swells with the sun and seems for the moment the source of all strength. Then the sun steps higher in the sky, and the thread that holds all things together goes back to work.

~ Mark Nepo, from “The Golden Thread” (Patheos.com, April, 13, 2020)


Photo: Rain Drops by DEmiJAN Me

Flying AA1011 N.W. With Miracles?

6 a.m. this morning.

7.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. WTH is that?

Dallas, TX. Hotel check-out.

This Hotel, a fine property.

Receptionist punches my room number into the system and then quickly lifts her head, and makes eye contact.

She pauses. And looks back down, reading. And that ain’t no coincidence.

The hotel record has to be Red Flagged with an Alert. Has to be.

“Be damn careful here. That gnarly look is squarely aligned with his disposition. Man has been a patron here for 3 years. Many (MANY) nights. We’ve had a string of 5 straight stays of really bad luck.

  • #1 & #2: A/C out 2 nights.
  • #3: Party next door and in hallway from 1:30 am to 3:30 am. (He typically wakes at 4am. He doesn’t Party.)
  • #4: Room Service delivered meal to the wrong room, and he had to wait another hour.
  • #5: The pièce de résistance. Room Service barreled through his locked door (the wrong door) at 2 a.m. Yes, he was sleeping. But not any longer.

He’s advised the Hotel Manager that he’s a Simple Man. He’s not interested in fresh towels (he reuses his), he’s not interested in turn down service, or mint chocolate squares on his pillow, or a Shoe Shine. He’s not interested in a coupon for a free dessert, and not interested in you walking around the counter to hand him his key. He wants his key (fast), he wants a Quiet room, he wants working AC and he would like his order for room service to be delivered within the hour. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning

Sometimes he thinks of her, of them. Of what could have been.
Sometimes it’s all he thinks about…
He can feel the weight of their lives in a single step forward.
And he is enchanted by the beauty of small things:
hot coffee,
wind through an open window,
the tapping of rain,
a passing bicycle…

— Simon Van Booy, Everything Beautiful Began After


Notes: Quote via see more. Photo: Milka Awgul

Sunday Morning

The voice, the tale, the image, the parable that gets through to you – that wins your heart – religiously is the one that makes it past your defenses. You’ve been won over, and you probably didn’t see it coming. You’ve been enlisted into a drama, whether positively or negatively, and it shouldn’t be controversial to note that it happens all the time. When you really think about it, there’s one waiting around every corner. It’s as near as the story, song or image you can’t get out of your head. Religion happens when we get pulled in, moved, called out or compelled by something outside ourselves. It could be a car commercial, a lyric, a painting, a theatrical performance or the magnetic pull of an Apple store. The calls to worship are everywhere.

David DarkLife’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious

 


Notes: Quote Source – Thank you Whiskey River. Photo: Manuel Cosentino with Behind a Little House

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

True story: One summer, years ago, I went tubing…The sun was blazing, and the water was cool. It was a perfect day to close your eyes and let the current carry you. I was enjoying myself, until we rounded the final bend and saw the parking lot. I leaned back to get my arms in the water and I started to kick and paddle. In a froth of churning water, I passed my mom, my sister, my boyfriend and my brothers, and as I reached the dock, I shouted out, “I won!”

That’s me. All my life, I’ve made lists and set deadlines, never content, or even able, to just glide.

That kind of drive has served me well when aimed at challenges within my control, like writing a novel…I never stopped hoping that if I worked hard enough, wanted it badly enough, I’d finally get the acclaim that I craved…

That did not happen. And my brain, which had propelled me toward so many successes, could not push me past disappointment. Instead of focusing on everything that had gone right, including how lucky I was to make a living as a writer, it got stuck on what had gone wrong. Let’s think about it! my brain suggested, like a Roomba endlessly butting itself into a corner. Let’s think about it a lot. Especially at 3 in the morning. Let’s go over every single choice. Let’s dwell.

I tried yoga. I attempted meditation. Nothing helped. Instead, each spiritual setting and inner-growth-focused class presented new opportunities to compete: I held that pose for longer than anyone in the class. I’m way more Zen than she is. Finally, I remembered reading about how learning something new — creating new neural pathways — was a way to send your thoughts in different directions.

And so, after a 35-year hiatus, I started taking piano lessons again.

I had been an indifferent piano student as a kid…By high school, I had bumped up against the limits of my natural abilities. So I quit. I turned my attention toward activities at which I could excel…


Photo: videvo

Sunday Morning

I have found such joy in simple things;
A plain, clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread,
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof above my head.
And in a leaf-laced square along the floor,
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through the door.

I have found such joy in things that fill
My quiet days: a curtain’s blowing grace,
A potted plant upon my windowsill,
A rose, fresh-cut and placed within a vase;
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
And books I long have loved beside me there.

Grace Noll Crowell, from I Have Found Such Joy


Notes:

with no one to tell

Today, from a distance, I saw you,
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.

— Ted Kooser, “After Years,” Solo: A Journal of Poetry, Spring 1996


Photo: Supernova remnant is the spectacular remains of an exploded star, located about 190,000 light-years away. The expanding multimillion degree remnant is about 30 light-years across and contains more than a billion times the oxygen contained in the Earth’s ocean and atmosphere…We see the remnant as it was about 190,000 years ago, around a thousand years after the explosion occurred. The star exploded outward at speeds in excess of 20 million kilometers per hour. (Image Credit – NASA via Anne’s Astronomy News)

Sunday Morning

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

Pat Schneider, The Patience of Ordinary Things, “Another River: New and Selected Poems


Notes: Poem – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: Colorinstantfilm

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