Saturday Morning

Silence can also be a friend. A comfort and a source of deeper riches. In The Silence That Follows, the poet Rolf Jacobsen wrote:

The silence that lives in the grass
on the underside of each blade
and in the blue space between the stones.

The silence that rests like a young bird in your palms. It is easy to see oneself in Rolf Jacobsen’s experience. Alone out on the ocean, you can hear the water; in the forest, a babbling brook or else branches swaying in the wind; on the mountain, tiny movements between stones and moss. These are times when silence is reassuring. I look for that within myself.

Erling Kagge, Silence: In the Age of Noise

 


Notes: Photo by Chris Jones with Blades of Grass.  Prior Erling Kagge posts here.

T.G.I.F.: Silver Lining


Eva Creel (Hirschau, Bayern, Germany) with Silver Lining. “Underwater above and somewhere in between. I’m a photographer. My goal is to suck a little less with every shoot.”

Lightly Child, Lightly

I stood there speechless for a long while,

then I entered it.

Such is art.

John BergerConfabulations

 


Notes:

  • Art: “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes VermeerDate Created: c. 1665, Physical Dimensions: 44.5 x 38.1 cm
  • Quote via soracities
  • Post inspired by: The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them.” ~ Mark Rothko, from “ Conversations with Artists” by by Selden Rodman (Author) (Capricorn Books, 1961
  • Mentalfloss.com – Researchers Discover New Details In Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring (May 2020)
  • 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.”

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call?

And what a wonderful thing that artifice can be. Now that we are all working from home, amid the children, the toast crumbs and the laundry, we are realising that the pretence of an orderly life at the office is also a liberation. It allows each day to have its own architecture, its rhythms of departure and arrival. Putting on a perfectly ironed silk shirt or a crisp suit and leaving the house may be contrived but it is also, says Kellaway, “one of the beauties of working life…It allows us to be a different person. And we’re all so fed up with who we are, the opportunity to be someone else, someone a little bit more impressive, is just so tempting.” When such an escape is denied us, that allure may only grow.

Catherine Nixey, from “Death of the Office” in The Economist (June/July 2020)

 

Sunday Morning

A few weeks ago, during our first few days sequestered at home, my head was straining to explain to myself what it could all mean, or at least what could come out of it. I failed. The fog was too heavy. Now that things have become more quotidian, as things do eventually even in the most frightening wars, I am still unable to frame it all in any satisfying way.

Many are sure that life will never be the same. It is likely that some of us will make big changes, more of us will make a few changes, but I suspect most will return to the dance. Won’t there be a good argument to be made that the pandemic is proof that life vanishes in the most unexpected ways and so we must live big and live now? One of your own grandchildren has expressed that opinion.

Restrictions on movement are starting to relax in some places, and little by little the world will attempt to venture out toward normality. Even daydreaming of imminent freedom has many starting to forget the promises they recently made to the gods. The drive to process the impact of the pandemic on our deepest selves, and on the entire tribe, is waning. Even many among us who long to understand what has happened will be tempted to interpret it to our liking. Already shopping threatens to make a grand return as our favorite narcotic.

I’m still in a fog. It seems for now that I’ll have to wait for the masters, present and future, to metabolize the shared experience. I look forward to that day. A song, a poem, a movie or a novel will finally point me in the general direction of where my thoughts and feelings about this whole thing are buried. When I get there, I’m sure I’ll still have to do some of the digging myself.

In the meantime, the planet keeps turning and life is still mysterious, powerful and astonishing. Or as you used to say with fewer adjectives and more poetry, nobody teaches life anything.

~ Rodrigo Garcia, from “A Letter to My Father, Gabriel García Márquez” in The New York Times (May 6, 2020)


Notes: Portrait of Rodrigo Garcia via Alchetron.

T.G.I.F.: Running. With Mother Goose (3).

4:48 a.m. 8 hours of sleep. Rested.

I jump out of bed.  Dress. Gear up.

It’s 5:04 a.m., and I’m out the door. Running. With Mother Goose. (Again.) 9th consecutive day pulled outside by The Call of the Wild.

44° F, feels like 42° F.  No wind. No traffic. Dark. Full moon beams from up above.  Jenny Offill: “The moonlight through the windshield. No one talks.

Same route.  Down the hill. Around the corner. Down the street to U.S. 1.

There, up ahead, silhouetted under the street lamp, is the Masked Woman. 5:09 a.m. Can’t be her. No chance. She hustles across the street. I glare at her.  You better make way for me Lady.  She says nothing, but sweeps both hands up to cover her face. It’s going to be a good day.

I run.

Down U.S. 1. I work my way around the construction, crossing the bridge, the highway and into The Cove.

The same pair of geese stand at the entrance, that’s them in the photo above.

I pause for a moment to snap the shot, and keep moving, pulled forward towards the main performance.

The same acceleration of heartbeat.

The same anticipation.

[Read more…]

Running. With Mother Goose (2).

5:15 a.m.

In bed.

Both knees ache. Hips sore to the bone. I pass my right foot over my left toe, blister forming. I slide it further, abrasions on the tips of my little toes.  Raw.

This would be the 8th consecutive day of running. My body screams No. But that’s not going to happen. She’s responsible. I must see if she’s there.

I check my watch.  43° F, feels like 39°. I bundle up.

5:35 a.m. and I’m out the door. Running. With Mother Goose. (Again.)

My pace is too quick. I’m winded at 0.5 miles, and she’s at 1.7. My God, you’re a child. So anxious to see Her. 

I slow my pace and cross U.S. 1 into The Cove.

I see two of them at the turn, and stop to take a picture. That one above. Pink sky in the morning, sailor’s…

I shake the disappointment off.  Her nest was further up. Maybe that’s not them.

I run, eyes looking ahead for her nesting along the guard rail. Christmas Eve at 8 years old.

[Read more…]

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

  • Photo: Getty Images by Alexandra Espinosa in Marrakesh, Morocco
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again. Caleb is grounded in Work For Home and can’t come out to play this week.

 

Running. With Mother Goose.

6:10 a.m. 42° F. Nippy for May.

It’s been 6 days in a row, running that is.  Why? More on this another day, this surge of something.

There she is. Mother Goose. Same spot. Each morning, every morning. Sitting between the highway, the guard rail, and the retaining wall. Sick. She has to be sick. Does she sit here all day? 

She triggered a mini waterfall of the yesterday’s events.

3 p.m. conference call. Delicate personnel situation. I’m quiet, he explains. “Listen, I’m not vindictive, that’s not who I am. There was nothing malicious in….”  He’s a midwesterner, solemn, humble, truthful.  We wrap up the conversation. I thank the small group for providing me the background.  I close: “I know vindictive, and you ain’t vindictive. I see vindictive each morning in the mirror.” They laugh. I know, they know.

6:10 a.m. Yesterday’s morning run. 0.6 miles in. A lady walker, on the other side of the road, 100 feet ahead. Face mask on. She’s pointing her finger at me, scolding.

I turn off the music. You talking to me? I can hear her now.

“You need to wear a mask. You’re putting my life, and other lives in danger. 17% chance of virus being spread by runners without masks. You. Go Home and Put on a Mask.”

“Excuse me?” [Read more…]

We are all living the same moment.

Air is the gaseous substance of life. Sky is what we see of it. How it is framed. The mind’s eye’s way of giving it structure. Blue tent, sky-space, cobalt between heaving mountains.

Air is all over us, inside us, expelled by us, renewed by the operations of photosynthesis and the evaporation of ever-warmer seas.
Sky is ubiquity. It drives into us. We gulp weather. Yet we conceive of it as “out there,” “up there,” and apart from us. Sky is “scape,” a fictive reference point to which we cling, yet it also stands for the open space we come to know as an ever-expanding, cosmic whole…

It is spring as I write, and the world is locked down in a raging pandemic. We hold still while airborne germs wrapped in fat float and flap all around us, threatening our lives…

Sky is a living body, a lung that spews life. In China it is chi, a life force, or tianqi, “heaven’s breath.” In Greenland, it is sila, nature and consciousness. For the Navajo Nation, sky is Nitth’i, a benevolent spirit. The Crow, who live on the grasslands of Montana and Wyoming, call sky huche, meaning “wind that blows steadily at the foot of the mountain.” In Egypt, the dying summoned the god of air and said, “I have gone up to Shu; I have climbed the sunbeams.” …

Sky is nothing and everything: a blank that holds solar systems, locust swarms, heaven’s gates, kingfishers, and cosmos. It’s where the Big Bang flapped everything into being. Recently, 19 new interstellar asteroids were found orbiting the sun, and astronomers have uncovered the beauty of the asymmetrical universe, where the battle between matter and antimatter was waged. Matter and cosmic imperfection won out; otherwise, we wouldn’t exist. “Imperfection is our paradise,” a Buddhist teacher said…

Perhaps that’s the best way to think about the sky and the ways it binds and releases us. Looking up, we can all see the same things: the pink moon, sunrise’s glory, starlight, and the lovely, lonely curve of air. Our peripheral vision shapes what we think we are seeing. From my lookout on a moving dogsled, I’ve seen how the horizon’s silver stripe divides ice from air, mist from ocean, space from Earth, and dark from light as the blue tent floats down and softly covers us all.

~ Gretel Ehrlich, “We Are All Living the Same Moment” in The Atlantic (May 2, 2020)


Photo: DK, Cove Island Park, May 3, 6:43 am.

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