It’s been a long day


It is not always clear
these days whether between here and there,
I am supposed to break or
hold the line.

Cynthia Dewi Oka, from “Elegy with a White Shirt


Notes:

It’s been a long day

If just looking could be so satisfying, why was I always striving to have things or to get things done? Certainly I had never suspected that the key to my private reality might lie in so apparently simple a skill as the ability to let the senses roam unfettered by purposes. I began to wonder whether eyes and ears might not have a wisdom of their own.

~ Marion Milner, A Life of One’s Own (First Published, 1934)


Notes:

It’s been a long day

Or was Mill concerned that, in a perfect world, with nothing more to strive for, we might simply grow bored? As the 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once upliftingly put it, “life swings back and forth like a pendulum between pain and boredom.” When we are not consumed by the desire to achieve something (food, shelter, companionship, wealth, career, status, social reform, etc.), we are tortured by boredom…

The answer, he discovered through reading Wordsworth, is to take refuge in a capacity to be moved by beauty — a capacity to take joy in the quiet contemplation of delicate thoughts, sights, sounds, and feelings, not just titanic struggles…

I hope, and suspect, that Mill is right about this: that we all have the ability to find some durable joy in quietude, normalcy and contemplation. In our personal lives, and in our political lives too, it would be nice if we could escape Schopenhauer’s pendulum:

to simply enjoy where we are, at times; to find some peace in the cessation of motion…

~ Adam Etinson, from Is a Life Without Struggle Worth Living? (NY Times, October 2, 2017)


Notes: Photo: via bea’titudeRelated Posts: It’s been a long day

 

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

I
slowly
withdraw
from
my
body.

~ Anna Kamienska, from A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook


Notes: Photo Manipulation by Laurent Rosset (Denmark) (via this isn’t happiness)

It’s been a long day

…Days too small to fill their slots,
days too large for the day to hold them.
And days, no matter what their size,
that leaked into the next.
A leaky day is a dangerous thing…

Richard Siken, from The Field of Rooms and Halls


Notes:

 

It’s been a long day (Right)

Rohingya refugee children from Myanmar’s Rakhine state rest at a refugee camp near Teknaf, Bangladesh. Nearly 125,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh since a fresh surge of violence in Myanmar began in late August. Photo by: K. M. Asad, Agence France-Presse, Getty Images. (wsj.com, September 5, 2017)


Related Posts: It’s been a long day

 

Walking the floor. Sewn into our skins.

The walkway to the entrance is a shadow, sprayed clean, still moist in its elongated drying cycle in the early morning humidity in August – the industrial hose is wrapped tightly in the hidden wall closet.

The silver trash can standing a few feet from the elevator has been wiped down and emptied.

The rug under the desk is now free of the paper chads that spilled from the three-hole punch that was toppled over when rushing to answer the phone.

The trash can under the desk with the wax paper Chick-fil-A wrapper has been emptied, along with the paper pocket which held the home fries.

The paper dispenser in the men’s room is replenished. The bathroom floors have been scrubbed with a fresh lemon scented cleaner. The sinks are clean and dry, the toilets wiped down, the mirrors are spot-free and gleam.

My desk top has been wiped clean, yesterday wiped away.

My hands rest on the desktop.

Her hands rest under her head.  She sleeps now, and she sleeps hard. She’ll be up in a few hours catching a bus for her second job, laundry and folding sheets for a Comfort Inn.

Investigators dusting this scene and applying a flourescent dye stain and a burst of orange light would find her fingerprints everywhere. The desks. The computer screens. The walls. The floors. The door knobs. The sinks. The toilets.

Kafka was right.

People are sewn into their skins and can’t alter the seams.

The phone rings, breaking the spell.

I’m back, back in my skin.

~ DK


Notes:

Flying Over I-95 S. So With Hopper.

Best day of the week?  Friday. Friday afternoon. Doesn’t matter how backed up traffic is on I-95 North, Home is no more than 45 minutes away.  Nothing, I mean, Nothing will jam up this vibe. Nothing will impede the start of the Great Unwinding. The seat is reclined a wee bit. The A/C beats back the 86° F mid-August heat. Home, home in minutes.

Best day of the week?  Friday. Friday afternoon. Except when you’re on I-95, heading the wrong way, heading South to LaGuardia Airport.

A working weekend. A long week, getting longer, and blurring into the week after.

Baggage check. A line snaking through the ropes waiting to pass Security. The listless, iron backed chairs in the waiting area. The rush to board. The hopeless prayer for an empty seat next to you to stretch out.  “Drink Sir?” Weary flight attendants forcing smiles with their offers of pretzels and tasteless shortbread cookies – and then, they hawk their gourmet sandwiches tightly shrink wrapped in plastic. “No thanks to that.” A three and a half hour flight that feels like five.  The interminable wait for your luggage to slide onto the conveyer in baggage claim. The 35 minute ride to the hotel, hoping the cabbie will let you sit in silence. The wait for Room Service. The unpacking of the suitcase. A glance in the shower. That would be nice. Too tired, the shower is reduced to a splash of cold water from the sink. Room service arrives. You sit on edge of the bed in front of the TV, a fork in one hand, the remote in the other, clicking by all News (real, fake or otherwise). A Kit-Kat calls out to you from the mini-bar. And then the M&Ms. Laying flat on your back, you float with your eyes closed, savoring the sugar high as the smooth milk chocolate coats your tongue. And then, only then, you let go, Salzberg’s letting go, it’s an inside job, and you let exhaustion sweep you away to your alarm for the Uber pick-up at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday morning.
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It’s been a long day


How strong they could want something and how dissatisfied they were with having.

Why was having never enough?

And why did wanting always feel so real?

~ Catherine Lacey, from “The Answers: A Novel” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 6, 2017)
 


Notes:

It’s been a long day

wind

I don’t know. Things don’t have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What’s the function of a galaxy? I don’t know if our life has a purpose and I don’t see that it matters. What does matter is that we’re a part. Like a thread in a cloth or a grass-blade in a field. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass.

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven: A Novel


Notes:

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