Monday, September 1, 2014

the clearest way in

“Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.”

- John Muir

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” 

-  John Muir

“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!”

- John Muir

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

- John Muir

And so we found ourselves for a short few days in the mountains, in Banff. I'm going to let the photographs and words just do their work this morning, and I'll be silent. Hope you enjoy the (many) photos. This morning's theme: trees and mountains.

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

- John Muir

Hokusai Says

by Roger Keyes

Hokusai says Look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.

He says Look Forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself
as long as it’s interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,

every one of us is ancient,
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive -
shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees.
Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your verandah or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.

It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
are life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

“At the touch of this divine light, the mountains seemed to kindle to a rapt, religious consciousness, and stood hushed like devout worshippers waiting to be blessed.”

- John Muir

Friday, August 29, 2014

in the direction of the divine

That to have the eyes of an artist,
That can be enough,
The ear of a poet,
That can be enough.
The soul of a human
just pointed
in the direction of the divine,
that can be more than enough.
I tell you this to remind myself.
Every gesture is an act of creation.
Even empty spaces and silence
can be the wings and voices of angels.

- Michele Linfante

{Source: Alive on All Channels}

A short Friday morning post to wish you a good weekend. A while back I bought a new bonsai to go with the others. Cleaned up my kitchen, made space. Still looking for clarity, wanting to pare things down, de-clutter. (I know it's a bit laughable that in paring down, I had to buy something....).

Also, revisiting the word, 'enough.' Re-evaluating what this is.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

virtual mochaccino

It's time, I think, for a virtual coffee, or in this case, a virtual caffe mocha. I'm not one for product placement (to my own folly, I'm sure) but my latest rather decadent addiction is: the Via Caffe Mocha from Starbucks. {Hello, Starbucks, feel free to send me a case of this}

Thinking lately, about courage, about grace.


by Anne Sexton

It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off our heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

If we were sitting at my kitchen table, I would tell you about movies I've recently watched, including The Railway Man, which I've added to my usual DVD list at the library. Maybe I wouldn't have watched the movie if Colin Firth hadn't been one of the principle actors, but what a compelling story, beautiful, understated acting, and a good screenplay. It's powerful and gut wrenching without being overblown and overdone.

A book I've slowly been reading for most of the summer: My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. It's been the perfect before bedtime book. I like the book for many reasons but maybe foremost because of the whole idea that a book may choose us, or we choose it, or it finds us - and it becomes the companion for a portion, maybe all, of our life.

" "What's your favourite book?" is a question that is usually only asked by children and banking identity-verification services - and favourite isn't, anyway, the right word to describe the relationship a reader has with a particularly cherished book. Most serious readers can point to one book that has a place in their life like the one that Middlemarch has in mine. I chose Middlemarch - or Middlemarch chose me - and I cannot imagine life without it. My husband, the most avid reader I know, would choose In Search of Lost Time as his most treasured work. One friend insists on the primacy of David Copperfield, while another goes back to The Portrait of a Lady, and I know them better for knowing that about them."  

Longtime readers of this blog, and anyone who knows me, know my book is The Stream of Life by Clarice Lispector. A Breath of Life, by CL a close second. But then I'm always going back to Jane Austen, as well. Of course, after reading Mead's book, will have to go back to Middlemarch. And then maybe others by Eliot. I've read Adam Bede, though seem to have lost my copy from way back in university days. I've read Daniel Deronda, but not Silas Marner or The Mill on the Floss.

And you? What have you been watching this summer? Reading?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

the dreaming forest

A virtual walk, today. Into the little forest in the suburban neighbourhood near mine. Past all the huge trucks that almost no one really needs, but are prevalent in this city.

Someone randomly put a bench on this trail. It's a bit worn, but well placed.

When The Wind Takes A Tree In Its Arms

by Hafiz

Three-quarters of the world dances all night,
the waves moving as they do on the seas.

And when the wind takes a tree in its arms,
what happens then?

The green branches of the earth may seem to
reach out to touch us if we near them in a forest,
a meadow, a field.

Does not all sway to a rhythm that began long
before we stood upright?

We are in the mountain's home, just guests.
Guests of the sky, the streams, the giving soil
we all nurse from.

Would not you be happier following their example -
bowing in unseen ways, then rising up?

Lost in the Forest…

By Pablo Neruda

Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.

Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.

Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind

as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood—
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.

Sleeping In The Forest

by Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

The forest always seems to take me back. Whenever I'm walking among trees, I'm right back there in my childhood.

On the walk home I passed this tree which hangs over the grey fence at a certain point. I've walked by it for years, but never seen it in fruit. How happy this made me.