Dawn

Every morning all year round I can see the sunrise. It’s a sight that is hard to get used to. Not that it is surprising, for of course I know that the sun rises every morning, and that its light makes the darkness yield, but rather because it happens in so many different ways, and perhaps most importantly that it feels so fundamentally good. The feeling is a little like taking a hot bath when one is feeling chilly, satisfaction that the body is somehow restored to its basic state. When the basic state has been re-established, the satisfaction disappears, we rarely think about the fact that our body temperature is perfectly regulated. The same is the case with the sunrise. It isn’t the light in itself that feels good, for once it’s here, say, at around 2.30 in the afternoon, we take it for granted. What matters is the actual transition. Not the light from the immobile sun, which shoots across the horizon as the earth’s sphere turns towards it, but the faint glow cast by this light in the minutes before, visible as a pale streak in the darkness of night, so faint it almost doesn’t seem to be light at all, merely a kind of enfeebling of the darkness. How this infinitely subtle, dim, grey-marbled gleam slowly spreads out and imperceptibly enters the garden around me, where the trees and the walls of the houses just as slowly emerge. If the sky is clear, it turns blue in the east, and then the first beams of sunlight shoot forth, bright orange. At first it is as if they are just showing off and don’t have any other attributes than this colour, but the next moment, when the rays plummet in vast chutes across the landscape, they show their true qualities, filling the landscape with colours and brightness. If the sky isn’t clear but overcast, all this happens as if by stealth: the trees and the house emerge from the darkness, which vanishes, and the landscape fills with colour and brightness but without the source of this transformation being visible as anything more than an area of greater luminosity in the sky, sometimes round, if the cloud cover is thin, sometimes indeterminate, when it seems as if the clouds themselves are shining. Through this phenomenon, which occurs every single day of our lives, we also understand ourselves…light represents life and goodness, these two transitional zones between night and day become manifestations of the great existential drama we are caught up in, which is something I rarely think about as I stand in the garden gazing towards the growing light in the east, but which must still resonate in me somehow, since watching it feels so good…Light and life are anomalies, the dawn is their continual affirmation.

~ Karl Ove Knausgaard,, excerpt from “Dawn” in Chapter titled “November” from “Autumn


Notes:

  • Photo: Dawn by Tim Messer (Dawn. Shot while listening to Black Grouse, bubbling in the hills above Callander, Stirlingshire in Scotland)
  • Related Posts: Karl Ove Knausgaard

Miracle. All of it.

It is, after all, not necessary to fly right into the middle of the sun,

but it is necessary to crawl to a clean little spot on earth where the sun sometimes shines

and one can warm oneself a little.

~ Franz Kafka, from Letter to His Father


Notes:

of the things you have to do today…

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is that also needs accomplishing…

~ Tony Hoagland, from “The Word” in Sweet Ruin.


Poem Source: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: (via Newthom)

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

Every single day since I was born the sun has been there, but somehow I’ve never quite got used to it, perhaps because it is so unlike everything else we know. The sun is one of the few phenomena in our existence that we are unable to get close to, if we did we would be obliterated, nor can we dispatch probes, satellites or spacecraft there, they too would be destroyed. That we cannot even look directly at the sun without being blinded or having our eyesight permanently damaged sometimes feels like an unreasonable restriction, even an insult: right above us, visible to every human being and animal all over the world, an enormous fiery orb hangs suspended, and we can’t even look at it! But that’s how it is. If we look straight at the sun for only a few seconds, the retina fills with small quivering black spots, and if we fix our gaze on it, the blackness spreads across the inside of our eyes like ink on blotting paper. Above us, then, hangs a blazing ball which not only provides us with all our light and warmth but is also the origin and source of all life, while at the same time it is absolutely unapproachable and completely indifferent to its creation. […]

But while conceptions of reality rise and fall, flare up and fade away, reality itself is unyielding, its conditions immutable: day dawns in the east, slowly darkness yields its ground, and while the air fills with birdsong, sunlight strikes the back of the clouds, which change from grey to pink to shining white, while the sky that only minutes before was greyish-black now turns blue and the first rays fill the garden with light. It is day. People walk to and from their daily tasks, the shadows grow shorter and shorter, then longer and longer, as the earth turns. When we eat dinner outside, beneath the apple tree, the air is full of children’s voices, the clatter of cutlery, the rustle of leaves in the mild breeze, and no one notices that the sun is hanging right above the roof of the guest house, no longer blazing yellow but orange, burning silently.

~ Karl Ove Knausgaard, from “The Sun” in “Autumn” (Penguin Press, August 22, 2017)


Notes:

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

I began to talk.
I talked about summer, and about time.
The pleasures of eating…
About this cup we call a life.
About happiness.
And how good it feels,
the heat of the sun between the shoulder blades.

– Mary Oliver, from “Toad” in New And Selected Poems, Volume Two


Notes: Photo – Elena Stepanova (via Seemoreandmore). Poem – via Everything Matters

Miracle. All of it.

As the entire duration of an eclipse, partial phases and all, embraces two or three hours, often for an hour after “first contact” insects still chirp in the grass, birds sing, and animals quietly continue their grazing. But a sense of uneasiness seems gradually to steal over all life. Cows and horses feed intermittently, bird songs diminish, grasshoppers fall quiet, and a suggestion of chill crosses the air. Darker and darker grows the landscape. […]

Then, with frightful velocity, the actual shadow of the Moon is often seen approaching, a tangible darkness advancing almost like a wall, swift as imagination, silent as doom. The immensity of nature never comes quite so near as then, and strong must be the nerves not to quiver as this blue-black shadow rushes upon the spectator with incredible speed. A vast, palpable presence seems overwhelming the world. The blue sky changes to gray or dull purple, speedily becoming more dusky, and a death-like trance seizes upon everything earthly. Birds, with terrified cries, fly bewildered for a moment, and then silently seek their night quarters. Bats emerge stealthily. Sensitive flowers, the scarlet pimpernel, the African mimosa, close their delicate petals, and a sense of hushed expectancy deepens with the darkness. An assembled crowd is awed into absolute silence almost invariably… Often the very air seems to hold its breath for sympathy; at other times a lull suddenly awakens into a strange wind, blowing with unnatural effect.

Then out upon the darkness, grewsome but sublime, flashes the glory of the incomparable corona, a silvery, soft, unearthly light, with radiant streamers, stretching at times millions of uncomprehended miles into space, while the rosy, flaming protuberances skirt the black rim of the Moon in ethereal splendor. It becomes curiously cold, dew frequently forms, and the chill is perhaps mental as well as physical.

Suddenly, instantaneous as a lightning flash, an arrow of actual sunlight strikes the landscape, and Earth comes to life again, while corona and protuberances melt into the returning brilliance, and occasionally the receding lunar shadow is glimpsed as it flies away with the tremendous speed of its approach.

~ Mabel Loomis ToddTotal Eclipses of the Sun, Vol. 1 (1894)


Notes:

  • Post Inspired by:  “An eclipse is just an eclipse, of course. It won’t solve America’s deepening dysfunctions. But perhaps, in drawing so many together, it can offer a reminder of common bonds long forgotten. As millions of Americans look up, if only momentarily, from their phones, maybe they can also look beyond the pettiness of so much of their politics. Among a crowd of strangers gazing at the unnerving splendor above, they might find a brief moment of grace.” ~ Bloomberg View, excerpt from The Meaning of the Eclipse (August 18, 2017) (Thank you Make Believe Boutique)
  • Mabel Loomis Todd Quote: Brainpickings
  • Photograph: A solar eclipse on Nov. 14, 2012, seen from Palm Cove, Australia. Credit – Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images (9 Eclipses, 4 Continents, Never Tired of the Spectacle, NY Times, August 19, 2017)
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.

How was your day?


Source: giphy.com

Saturday Morning


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

Grand Central Terminal. You choose: 1954 or Today?

Sunlight streams through the windows in the concourse at Grand Central Terminal in New York City in 1954. [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly.

Nothing ever done.

Sure, sure, sure.

Today I will walk in the sun.

I will simply walk in the sun.

~ Charles Bukowski, from “a letter to Ann Bauman,“ Screams From The Balcony: Selected Letters 1960 – 1970


Notes:

  • Photo: The Sun, as of May 13, 2017 (via Nasa.gov).
  • Quote & Photo Source: Thank you Dan @ Your Eyes Blaze Out.
  • 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.”
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