Tuesday, February 28, 2012

just the smallest word

 In The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau refers to the "long poem of walking," and it's like that.  I pick it up afresh everyday, this book I'm reading/writing, this long poem of walking.  Even though I cover a lot of the same ground every day, it's always different.  This week the fresh fallen snow brightens the path. The mornings are so much lighter now and even though I've lived in this city my entire life, I find it surprising at this particular point in the year, to leave at the same time as I usually do, and to walk out into the sunshine.

One morning, a light frost on everything, and the sky was a sort of frosted blue as well.

translated by Jane Hirshfield

Of all that God has shown me
I can speak just the smallest word,
Nor more than a honey bee
Takes on his foot
From an overspilling jar.

"I would just say that we live in mystery, and the making of this world is simply great and mysterious. Just this morning, I was listening to a man talking about finding rocks that were four billion years old. So we live in mystery. I'm not unsatisfied with that.  I  don't have to find a god or not find a god."

~ Grace Paley in Poets Talk About Faith

The rose bushes I walk by every morning were transformed by the frost and seemed more like sea creatures.

The long expanse of grey fence, normally drab, was sugar frosted.

The blue of the sky below was the same colour I painted my study this winter.  Faded ink.

And these white berries on the tree that overhangs the fence, in their candied state, became visible.

And of course the pup.  Who seems to know that when I walk with my camera, he will need to do a little posing.  For biscuits, of course.


  1. I love EVERYTHING about this gorgeous post!!
    We've been walking a trail with Archer since we adopted him 2 weeks ago, and it is so true, that even though it is the same path, each day brings some new found treasure!
    Love the photo collage of Ace enjoying the walk as much as you ♥

  2. Shawna: I love the premise of your blog, and its execution. It's really beautiful. I try to do something similar with mine, and often have “Friday Calm” posts. Please feel free to visit, follow, comment. I’ve added Calm Things to my list of favorite blogs, and have also tagged you—see for details if you choose to participate; otherwise I hope you won’t mind my having directed a few more visitors your way!

  3. This post has a slow meandering feel, like the unfolding of petals or the drag of a current in the bend of a river. Giving life to everyday things that we brush past or hurry by, that is what our 'long poem of walking' should be, just as you have described.

  4. Such a beautiful post. Love the different tones in each photo. And your pup is darling!


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