A Journey Around My Room

In Lin Yutang’s view, you must possess the capacity to open yourself to seeing what’s in front of and around you all the time, not just when you are on a special trip. He gives us a sizable translation from a Chinese philosopher who expands on this, explaining that seeing the beauty and grace in the most majestic mountains means nothing if you can’t see beauty and grace in “a little patch of water, a village, a bridge, a tree, a hedge, or a dog….”

A travel book that takes this philosophy as far as it can go and then further is that remarkable little book: A Journey Around My Room. This is book was written in 1790 by a young French officer named Xavier de Maistre. […]

With nothing else to do, he wrote a guidebook to his room, visiting over the course of those weeks various bits of furniture, paintings, his bookshelf, letters he’d kept, and his own memory of a charming and slightly rakish life … De Maistre makes a case for traveling around his room as the truest kind of travel … “The pleasure you find in traveling around your room is safe from the restless jealousy of men; it is independent of the fickleness of fortune. After all, is there any person so unhappy, so abandoned, that he doesn’t have a little den into which he can withdraw and hide away from everyone? Nothing more elaborate is needed for the journey.”

Like all good travel writers, de Maistre begins his book by giving us the lay of the land and the route he intends to take:

My room is situated on the forty-fifth degree of latitude, according to the measurement of Father Beccaria; it stretches from east to west; it forms a long rectangle, thirty-six paces in circumference, if you hug the wall. My journey will, however, measure much more than this, as I will be crossing it frequently lengthwise, or else diagonally, without any rule or method. I will even follow a zigzag path, and I will trace out every possible geometrical trajectory if need be. I don’t like people who have their itineraries and ideas so clearly sorted out that they say, “Today I’ll make three visits, I’ll write four letters, and I’ll finish that book I started.” My soul is so open to every kind of idea, taste and sentiment; it so avidly receives everything that presents itself!…And why would it turn down the pleasures that are scattered along life’s difficult path? …

But when he wants to be awakened to what is going on in the world far from his window, and learn more about the human condition, there is another destination in his room that he can visit—his bookshelf, which is filled mostly with novels and a few books of poetry. These take him out of his room while allowing him to stay in it, and expand his experiences a thousandfold. He writes, “As if my own troubles weren’t enough, I also voluntarily share those of a thousand imaginary characters, and I feel them as vividly as my own.” …

After reading A Journey Around My Room, I vowed that I would take a trip to my room every few months, and these have been some of the happiest days I’ve spent. It’s an incredible luxury to be home and not sick, to wake up with no agenda other than to wander around the apartment all day. I can lie on the sofa and look at the light as it plays across a glass table. Or see the way it catches on a cracked ceramic vase. I can play with the shells I’ve brought back from the beach. I can admire our hearty little African violet. And I can visit my books, flipping through this one and then that to light on a passage.

This only works if I remain totally unplugged. The rules for such a day are simple—no electronics at all (except for music).

~ Will Schwalbe, from “A Journey Around My Room. Traveling.” In Books for a Living.


Notes:

Saturday Morning


Source: YourEyesBlazeOut

Saturday Morning

110.
Persons who live in noise are like dust swept along by the wind.
On the other hand, those who love silence and solitude walk step by step…
they know how to break the vicious circles of noise,
like animal tamers who manage to calm roaring lions.

~ Cardinal Robert Sarah, from “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise” (April, 2017).


Notes:

  • Photo: Arno Rafael Minkkinen (via My Modern Met). “Using his own naked body, Finnish-born artist Arno Rafael Minkkinen interacts with the outdoors, providing us with curiously interesting photos that are both humorous and inspiring. These unmanipulated photos show us that you don’t always need Photoshop to create surprising, surreal-like images. All you need is a little imagination.”
  • Related Posts: Cardinal Robert Sarah

Saturday


Source: Marina VernicosSani Beach Holiday Resort, Greece

Saturday Morning


Photo by David Godlis via Craveonline.com – Take a trip back in Time to Miami Beach, 1974

Saturday


Source: Fubiz.net with A Beautiful Series of Beach Photographs by David Behar (Manhattan Beach, CA)

Saturday Morning

Happy in the morning
I open my cottage door;
A clear breeze blowing
Comes straight in.
The first sun
Lights the leafy trees;
The shadows it casts
Are crystal clear.
Serene,
In accord with my heart,
Everything merges
In one harmony …

~ Wen Siang (1210-1280), From Sleepless Nights: Verses for the Wakeful 


Notes: Poem – Bluebird of Happiness Stuff. Photo: via Hidden Sanctuary

Saturday Morning


Source: itspeteski (Calvin and Hobbes)

Saturday Morning

tasting,

But this morning, a kind day has descended, from nowhere,

and making coffee in the usual day, measuring grounds
with the wooden spoon, I remembered,

this is how things happen, cup by cup, familiar gesture
after gesture, what else can we know of safety

or of fruitfulness?

– Marie Howe, excerpt from “From Nowhere” in The Good Thief: Poems


Notes: Poem Source: via violentwavesofemotion. Photo: Cup Tasting by Jürg Balsiger

Sunday Morning

dog-feet-pet-bed.jpg

There are mornings when the dog is smushed between us.

The sun breaks through the blinds with rays that warm our blanket tangled bodies.

Silent breathy snores, and the low mumble of a fan.

Picture perfect in my eyes.

Simplistic in others.

Too me?

This is the life.

~ Wandering Girl, “No one can take this from me


Photo: via Newton

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