Saturday Afternoon

I went to the kitchen to start making lunch, but no sooner had I picked up a knife than I realized I was no longer ravenously hungry. Instead, I was very sleepy. I got a blanket, stretched out on the living room sofa, and promptly drifted off. I had a dream, a short one. It was clear and very vivid. But I couldn’t remember anything about it. Just that it was clear and vivid. It felt as though a fragment of real life had slipped into my sleeping mind by mistake. Then the moment I awoke, it fled like a quick-footed animal, leaving no trace behind.

~ Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore: A Novel. (October 9, 2018)


Photo: Yourtango

Saturday Morning

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 8.41.09 AM

Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal—then something tethered
in us…breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
—but we have changed, a little.

~Denise Levertov, from “Sojourns in the Parallel World” in The Selected Poems of Denise Levertov


Notes: Poem from Make Believe Boutique; Photo by Coleman Guyon

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


A girl in a traditional folk dress takes a nap during the Palóc festival honoring St. Anna in Balassagyarmat, Hungary. (Peter Komka, wsj.com July 29, 2018)

Saturday Morning

– You know what I like to hear most?
– What?
– Solid quiet. Perfect unbroken quiet.

– Tennessee Williams, from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


Photo: Anna Heimkreiter Photography with Give It Time. Quote: Violent Waves of Emotion

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon,” Henry James wrote late in his life, repeating the phrase with evident relish, as if to squeeze the full pleasure out of it, “to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” It’s easy to see his point, to follow him into the meadowland that those two words conjure effortlessly. Surely “summer afternoon” suggests a lovely aimlessness, with time as a friendly spirit guide, not a haunting, hectoring ghost. Lemonade, ice beading the glass, comes to mind, and a fat 19th-century novel that you’ll never actually finish but can drift into, and then let fall open on the grass, as you get lost (you’re in a hammock under a big shade tree) in a drift of clouds passing overhead, shaping and reshaping themselves. That’s “summer afternoon” for you. It gathers you up, paradoxically, when you give up hunting for it. Keep it simple: Walk the dog, let her sniff to her intelligent nose’s deep content—no rushing her along to get the job done. Pausing, gazing, staring idly—this is the odd discipline of leisure. Let it find you on a park bench, with a bag of stale bread for the ducks in the pond…A nap occurs somewhere in the midst of this summer afternoon, the kind where you don’t really fall asleep but glide around in your mind, surprised by a memory, a moment, a regret, maybe your mother’s hands, her rings swiveling, your father and his deep frown, or that bully in second grade you kicked in the groin, glad to hear him howl and stop teasing you. Now you’re smiling. Your mind floats among these drifting bits that suddenly seem intensely worthy of attention, valuable. Just pause over these lost details, the collection you didn’t even know you’d amassed.Maybe that’s the way to practice for the launch of a successful vacation—not with a plan for two weeks freighted with expectation but with a single afternoon at full and indulgent ease. Call it a summer afternoon, not quite vacation time. It leads you past the fretful workweek into this sweet shimmering season you’ve been waiting for all year long.

~ Patricia Hampl, from “All of Summer In a Single Afternoon” (wsj.com, June 21, 2018)


Photo by Ali de Niese titled Lemonade (“I have a great love and admiration for the paintings of the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. I love the combination of yellow and blue with a touch of white which is used in some of his paintings (e.g. Girl With A Pearl Earring, The Milkmaid). I’ve tried to create my own version of a yellow and blue still life, ‘after but nowhere near Vermeer’, if you like.”

Same Bones. Same Skin. New Man.

 

And how good it feels, the heat of the sun between the shoulder blades


Photo: Delano Hotel, South Beach. Post title: Mary Oliver

T.G.I.F.: Do Your Work. Rest Here.


Notes: Photo/GIF: Head Like An Orange. Title from Christina Baldwin, The Seven Whispers: “We often speak of ‘doing the work.’ … Do your work. Rest here. Find peace of mind. Ask for guidance. Fill yourself with certainty. then move on. The work does not need to be grand, only fitting. It is guided by asking ourselves over and over: What is the next right thing?” (Thank you Make Believe Boutique)

Bed Time

May you sleep the most famous sleep: the night kind, one-third-of-your-whole-life-like…This kind of sleep is an egg: broken, mixed in, eaten, membrane shredded and forgotten like the torn-up dreams that let you go…The day was made for you to join the others…They are thirsty and smart and aching, waiting for you to carry your load.

Saturday Morning

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To rise early, reconsider, rise again later
to papers and the news…
Another day of what we bring to it-
matters unfinished from days before,
regret over matters we’ve finished poorly.
Just once you’d like to start out early,
free from memory and lighter for it…
nothing
to shrink from, nothing to shirk,
no lot to carry that wasn’t by choice.
And at night, no voice to keep him awake,
no hurry to rise, no hurry not to.

Tracy K. Smith, from “The Ordinary Life


He sees that this emptiness of self—that this alone—makes a life worth living, a life worth writing. He has been rinsed of ambition, of pride in himself, rinsed of shame over his failures, emptied of his grudges. He has even let go of time, of history—the sources of our regret, our sense that we have done it all wrong. Once reality has stabbed you in the heart like this, you are indeed free—or, when that sweet pain does leave you …the realization remains, a sure memory. This realization, not your ego, is your true self. Alone, outside time, but paradoxically within the moment. There he is, a poet suspended on planet earth in that most ephemeral piece of furniture, the hammock, swinging in the eternity of the moment, and he is empty of himself—at last. The whole world rushes in.

~ Patricia Hampl, The Art of the Wasted Day (Penguin Publishing Group. April 17, 2018)

 

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