Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

head

Monday.
Me.
Tuesday.
Me.
Wednesday.
Me.
Thursday.
Me.
Friday.

~ Witold Gombrowicz, in the opening of Diary.  Just before the outbreak of World War II, young Witold Gombrowicz left his home in Poland and set sail for South America. In 1953, still living as an expatriate in Argentina, he began his Diary with one of literature’s most memorable openings.


Notes: Quote – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: via seemore

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

When Aleksander Doba (70) kayaked into the port in Le Conquet, France, on Sept. 3, 2017, he had just completed his third — and by far most dangerous — solo trans-Atlantic kayak trip. He was a few days shy of his 71st birthday…He’d been at sea 110 days, alone, having last touched land that May at New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay. The trip could have easily ended five days earlier, when Doba was just a few hundred feet off the British coast. But he had promised himself, when he left New Jersey, that he would kayak not just to Europe but to the Continent proper. So he stayed on the water nearly another week, in the one-meter-wide boat where he’d endured towering waves, in the coffinlike cabin where he spent almost four months not sleeping more than three hours at a stretch, where he severely tried his loved ones’ patience in order to be lonely, naked and afraid. Then he paddled to the French shore…

 “The more you don’t believe in Polish people, the more determined we are. To prove themselves, Polish people will endure everything. If you aren’t willing to suffer, you can do nothing. You can sit and die. This is the only one thing you can do.”

Doba’s physicality is sui generis. His body appears to be assembled from parts belonging to people of vastly different ages. His skin looks 71. His chest looks 50. His hands and forearms look 30, straight off a Montana roper. His hair and beard appear to be taken from a Michelangelo painting of God.

Doba has a deep, almost performance-art-like sense of this. You can be made small by life or rage against it. “Nie chce byc malym szarym czlowiekiem,” he told me. “I do not want to be a little gray man.” This is a common expression in Poland — and a good motto for us all.

~ Elizabeth Weil, excerpts from Why He Kayaked Across the Atlantic at 70 (For the Third Time) (NY Times, March 22, 2018)


Thank you Rachel

Sunday Morning

Junipers in the forests outside Warsaw.
I didn’t know that junipers like sand.
They stand, huddled, like secret, silent figures in hoods.
They walk behind us. I turn to look.
They stop in their tracks, like monks.

~ Anna Kamienska, from A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook, trans. Clare Cavanagh from Poetry Magazine, May 1, 2012


Photo: Marek7 with Forest in Kampinos National Park in on the north-west outskirts of Warsaw

Lautari


Lautari is an award-winning ethno-jazz quartet, whose members hail from central and southern Poland. They draw their name from the wandering Romainian musicians, or Gypsies, of the mid-1800’s. Named for lute players back then, historic lautari fostered a rich history that spread among central, southern and eastern Europe and now informs the very contemporary approach by our modern Lautari, who blend traditional folk music with classical composition and jazz improvisation into a unique mix with as many cultural influences as Poland itself has today.


Source: The KEXP Blog. Listen to Full Performance here.

Running. In Warsaw.

warsaw-poland

The hotel lobby. (~2006)
High cathedral ceilings. Dark wood grain walls.  Turkish Rugs that run and run.
There’s a whiff of lemon in the air, the wood floors scrubbed by the overnight crew.
The Bellman, adorned with a red cap, offers a “God Morning” in broken English, and quickly drops his head back to his book.
A step back in time.

There’s no mistaking Warsaw (Poland, not Indiana) for the youth and flamboyance of Barcelona or the hushed old money wealth of Geneva or the modern efficiency and hum of Tokyo.

Warsaw is the Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Long past his prime and wearing deep scars of bone jarring defeat. Tired, hurt and a heaviness that lingers.

It was a slow run 9 years ago.
An early Sunday morning in autumn.
A single 40-minute run cutting deep furrows which are turned over and over again. [Read more…]

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