A few moments of silence

rain.jpg

Standing out there in the downpour, beyond the green rows of a new garden. He was bent far over before the flat gray sky in what appeared to be an attitude of prayer or adoration, his arms at his sides. The rain had plastered his shirt to his back and his short black hair glistened. He did not move at all while I stood there, fifteen or twenty minutes. And in that time I saw what it was I had wanted to see all those years…The complete stillness, a silence such as I had never heard out of another living thing, an unbroken grace.

~ Barry Lopez, from “Field Notes: The Grace Note of the Canyon Wren


Notes:

  • Inspired by: 5:08 a.m. 55° F. Quiet. A cool breeze flows through the open window. The pitter patter of soft rain falls on the Earth on this Memorial Day, May 29, 2017
  • Photo: Ponychan
  • Thank you Christie for introducing me to Barry Lopez.

Saturday Morning

sleeping-vandevorst

Like someone not wanting something.
Not anything.
Mouth sewn shut.
Eyelids sewn shut.
I forgot myself.
The wind inside.
Everything shut, and the wind inside.

~ Alejandra Pizarnik, from “Paths of the Mirror,” Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962 – 1972


Notes: Poem Source – the château of my heart. Photo: By a.f. vandevorst s.s 1999 via Precious Things

Today I’m flying low

photography-birds-breeze-hair-back
Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

— Mary Oliver, “Today” in A Thousand Mornings


Notes:

Saturday Morning

porch-cabin-nature-outdoors

It is an attitude Thoreau would have applauded. As he notes in his journals, “Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumacs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.”

From sunrise to noon is a considerable stretch of time, especially at the height of summer. One cannot imagine a contemporary writer squandering even a fraction of those hours. But Thoreau had a tremendous capacity for patience, as his friend Emerson understood. “He knew how to sit immovable, a part of the rock he rested on, until the bird, the reptile, the fish, which retired from him, should come back and resume its habits, nay, moved by curiosity, should come to him and watch him.”

~ Christian McEwen, “Searching & Dreaming” in World Enough & Time


Notes:

Morning Walk

James-reebanks-photo-england

[…]

Stillness. I would say to them
About living in the country, peace
Can deafen one, beauty surprise
No longer.
There is only the thud
Of the slow foot up the long lane
At morning and back at night.

~ R.S. Thomas, The Country


Credits: Photo of Lake District in England: James Reebanks.  Poem Source: James Reebanks: The Shepherd’s Life 

 

Saturday Morning: Close your eyes and ears.

faces-Aga-Ciszewska-siguni

Have a seat. Stretch out your legs. Close your eyes and ears. I shall say nothing for five minutes so you can think about Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. See, and this will be more perfect still, if you manage not to think in words, but rather create a state of feeling. See if you can halt the whole whirlwind and clear a space for the Fifth Symphony. It is so beautiful. Only thus will you have it, through silence. Understand! If I perform it for you, it will fade away, note by note. As soon as the first one is sounded, it will no longer exist. And after the second, the harmony will no longer echo. And the beginning will be the prelude to the end, as in all things. If I perform it you will hear music and that alone. Whereas there is a way to keep it paused and eternal, each note like a statue inside you.

~ Clarice Lispector, “Letters to Hermengardo” from The Complete Stories.


Notes:

Not a single feather trembles

egret

Everything around it moves, as if just this one time and one time only, as if the message of Heraclitus has arrived here through some deep current, from the distance of an entire universe, in spite of all the senseless obstacles, because the water moves, it flows, it arrives, and cascades; now and then the silken breeze sways, the mountains quiver in the scourging heat, but this heat itself also moves, trembles, and vibrates in the land, as do the tall scattered grass-islands, the grass, blade by blade, in the riverbed; each individual shallow wave, as it falls, tumbles over the low weirs, and then, every inconceivable fleeting element of this subsiding wave, and all the individual glitterings of light flashing on the surface of this fleeting element, this surface suddenly emerging and just as quickly collapsing, with its drops of light dying down, scintillating, and then reeling in all directions, inexpressible in words; clouds are gathering; the restless, jarring blue sky high above; the sun is concentrated with horrific strength, yet still indescribable, extending onto the entire momentary creation, maddeningly brilliant, blindingly radiant.
[…]
There it is, in the middle of the Kamo, the water largely reaching up to its knees, hence the truly quite shallow weir, interspersed with small grassy enclaves, hence truly peculiar, if not the most bizarre river upon the globe, and the bird just stands, without a single movement, its body strained forward, waiting staggeringly long minutes for the day’s quarry, now already ten minutes, then a half-hour passes as well; in this waiting and attentiveness and motionlessness, time is cruelly long, and still it does not move, standing exactly the same, in exactly the same pose, not a single feather trembles, it stands, leaning forward, its beak bent at an acute angle over the mirror of the gurgling water; no one is looking, no one sees it, and if it’s not seen today then it is not seen for all eternity, the inexpressible beauty with which it stands shall remain concealed, the unique enchantment of its regal stillness shall remain unperceived: here with it, in the middle of the Kamo, in this motionlessness, in recognition that it is the one that gives meaning to everything around it, gives meaning to the spinning churning world of movement, to the dry parching heat, the vibrations, every whirling sound, scent, and picture, because it is a completely unique feature of this land, the unyielding artist of this landscape, who in its aesthetic of unparalleled motionlessness, as the fulfillment of unswerving artistic observation, rises once and for all above that to which it gives meaning, rises above it, above the frantic cavalcade of all the surrounding things, and introduces a kind of aimlessness — beautiful as well — above the local meaning permeating everything, as well as above that of its own actual activity, because what is the point of being beautiful, especially when it is just a white bird standing and waiting for something.

~ László Krasznahorkai, “Kamo-Hunter” from Seiobo There Below


Notes:

Sunday Morning

fern-woods-forest-nature

In all the mountains,
Stillness;
In the treetops
Not a breath of wind.
The birds are silent in the woods.
Just wait: soon enough
You will be quiet too.

~ Robert Hass, “After Goethe” from Time and Materials.


Credits: Photo – Wolerxne.  Poem – Nemophilies

Zener

art,swimming,under water,pool

hyperrealism,art,swim,swimming,relax,

My work is about psychological turning points and transformations and risk, taking that proverbial leap of faith, balanced with that quest for finding refuge, finding quietness and stillness and escapism. Some [paintings] are very, very introspective escapism. Some are just the joy, the pool full of people in this temporary oasis. The 10 minutes when you hit the water for the first time and the smell of sun tan lotion hits your nose. You really don’t think about anything for those first few minutes…Water has been the source of a variety of narratives that appeal to many people: spiritual and physical renewal, cleansing one’s soul, taking the plunge and nostalgic memories of play and fun from childhood…Another popular theme of Zener’s paintings are the businessmen on tightropes who embody a tension that many of us feel and can relate to immediately. As many question whether the subject is falling or hanging on, Zener likes to respond, “The only way not to fall is to keep on moving…”

~ Eric Zener

See more art by Eric Zener @: ericzener.com


Source: EscapeintoLife.com

It would just be there

face-close-up-eyes-closed

I lie awake,
wishing I had faith of some kind.
I’ve caught glimpses of it now and then,
I can even conjure it up for a second or two,
but it fades.
It’s a stillness,
the polar opposite of worry.
It isn’t hope;
hope has too much energy,
requires constant renewal;
faith (if I had it) would just be there.

~ Abigail Thomas, Safekeeping: Some True Stories From a Life


Photograph: A. Sprigg via Precious Things

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