Riding Metro-North. With Missionary Man.

What does it take to sit? No, I mean Sit. Not sit with your iPhone. Or sit with your iPad.  Or sit with your book. Or sit with your paper.

Just Sit.

He was in the window seat in a three seater. I took the aisle. The middle seat was empty.

It’s a one hour ride on the third train of the morning, the 5:56 Metro North to Grand Central, an Express.

His hands rested on his lap. There was nothing particularly distinguishing. Black loafers. Smart black coat. Black slacks. Thin brown leather case, comfortably worn.

He would occasionally glance out the window. And then return, looking straight ahead.

Man at Peace, of normal height and weight, casting a mountain of a shadow.

My hands would not, could not reach for my earbuds. The iPhone heavy, an anvil. My case, stuffed with other electronics and power cords, and papers, a barrel under arm.

I’m restless, fidgety, and shift in my seat — left, right, and back again. And do over. And over. And over.

I want to be that. Him. [Read more…]

Walking Cross-Town. @ 80%.

It’s cold.

I’m zigzagging cross town.

I hit red lights and turn to walk up avenues. I approach walk signs, and turn back down streets.

The skyscrapers cradle the wind currents, they gust and swirl, and find the exposed skin: the neckline, the forehead, up the pant leg — both eyes gush water.

I reflect on a conversation from the day before.

“How you feeling?”

“Much better thanks. But I’m a bit shocked at how quickly I tire. And I have these intermittent bouts of lightheadness. Destabilizing, really.”

“You had material blood loss. You know that red blood cells take 4-6 weeks for complete replacement.”

You had no idea. None. Zero. How little interest you take in something so important to your sustenance. Yet that doesn’t seem to rock you as much as knowing the older you get, the less you seem to know. This jolt makes you lightheaded. Or perhaps it’s the speed walking, and a shortage of red blood cells.

I slow down. Way down. The lightheadness grows.

This movie is running in slow motion. Other pedestrians pass you by. Others pass you by. This makes you uncomfortable. You are losing, behind, slipping, slowing. Increasingly you are feeling ok with that. Really? Are You? Not really. You try to accelerate…want to…can’t…don’t…need to.

I stop. [Read more…]

It’s been a long day

luci d'inverno

The blue river is grey at morning
and evening. There is twilight
at dawn and dusk. I lie in the dark
wondering if this quiet in me now
is a beginning or an end.

~ Jack Gilbert, “Waking at Night” (The Greensboro Review, Fall 2008)


Notes:

 

It’s been a long day

Or was Mill concerned that, in a perfect world, with nothing more to strive for, we might simply grow bored? As the 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once upliftingly put it, “life swings back and forth like a pendulum between pain and boredom.” When we are not consumed by the desire to achieve something (food, shelter, companionship, wealth, career, status, social reform, etc.), we are tortured by boredom…

The answer, he discovered through reading Wordsworth, is to take refuge in a capacity to be moved by beauty — a capacity to take joy in the quiet contemplation of delicate thoughts, sights, sounds, and feelings, not just titanic struggles…

I hope, and suspect, that Mill is right about this: that we all have the ability to find some durable joy in quietude, normalcy and contemplation. In our personal lives, and in our political lives too, it would be nice if we could escape Schopenhauer’s pendulum:

to simply enjoy where we are, at times; to find some peace in the cessation of motion…

~ Adam Etinson, from Is a Life Without Struggle Worth Living? (NY Times, October 2, 2017)


Notes: Photo: via bea’titudeRelated Posts: It’s been a long day

 

TGIF: Things to Do Today

Things to do today:

1) Breathe in.
2) Breathe out.

Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story.


Photo: Huffinton Post.  Quote: The Vale of Soul Making

Sunday Morning

light-hand-jpg

We need to trust this: in the midst of our daily life activities, the possibility to slow down, to stop, and then to appreciate naturally unfolds. For a fleeting moment we pause and note the sunlight on the sheets as we make the bed, note the warm sun on our cup as we sip tea, or note the fading light on the curtain as we enter the room. And we let out a breath or sigh…

— Elizabeth Searle Lamb, from “Pausing” in Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart By Patricia Donegan


Notes: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: via Mennyfox55

Sunday Morning

wind-air-breathe-jpg

To
take into the air
my quiet breath…

~ John Keats, from Ode to a Nightingale 

 


Photo: Margaret Durow via sotick

I refuse to do drive-through. I am not a grazer, I am not a cow. You eat. You sit down.

nikki-giovanni

“I refuse to do drive-through. I am not a grazer, I am not a cow. You eat. You sit down. You put a napkin there. And it has to have the colors. If you’re having a steak then you’ll have a little carrots because it’s really yellow, and it looks good. And maybe a little broccoli. So that the plate — first, you plate it. And my aunt, because my uncle died, and she’d been very sad. And I had to call her and say, “Ag, what’d you have for” — you know, because she didn’t have any daughters, right? And so I said, “Ag, what’d you have for dinner?” She said, “Oh, I just had a bowl of cereal.” I said, “You can’t do that. You have to plate your food.” You have to take of yourself. I’ve started to have massages because it’s like, I have to make time to have a massage. It feels great, somebody just rubbing oil in your back. Where’s the downside? You have to do things to remind yourself that it’s a really good idea to be alive.”

Nikki Giovanni, excerpt from Bill Moyers’ interview with Nikki Giovanni


Notes: Quote Source: Wait-What?. Photo of Nikki Giovanni: Jackson State University News Room

It’s been a long day

fly-wind-free

One day I’ll fly away
Leave all this to yesterday

~ Moulin Rouge! (2001), dir. Baz Luhrmann


Notes:

It’s been a long day

hair-red

Beyond ambition,
beyond attainment,
is home.

Contentment,
without content;

peace,
uncaused.

—A.H. Almaas, Ripening of the Soul


Notes:

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