Sunday Morning

“She had described her home and her life in a way that had often returned to me during those years and that I could still clearly recall. Her description of the town where she lived – a place I had never been to, though I knew it wasn’t far from here – and of its beauty had been particularly tenacious: it had often, as I had said, returned to my mind, to the extent that I had wondered why it did. The reason, I thought, was that this description had a finality to it that I couldn’t imagine ever attaining in my own circumstances. She had talked about the placid neighbourhood where she had her home with her husband and children, with its cobbled streets too narrow for cars to pass down, so that nearly everyone travelled by bicycle, and where the tall, slender gabled houses were set back behind railings from the silent waterways on whose banks great trees stood, holding out their heavy arms so that they made plunging green reflections in the stillness below, like mirrored mountains. Through the windows you could hear the sounds of footsteps on the cobbles below and the hiss and whirr of bicycles passing in their shoals and drifts; and most of all you could hear the bells that rang unendingly from the town’s many churches, striking not just the hours but the quarter and half hours, so that each segment of time became a seed of silence that then blossomed, filling the air with what almost seemed a kind of self-description. The conversation of these bells, held back and forth across the rooftops, was continued night and day: its cadences of observation and agreement, its passages of debate, its longer narratives – at matins and evensong, for instance, and most of all on Sundays, the repeating summons building and building until it was followed at last by the joyous, deafening exposition – comforted her, she had said, as the sound of her parents’ lifelong conversation had comforted her in her childhood, the rise and fall of their voices always there in the next room, discussing and observing and noting each thing that happened, as though they were making an inventory of the whole world. The quality of the town’s silence, she had said, was something she only really noticed when she went elsewhere, to places where the air was filled with the drone of traffic and of music blaring out of restaurants and shops and the cacophony from the endless construction sites where buildings were forever being torn down and then put up again. She would come home to a silence that at those times felt so refreshing it was like swimming in cool water, and she would for a period be aware of how the bells, far from disturbing the silence, were in fact defending it.”

~ Rachel Cusk, Kudos: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; June 5, 2018)


Notes: Photo above & Book Review: ‘Kudos’ by Rachel Cusk deserves kudos indeed.  This book, the last of a trilogy, was named one of the NY Times Top 100 Books of the Year in 2018 and an Amazon Book of the Month in June 2018. Reader beware, imo, “Outline (Trilogy Book 1)” and Transit (Book 2) were preferred by this reader.

Saturday Morning

What is silence?

Something of the sky in us.

~ Ilya Kaminsky, from “Deaf Republic: 1,” Poetry 


Notes: Poem – The Vale of the Soulmaking. Photo: John White with Blue Sky with small clouds (Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln, South Australia, Australia)

Saturday Morning

Here I am alone with silence.

I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played.

This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comforts me.

~ Arvo Pärt, in Arvo Pärt by Paul Hillier


 


Notes: Quote Source – Your Eyes Blaze Out; Portrait of Avro Part by K. Kikkas

Sunday Morning

Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and
makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
spirit, some small god, who abides there.

If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
continuously.
I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this
holiness, which is why I’m so often late coming
back from wherever I went.

Forgive me.

~ Mary Oliver, “Forgive Me” in Blue Horses


Sources: Poem – Thank you Whiskey River. Photo – Lichen by Mathieu Noël

Saturday Morning

I will cut adrift—

I will sit on pavements & drink coffee—

I will dream;

I will take my mind out of its iron cage & let it swim—this fine October.

— Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry c. Wednesday, October 15, 1927


Photo via 8tracks.com

Saturday Morning

But being lonely and being alone are not the same, and Bishop recognized from a young age that there was something special, even salvific, about the latter. “There is a peculiar quality about being alone, an atmosphere that no sounds or persons can ever give,” she wrote in the 1929 essay. “It is as if being with people were the Earth of the mind, the land with its hills and valleys, scent and music: but in being alone, the mind finds its Sea, the wide, quiet plane with different lights in the sky and different, more secret sounds.” I understood this sentiment well, the special beauty of the blue hours when you are, by choice, alone, and the candle of your self burns in a way it never quite can when you are with someone else…

Yet, as Bishop wrote in 1929, being alone…is unimpeachably special, sacrosanct. The art of being alone, especially in a world where our identities all too often feel coterminous with what we post on social media or achieve publicly and how people react thereto—and where desiring privacy can seem a cause for suspicion—feels increasingly hard to master. But it’s one of the most exquisite, and, to me, most necessary, arts to master, lest we lose too much of ourselves by forgetting—or never knowing—how to be beautifully alone, buoyed by the ocean-music of silence.

~ Gabrielle Bellot, from “Alone with Elizabeth Bishop,” The New York Review of Books (September 20, 2018)


Photo by Marta Bevacqua

Lightly Child, Lightly

When silence reaches an ultimate point,

the light penetrates everywhere.

Hsuan HuaThe Chan Handbook: Talks About Meditation


Notes:

  • Photograph by Marta Bevacqua. Quote via Memory’s Landscape
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • 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.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

In silence which is active, the Inner Light begins to glow – a tiny spark. For the flame to be kindled and to grow, subtle argument and the clamour of our emotions must be stilled

The word born of silence must be received in silence.

~ Pierre Lacout, Quaker Faith & Practise (2.12) in Twelve Quakers and Worship


Notes:

  • Photo: Patty Maher. Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • 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.”

 

Sunday Morning

Holy silence is spacious and inviting. You can drink it down. We offer it to ourselves when we work, rest, meditate, bike, read. When we hike by ourselves, we hear a silence still pristine with crunching leaves and birdsong…During congregational silences, in meditation rooms or halls, in prison cells and meeting rooms, in silent confession at church, all these screwed-up people like us, with tangled lives and minds, find their hearts opening through quiet focus. In unfolding, we are enfolded, and there is a melding of spirits, a melding of times, eternal, yesterday morning, the now, the ancient, even as we meet beneath a digital clock on the wall, flipping its numbers keeping ordinary time in all that timelessness.

~ Anne LamottHallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy


Notes: Quote – Thank you Make Believe Boutique. Photo: Franziska Korries (via Newthom)

Sunday Morning

Those two or three seconds of silence! Two or three seconds when nothing happened, a moment of suspension. The beauty of that silence! That lull. That pause, when nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. “Zurückbleiben” emanating from a different throat at every station, here a woman’s, there a man’s, with slight variations in stress, sometimes placed on zurück, sometimes on bleiben: the word was magical, narcotic. After Zurückbleiben everything came to a halt, stopped short, the history of the world paused momentarily.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay


Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

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