Monday, August 25, 2014

on days of perfect and exact light


by Fernando Pessoa

Sometimes, on days of perfect and exact light
When things have all the reality they can,
I ask myself slowly
Why I even attribute
Beauty to things.

Does a flower somehow have beauty?
Somehow a fruit has beauty?
No: they have color and form
And existence only.
Beauty is the name of something that doesn’t exist
I give to things in exchange for the delight they give me.
It means nothing.
Then why do I say, “Things are beautiful”?

Yes, even I, who live only to live,
Invisible, they come to meet me,
Men’s lies in the face of things,
In the face of things that simply exist.

How difficult to be yourself and see only what you can!

“Despairing of human relationships (people were so difficult), she often went into her garden and got from her flowers a peace which men and women never gave her.”

- Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

A Voice that Calms

by Rumi

A voice that calms, movements that calm,
eyes that quiet - dreams that also do the
same, and enliven too....

Be a precious donor of peace and hope.
Give love to all you meet,

for so many in this world are being torn

Here is one strange thing I have learned, and go on learning, and need to constantly re-learn: the way to calm is in the attempt to transmit calm (though you may think or be very aware that you haven't arrived at the state yourself). To attempt to be a precious donor of peace and hope, as Rumi says. And in this way to: enliven others. 

All summer, maybe longer, I have been despairing. It seems an inevitable stance. It was out of my control. There is much to despair about. But through this despair, I've tried, and yes, at times failed, to transmit calm. Some days were less angst-filled than others, but then some piece of sad news would come, or another bill would arrive, and the future has seemed so uncertain and we forgot to count our blessings, because: despair.

And though nothing at all has changed and we watch friends and family members fight hard battles, and the bills sit on our desks, unpaid, and the news is enough to make you fall to your knees and sincerely and broken-heartedly weep every evening, suddenly, however undeserved, hope. That we will all be fine, we will make it. We will all be fine. Somehow, fine. Which is probably naive and stupid.

One evening this weekend, I went out into the backyard with Chloe, into the 'perfect and exact light' and she agreed to be a flower girl. And it seemed to make the world more beautiful and more endurable, and a very real delight.

From flowers we moved to bonsai.

And lastly, amused ourselves with books:


  1. My favourite is the photo of Chloe in which we see her one open eye behind the flowers. xo

  2. I've been following this blog for some months now. It's all inspiration, love beauty
    and pure passion for everything insightful and spontaneous. I am writing from
    Tunisia, and I think, I feel this is what we really need and look for..... Thank you so much.

    1. This really was so encouraging and lovely to read. I'm so happy you found this space.

  3. Wonderful selection of quotes today, I can't help but feel that Virginia is speaking for herself there. Despair is an awful, awful feeling and I wouldn't wish it to hang around you any longer and I really don't know which is more stupid or naive, to think that it is all fine, or that it isn't. Whatever the case may be, Chloe is looking the perfect muse for hope. xo

    1. I often get that sense when reading VW, too. Chloe is an excellent muse. She started her first sweater - I thought of you when we were at the knitting store picking out wool :) xo


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