Sea of Tranquility: A beat. A sip of water. Pacing is everything.

While (he) slips immediately into the same stasis that overcame him… It isn’t quite listlessness. He makes a careful inventory of his thoughts and decides that he isn’t unhappy. He just desires no further movement, for the time being. If there’s pleasure in action, there’s peace in stillness.

—  Emily St. John Mandel, Sea of Tranquility: A Novel (Knopf, April 5, 2022)


Notes:

  • Highly recommended.  Let’s just describe this as a Wow. (And if you can listen to book on Audible, a real plus. Excellent narration.)
  • NY Times Book Review: A Dazzling New Foray into Speculative Fiction From Emily St. John Mandel – “In Sea of Tranquility,” Mandel takes up existential questions of time and being…In “Sea of Tranquility,” Mandel offers one of her finest novels and one of her most satisfying forays into the arena of speculative fiction yet, but it is her ability to convincingly inhabit the ordinary, and her ability to project a sustaining acknowledgment of beauty, that sets the novel apart. As in Ishiguro, this is not born of some cheap, made-for-television, faux-emotional gimmick or mechanism, but of empathy and hard-won understanding, beautifully built into language, for all of us who inhabit this “green-and-blue world” and who one day might live well beyond.
  • Image via CBC

Sunday Morning

My spirituality has always been given to contemplation, even before anyone articulated for me exactly what “the contemplative” was. I was not raised in an overtly religious home; my spiritual formation now comes to me in memories—not creeds or doctrine, but the air we breathed, stories, myth, and a kind of attentiveness. From a young age, my siblings and I were allowed to travel deep into our interior worlds to become aware of ourselves, our loves, our beliefs. And still, my father demanded an unflinching awareness of our exterior worlds. Where is home from here? What was the waitress’s name? Where do we look when we’re walking? If a single phrase could be considered the mantra of our family, it would be Pay attention.

—  Cole Arthur Riley, This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us (Convergent Books, February 22, 2022)

 

Lightly Child, Lightly

I have a favorite sound.

To be precise, it’s not a singular sound but a multitude.

Have you ever stood in the presence of a tree and listened to the wind pass through its leaves? The roots and body stand defiant and unmoved. But listen. The branches stretch out their tongues and whisper shhhhh.

Trees make symphonies without their trunks ever moving, almost as if the stillness of their centers amplifies their sound. The tree may appear still, but if you look closer, you’ll see that each leaf flails with breath. The tree may seem alone, but plow deep and you’ll unearth its secret gnarled roots—the grotesque and the beautiful—creeping in the soil, reaching toward the ancestors.

Thomas Merton said, “No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.” I hold this close.


Notes:

  • Photo:  DK @ Daybreak 6:54 am August 29, 2021.
  • 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

But I also say this:

that light is an invitation to happiness,

and that happiness, when it’s done right,

is a kind of holiness, palpable and redemptive.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Poppies” in New and Selected Poems, Volume One.


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. Daybreak. 5:45 am, March 8, 2022. 38° F, feels like 27° F, winds up to 40 mph. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. . More pictures from this morning here.
  • Poem from Make Believe Boutique.
  • 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

Through no fault of your own, there never seems to be enough stillness —

enough cool, clear space —

for you to stop and think.

— Johann Hari, “Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention–and How to Think Deeply Again” (Crown, January 25, 2022)


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 6:19 am, March 2, 2022. 34° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More pictures from yesterday morning 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 Afternoon

I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday.

It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain.

You can feel the silent and invisible life.

Marilynne RobinsonGilead: A Novel


Notes: Quote via Mythology of Blue. Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 7:21 am, January 2, 2022. 52° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.

Sunday Morning

On Aug. 29, 1952, in an open-air converted barn in Woodstock, N.Y., pianist David Tudor, known for his interpretations of contemporary music, gave the premiere of a work by John Cage (1912-1992) remarkably different from anything else in the classical repertoire. Tudor had been familiar with the full range of the avant-garde, from the spacious pointillism of Morton Feldman’s “Extensions 3” to the thorny complexity of Pierre Boulez’s First Piano Sonata, both of which were also on the program.

For the Cage piece, however, the pianist curiously sat motionless at the keyboard, holding a stopwatch. The composer had indicated three separate movements with specific timings. Keeping an eye on the timepiece, Tudor announced the beginning of each section by closing the keyboard lid, then paused for the required duration before signaling its end by opening the lid again. All the rest was stillness; throughout the performance he didn’t make a sound.

But Cage’s “4’33”” is actually not about silence at all. Though most members of the audience were focused on the absence of music, there were also ambient vibrations they ignored: wind stirring outside, raindrops pattering on the tin roof—and, toward the end of the performance, the listeners themselves making “all kinds of interesting sounds as they talked or walked out. Music is continuous,” the composer explained. “It is only we who turn away.”

Stuart Isacoff, from “The Sounds of Silence” (Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2021)


Notes:

The clamor of the world, that is outside and inside, needs to be quelled sometimes to breathe.


Notes:

  • Cartoon Source
  • Post Title from: Fred D’Aguiar, “Year of Plagues: A Memoir of 2020“: “The clamor of the world, that is outside and inside, needs to be quelled sometimes for poetry to breathe.”

Daybreak

Some gulls soared in the air above me.
They seemed almost to be enjoying the warmth and stillness.
A stillness so seldom here.

—  Karl Ove Knausgaard, The Morning Star: A Novel. (Penguin Press, September 28, 2021)


Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 6:57 am, October 19, 2021. 45° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT

That’s how this machine works

There’s how I don’t answer the phone, and how I sometimes like to lie down on the floor in the kitchen and pretend I’m not home when people knock. There’s daytime silent when I stare, and a nighttime silent when I do things. There’s shower silent and bath silent and […] car silent and then there’s the silence that comes back, a million times bigger than me, sneaks into my bones and wails and wails and wails until I can’t be quiet anymore. That’s how this machine works.

Ada Limón, excerpt from “The Quiet Machine”, in Bright Dead Things: Poems 


Notes: Portrait by Lucas Marquardt @ About Ada. Passage via antigonick

Sunday Morning

Five decades ago,the philosopher Max Picard warned: “Nothing has changed human nature more than the loss of silence.”

• In the 21st century, Ed Schlossberg, creator of ESI Design,a company dedicated to making innovative design spaces,has stated that “attention will be the most scarce and precious asset in the future”.

• Paying attention to a single object, stopping receiving information for an instant, consuming content, images, sounds, alerts, calls is almost impossible today.

We use the new technologies that connect us to the world of messages, tweets, Facebook posts, Google alerts, mobile phone alarms, news from our RSS feeds, Whatsapp invocations, 24 hours a day, wherever we are.

• Only when we get on the plane and the stewardess forces us to turn off our electronic devices, can we afford to feel us, alone. But then we avidly look for what movie they are going to put on.

• Schlossberg says he longs for the times when art offered a space for silence and attention. The static frame and the motionless spectator held together, exchanging radiation in the visible spectrum,without emitting a single noise. Contemplation is a luxury from another era…

✅The human being has owned silence for more than a million years.

Stillness and the absence of noise are part of the natural landscape as are the wind or the sky. We have adapted to silence, and without it we could not survive. So much so that, although it may seem like a lie, we can hear it…

— Steven Melbourne, from “Silence” in Abstract Universe


Notes:

Lightly Child, Lightly.

it’s terribly important that I understand this.
Because, you see, sir,
students rush from one class to the other,
because the period is short,
run from mathematics to geography,
from geography to history,
chemistry, biology – you follow? – run, run.
And if I was one of the professors, teachers, I would say,
Look, sit down.
Be quiet for five minutes.
Be quiet.
Look out of the window, if you want to.
See the beauty of light on the water,
or the leaf, and look at this and that, but be quiet’.

— J. Krishnamurti, from Dialogue 16 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, 27 February 1974


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 5:19 am. July 1, 2021. 73° F.  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.”

must you…

must you finish a thought? is it not enough to

 


Source: yelenabelovas. Image via bytheslice

Sanctuaries…


via Modern Elegance

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I don’t know who I am becoming. I like who I am becoming, I just haven’t fully met her yet.  I don’t think I can go back to a “before.” I don’t think I fit into that life anymore. I’ve just grown and changed, and many priorities and values have shifted. My peak excitement right now is getting ready for baby ducks on the farm in spring. I like the slowness of things right now.

— Mary Fugate, 31, who works in higher education, moved home from Cincinnati to Punxsutawney, Pa., from “Emerging From the Coronavirus” in The New York Times, April 5, 2021


Photo: Paul Rioux

Lightly Child, Lightly.

(He) lived a Yeatsian dream life where peace came dropping slow.

— Heather Clark, Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 5:51 am, March 4, 2021. 32° F. 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.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

The satisfying release of body-weight into the support of the earth and no thing in particular to do or be.

Just savoring the texture of life in this moment.

—  Camille Maurine, Meditation Secrets for Women: Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure, and Inner Peace 


Notes:

  • Quote Source: Wait – What?
  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 6:42 am, February 12, 2021.  14° F, feels like 5° F. 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.”

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

There is a magnificent quiet that comes from giving up the regular order of your life.

Ann Patchett, from “These Precious Days” in Harper’s Magazine, December 9, 2020


Take a moment to read the entire essay: “These Precious Days.” Long, but worthy. Patchett’s bestsellers include Bel Canto (2001) and The Dutch House (2019), The Dutch House was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 2020.

Sunday Morning

How many times have you noticed that it’s the little quiet moments in the midst of life that seem to give the rest extra-special meaning.

— Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers


Notes:

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Dissolve.

A moment of quiet.

The dust settles.

—  Wallace Stegner, Recapitulation


Notes:

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