Lightly Child, Lightly.

So rests the sky against the earth. The dark still tarn in the lap of the forest. As a husband embraces his wife’s body in faithful tenderness, so the bare ground and trees are embraced by the still, high, light of the morning. I feel an ache of longing to share in this embrace, to be united and absorbed. A longing like carnal desire, but directed towards earth, water, sky, and returned by the whispers of the trees, the fragrance of the soil, the caresses of the wind, the embrace of water and light. Content? No, no, no–but refreshed, rested–while waiting.

— Dag Hammarskjöld, “Markings” (Alfred A. Knopf, 1964)


Notes:

  • Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels
  • Photo: DK’s Daybreak. 5:19 am. July 1, 2020. 65° F. Humidity 100%. Wind: 3 mph. Gusts: 4 mph. Cloud Cover: 66%. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT
  • 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.”

 

 

Walking. Anybody Can Do This. (Not)

2:30 a.m., I’m wide awake, ready to start the day. Hello Day!

It’s a few hours before I set off on the 55th consecutive day of a five-mile walk to greet the sunrise at Cove Island Park.

I’m anxious to see what’s in store for me this morning. And worried that I might sleep through the 4:55 am to 5:15 a.m. peak feeding time for the waterfowl. Normal people set an alarm. I have four gadgets on the night stand next to me ready to jump into action. But for some reason I can’t explain, I don’t. I can’t. A life time of never needing an alarm to get up, I’m not going to start now. I don’t change. And, let’s face it, You don’t either.

4:25 a.m.  I gather up the camera gear. I double check to find the memory card is in its place — the recollection of backtracking 1.5 miles three days ago, getting soaked by a sprinkler system that turned on at 5 a.m., cursing the rest of the way home, and needing to take the car to the park for fear of missing feeding time. All of this is fresh. And it ain’t going to happen today.

I throw the sling around my shoulder. Take a long swig of ice cold water. And I’m out the door.

Photography.  Camera. New hobby thing. Mixing it up a bit.

I’ve watched hundreds of instructional videos on Youtube. Paged through the camera user manual – a lot of damn good this did.  Texted back and forth with a buddy who gave me some tips.

ISO. Shutter speed. Aperture.  Exposure Compensation. Continuous tracking. EVF. LCD. Autofocus. Manual Focus. Single Point. Zone. Wide Angle. Tracking. Single shot. Burst. Still. Video.  Good God. My Head is spinning.

Then add to the soup, small (very) buttons. A small, sensitive touchscreen. Clumsy, large hands. Not yet arthritic, thank God, not yet anyway, something to look forward to. Throw in farsightedness, and you have menus and pop-ups jumping in and out. And blood pressure surging. Jesus, I’m of average intelligence, it just can’t be this hard.

And forget the quality (and breathtaking expense) of the camera equipment, lenses, battery (and back up), and memory cards, there’s so much more to this Photography-thing that was lost on me. [Read more…]

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Do you want to see the most beautiful thing I’ve ever filmed? It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing, and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was just, dancing with me, like a little kid beggin’ me to play with it – for fifteen minutes. And that’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember – I need to remember. Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world – I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart is just going to cave in.

— Wes Bentley [Ricky Fitts] American Beauty (1999) Written by Alan Ball. Directed by Sam Mendes.


Notes:

  • Quote via Vale of Soul Making.
  • 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.”

“Our Lily”, “Arum Lily” and “Lily, Derailed”….

Saboyemichele: with “Our Lily” and “Arum Lily”. “The images above appeared in Lilliput Pocket Omnibus 1937/38 which was a humorous publication produced by Stefan Lorant, a photojournalist, author, and filmmaker. The magazine was known for Lorant’s juxtapositions of images for political or aesthetic effects. The left photo of the dancer was taken by Dr. Krohn from Praha (Prague). The photo on the right was taken by Felix Man. The synergy between these two pictures is visually stunning!

In search of DK’s Lily:

  • 1 hour searching on web to determine what type of lily the Arum Lily was.
  • 1 hour of searching through local garden shops after identifying lily type. (Full Disclosure: Co-Pilot Susan owned this.)
  • $10.50 worth of Calla Lilies.
  • 1.5 hours of photographing bought lilies over 2 days (and trying to get them to stand upright while taking shot. 100+ Lily shots.)
  • 5 minutes to set up this blog post, and 3 seconds to realize that I had misidentified the Lily species. (What type of lily is Arum Lily?)
  • The Lily Journey: Priceless.

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

something

There are two things you have to do if you have big ambitions and want to create something important that lasts. The first is the daily work and trying to keep it at a height that satisfies you. That’s hard. If you succeed, the second is dealing with the effects of the work, managing a career. That’s tricky. It involves making big, real-time decisions about pathways and ways of being. You have to figure out if an opportunity is a true opening or an easy way out; if a desire for security has the potential to become a betrayal of yourself and the thing God gave you, your gift.

— Peggy Noonan, Bob Dylan, a Genius Among Us (wsj.com, June 18, 2020)


Image: via thisisn’thappiness

Come back in next life as? A good novelist. A palm tree in Hawaii.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being at home, watching a good movie with my husband. Dining out with good friends.

What is your greatest fear? Fear.

Which living person do you most admire? Both Obamas.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Bigotry. Narcissism.

What is your greatest extravagance? My Toto toilet.

What is your favorite journey? Coming home.

On what occasion do you lie? When it might hurt someone to tell the truth.

Which living person do you most despise? The one who thinks only of himself. (Fill in the blank.)

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I’m so glad we had this time together.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband.

Which talent would you most like to have? To play a mean piano. Also, to tap-dance like Eleanor Powell. (For those who are too young, check her out on YouTube.)

What is your current state of mind? Acceptance.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My tendency to worry about the future if there’s nothing you can do about it.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Career-wise, it would be being the first woman allowed to host a comedy variety show.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? Person: A good novelist. Thing: A palm tree in Hawaii.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? My spoiled cat.

What is your most treasured possession? My late daughter’s cross necklace.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Hopelessness.

Where would you like to live? Right where I am.

What is your favorite occupation? Making people laugh.

What is your most marked characteristic? Optimism.

What is the quality you most like in a man? A sense of humor and kindness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? A sense of humor and kindness.

What do you most value in your friends? A sense of humor and kindness.

Who are your favorite writers? John Steinbeck, Joan Didion, Stephen Sondheim, and lately, Randy Rainbow.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Atticus Finch.

Who are your heroes in real life? First responders. Caregivers.

What are your favorite names? Carrie, Jody, Erin, Kate, Zoey, Jack, Charlie.

What is it that you most dislike? Egotism and rudeness.

How would you like to die? In my sleep.

What is your motto? To be untouched by success and untroubled by failure.

~ Carol Burnett, from “Carol Burnett Answers the Proust Questionnaire” in Vanity Fair, June 17, 2020.


Portrait: Detroit Free Press. Carol Burnett @ The Golden Globes in 2016

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Sleep (way) short. Weight way up.  Coincidence?

4:43 a.m. Out the door. Day 43. Same 5-mile loop.

Cloud cover 91%.  Humidity 96%.  Heavens spitting rain.

I walk.

No sunrise.
No sign of swans sleeping.
No sign of mallards, and their brood.
No Cormorant fishing.
No loon call, breaking the silence.

Misty, foggy daybreak.

Blue.

I round the corner, and march down a side street. 10 minutes from home.  Emails. Conference calls. Zoom. Heaviness begins to settle in.

And then, there it is.

I see it ahead.

Colors. Chalk on pavement.

Heaviness lifts.

[Read more…]

The day broke around me like a cool dream

The day broke around me like a cool dream. Sea; sand; a sky that melts into the sea — a landscape of misty pastels with a look about it being continuously on the point of melting.

~ Angela Carter, from The Bloody Chamber in “The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories” (Vintage Digital; October 31, 2012)


Notes:

  • Photo: DK – Daybreak. 4:58 & 5:00 am. June 17, 2020. 58° F. Wind: 5 mph. Gusts: 8 mph. Cloud Cover: 19%.  Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.
  • Quote via andrasteiax

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either…

If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper…

And if we continue to look we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper.

And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

Looking even more deeply, we can see ourselves in this sheet of paper too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, it is par of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. We cannot point out one thing that is not here — time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper…This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.

—  Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life”

 


Photo: Anka Zhuravleva with Head in the Clouds

Sunday Morning

I take hope in every politician’s or economist’s statement that Americans aren’t buying enough; in every student’s reference to “sustainability” or “mindfulness”—terms that weren’t in my college vocabulary… I take hope from the growing number of solitaries and the growing interest in meditation, contemplation, centering prayer. I have faith in the capacity of truth, if brought to light and given time, to win its cause, the capacity of love to win its cause. I place little hope in conventional politics, so invested are mainstream political parties in endless, unsustainable growth, or in conventional religion, with its interest in perpetuating its power. Instead I find hope in love, for one another, for our earth. Those of us invested in love can choose, must choose noncooperation. I buy less; I consume less; I take myself off the grid in the face of efforts to force me to remain on it; I dedicate myself to friendship as my organizing, bedrock relationship; I study and talk about how to become, in fact, a society of friends.

— Fenton JohnsonAt the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life (W. W. Norton & Company, March 10, 2020)


Portrait: Source

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