Friday, July 11, 2014

seeking answers to things

“When I photograph, what I'm really doing is seeking answers to things.”

- Wynn Bullock

“This is one more piece of advice I have for you: don't get impatient. Even if things are so tangled up you can't do anything, don't get desperate or blow a fuse and start yanking on one particular thread before it's ready to come undone. You have to realize it's going to be a long process and that you'll work on things slowly, one at a time.”

-  Haruki Murakami

I've been trying to be patient with myself, with my life, as David Gray would say:

To keep myself sane, I remind myself not to pull on any of the threads, not yet. I've made my two month plan (which amounts to, 'let's just get through summer and try to enjoy it the best we can'), and the two year plan, (which is 'let's get our daughter through high school and then hopefully into the college or university of her choice.') And then after that, if we have to sell our house and move, we will. We'd rather not, but odds are that by then we'll be in so much debt the answer will be clear. And maybe that will be liberating. 

Just thinking about all this has me looking at my yard differently. We moved here 15 years ago, and it was a blank slate. Everything in the yard, we planted. I've always looked at the yard with the thought that it would always be ours. I suppose you could say I'm imagining how it would feel if it were otherwise, and I'm trying to detach myself a little. And maybe that's a good exercise, too. 

And now a little reminder, for myself, from Wendell Berry. I know many of you have read it here before.

How To Be a Poet

by Wendell Berry

                   (to remind myself)


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

There are no answers to things, only questions. But once in a while indecipherable messages in the form of spider webs. Perhaps a relative of Charlotte. Who knows what word was begun here.

Zen? Zany? Zeitgeist? Zest? Zhoosh? (admittedly I looked that one up....)

Well, let's go with Zen then.

May you find a place this weekend to sit down, be quiet, and breathe.....


  1. Ah, I think the life of an artist must be like a life devoted to uncertainty. I appreciate the advice of doubting your fans and yet I hope room may be made for a little faith in them, too. I just finished Calm Things (I am embarrassed to think how long I took to read it though I did like reading it slowly) and I LOVED it. Now, back to Asking...

    1. What a lovely thing to say.....thank you so much, Leigh. You've made my day.


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