Monday, October 27, 2014

five hundred lives

"What more could you want? Siddhartha said
someone who brushes against you in the street
has shared an experience with you for five hundred lives."

- Mary Ruefle from "Talking to Strangers"

"Of all the pitfalls in our paths and the tremendous delays and wanderings off the track I want to say that they are not what they seem to be. I want to say that all that seems like fantastic mistakes are not mistakes, all that seems like error is not error; and it all has to be done. That which seems like a false step is the next step."

- Agnes Martin
from Writings

To Know the Dark

by Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

The Real Work

by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

It's like this for creative people. You go forward for a time into the light, and then, it will be dark. After a while you will no longer know what to do. You work. And that, perhaps, is the real work.

It all had to happen, it all has to have been done.

For the first part of your writing life, you might wonder, should I be doing this. You're filled with doubt. Later, there is less doubt. A little less. It's not even so much resolve as it is that one becomes helpless to not do the work.

The path is the path. There will always be tremendous delays. You will always be lost. Some days you will have great dark wings, or glorious coloured ones. More often, you will be on your knees, groping. At times the path will bloom and sing. Other times, a silence so great.

What more could you want?


  1. powerful words and images here today.

  2. I keep returning to that first image. Amazing!

  3. Thx Tammy and Manisha. I was fond of that first one myself :)

  4. Yes, so very true. I think this can also be applied any kind of "calling" a little off the beaten track, too. Beautiful photos, Shawna!


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