“There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences.” ~ Wallace Stegner, from All the Little Live Things

Web Droplets by Martyn Wright FCC

Web Droplets by Martyn Wright (FCC)

 “Perhaps it’s true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house—the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture—must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstitutred. Imbued with new meaning.” ~ Arundhati Roy, from The God of Small Things

Sunday early evening. Sunny and cooler, 57 degrees.

Drips by Ricardo Camacho FCC

Drips by Ricardo Camacho (FCC)

So much going through my brain, thoughts coming at me, bombarding my senses, leaving me feeling bruised and broken.

Last night as I lay in bed, sleep elusive once again, I began to wonder when it was, exactly, that I lost my strength, my fortitude, as it were. I used to consider myself such a strong person, a person able to weather storms, a person who could take the worst that life heaped on my plate and still, somehow, survive.

But now? Now I cannot find that strength. I search and search, and I only find weakness, and weakness is to be pitied, and pity? Pity is to be scorned. Who wants pity? At least if someone hates you, that hatred encapsulates a strong emotion. Pity bears nothing. It is hollow and useless.

“My mind is blank, as indifferent as the
noonday heat. But images of memories descend from afar and land in
the bowl of water, neutral memories, neither painful nor joyful, such as
a walk in a pine forest, or waiting for a bus in the rain, and I wash them
as intently as if I had a literary crystal vase in my hands.” ~ Mahmoud Darwish, from “A coloured cloud”

My heart feels old. My soul feels rent. My mind feels spent. And I have to wonder who decided that life should always be hard, that the good days should always have a shadow cast upon them. I have to wonder how other people survive in this world, this world so full of heartbreak and sorrow. How do the strong survive? How do the weak find the strength to try once again?

Rain on a Window Gabriele Diwald FCC

Rain on a Window by Gabrielle Diwald (FCC)

It’s all such a mystery to me. I can discern no patterns. Perhaps all of the patterns I once saw were only an illusion. It’s all too much like a fogged pane of glass, a window that steam has cloaked, and then that steam devolves into rivulets that run down the pane so quickly to nothing.

We sleep. We wake. We love, and we hate. We eat, and we cry, and we make love as if it were the last time. We lie and we steal, and we move against one another. We forge alliances and then just as easily break them. We speak decisively, and we wonder what we speak. We cling and we rend, and we scream until sound fails us. We fall and fall again. We turn and turn again.

“To be left with only the trace of a memory is to gaze at an armchair that’s still molded to the form of a love who has left never to return: it is to grieve, it is to weep.” ~ Orhan Pamuk, from The Black Book

At different points in my life, I have felt as if I knew exactly what fate had in store for me. So clear was the way ahead. So determined was the heart beating in my breast. And then at other times I have felt as if the roads that I took were actually part of one large labyrinth, seeming to move in one direction, when in actuality, every path reached a dead end.

Water Drops by Jo Naylor FCC

Water Drops by Jo Naylor (FCC)

The people around me search for answers and find none. The man on the corner, holding the tattered piece of cardboard declaring his humble wishes, talks to me of kittens. The woman moving so sure-footed down the hallway stops in her forward progress to ask if I need help. The son walks past me as if he does not see me until I call his name.

And you there, on the bed you have made, how does it feel? Was it everything you ever wanted? Or was it full of briars and thorns, hidden amidst the down?

“you will never let go, you will never be satiated.
You will be damaged and scarred, you will continue to hunger.” ~ Louise Glück, from “The Sensual World”

I speak in riddles because that it the only way I know through. Perhaps if I meander enough, I will once more find my way. Or perhaps if I meander too much, I will find myself completely lost.

Peony in Rain by James Mann FCC

Peony in Rain by James Mann (FCC)

The shore is not calm, and the moon is not high, and all of the stars in the universe are hidden from me because they contain truth. And this truth they have scattered here and there, placed a grain here in this broken shell, and another one there, in the knothole of that oak. I know this because I once found truth in the discarded hull of a walnut, and when I looked closely, I saw that its center was shaped like a heart. And I thought to myself, “At last. Here it is, at last.”

And I thought to place that small wooden heart safely under my pillow, where it would conjure restful nights of sleep and dreams, but when my fingers sought beneath my pillow, it was gone.

Truth is like that.

“There’s no understanding fate;” ~ Albert Camus, from “Caligula”

One day, I may actually find my place in this world, but more than likely not. I have no more right to peace of mind than the woman in line behind me at the grocery store, even though she seems to have found her calm place through Dr. Pepper and potato chips.

Rainy Day by Keshav Mukund Kandhadai FCC

Rainy Day by Keshav Mukund Kandhadai (FCC)

Can it be bought, this peace of mind? Can I find it amid the words I finger on the screen, as if prying them loose would free them to become realities? Is it hidden in the pages of sonnets an old lover once gifted me, or is it there, among the cornflowers growing absently in the cracked pavement of the parking lot?

Milton lost paradise, and I have yet to find it, but I came close once, so very close . . . but too soon I found that it had only been my imagination, running rampant once again. And so I stand at the shore, tempering my pulse to beat with the outgoing tide—its fierce syncopation ultimately forcing air into my lungs, even as I try to cease the sweep of time’s second hand none too well, if not at all.

More later. Peace.

Music by Angus and Julia Stone, “Draw Your Swords”

                   

It Rains

It rains
over the sand, over the roof
the theme
of the rain:
the long l s of rain fall slowly
over the pages
of my everlasting love,
this salt of every day:
rain, return to your old nest,
return with your needles to the past:
today I long for the whitest space,
winter’s whiteness for a branch
of green rosebush and golden roses:
something of infinite spring
that today was waiting, under a cloudless sky
and whiteness was waiting,
when the rain returned
to sadly drum
against the window,
then to dance with unmeasured fury
over my heart and over the roof,
reclaiming
its place,
asking me for a cup
to fill once more with needles,
with transparent time,
with tears.

~ Pablo Neruda

Happy New Year!

Some of my favorite images of fireworks from around the world:

Fireworks around Big Ben and the London Eye Peter McDiarmid Getty 2014

Fireworks around Big Ben and the London Eye
by Peter McDiarmid Getty 2014

Fireworks behind Berlin's Brandenburg Gate Tobias Schwartz AFP 2014

Fireworks behind Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate
byTobias Schwartz AFP 2014

GREECE-NEW YEAR

Fireworks near the Greek Parthenon

Mumbai fireworks Beautiful Pictures

Mumbai Fireworks
by Beautiful Pictures

Sydney Harbor 2015 Saeed Khan AFP

Sydney Harbor Fireworks
by Saeed Khan/AFP

Tokyo Japan fireworks Beautiful Pictures

Fireworks over Tokyo
by Beautiful PIctures

Toronto fireworks from Beautiful Pictures

Toronto Fireworks
by Beautiful Pictures

 

Two for Tuesday: Winged

Vaux's Swifts by A Edmonstone FCC

Vaux’s Swifts by A Edmonstone (FCC)


“I would stand caught in perfect balance in the interlight. In inescapable transitoriness I could have dissolved like a phantom into the swift black. I was marked out in peacefulness, and whole. When a dog barked, I started out of my rumination and breathed deeply, salty air, smell of crayfish, smell of damask rose, smell of clove and broadbean. I could smell the first early stars.” ~ Wilma Stockenström, from The Expedition to the Baobab Tree

Tuesday late. Cold, 40 degrees.

Cattle Egrets, Victoria, Australia ed dunens FCC

Cattle Egrets, Victoria, Australia by Ed Dunens (FCC)

I had Olivia overnight and part of today. I an unspeakably tired. I think I was dozing a bit in the rocking chair as she was talking to me. I had tried to get to sleep earlier last night as I knew that I would be up earlier, but as is the case most of the time, I simply could not.

My reading binge continues. I read another book this evening, another in the Pendergast series by Preston and Child, the latest. It was a good one. They went off course a bit with a three-book series about the protagonist’s wife, but this one was back with the mystery and a hint of mysticism. I’m fairly certain that I own all of the books in the series, but they are stored here and there. One day I am going to reread the entire series, first to last. I hate it when a previous book is referenced, and I cannot quite remember what happened.

Anyway, I had these two picked out for last week, but then . . . life . . . ah me . . . (by the way, I hate that my search for images of swifts brought up nothing by Taylor Swift. Argh)

More later. Peace.

                   

The Rescue, by caroline, FCC

The Rescue by caroline (FCC)

Swift

1.

into flight, the name as velocity,
a swift is one of two or three hundred
swirling over the post office smokestack.
First they rise come dusk to the high sky,

flying from the ivy walls of the bank
a few at a time, up from graveyard oaks
and back yards, then more, tightening to orbit
in a block-wide whirl above the village.
2.

Now they are a flock.  Now we’re holding hands.
We’re talking in whispers to our kind, who
stroll in couples from the ice cream shop
or bike here in small groups to see the birds.

A voice in awe turns inward; as looking
down into a canyon, the self grows small.
The smaller swifts are larger for their singing,
the spatter and high cheeep, the shrill of it.

3.

And their quick bat-like alternating wings.
And the soft pewter sky sets off the black
checkmark bodies of the birds as they skitter
like water toward a drain.  Now one veers,

dives, as if wing-shot or worse out of the sky
over the maw of the chimney.  Flailing—
but then pulling out, as another dips
and the flock reverses its circling.

4.

They seem like leaves spinning in a storm,
blown wild around us, and we are their witness.
Witness the way they finish. The first one
simply drops into the flue. Then four,

five, in as many seconds, pulling out of
the swirl, sweep down. So swiftly, we’re alone.
The sky is clear of everything but night.
We are standing, at a loss, within it.

~ David Baker

                   

Eagle Wings by Ricymar Photography FCC

Eagle Wings by Ricymar Photography (FCC)

Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

~ Joy Harjo

                   

Music by Gabrielle Aplin, “Salvation”

 

“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life.” ~ Richard Dawkins, from Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

“There is no frontier between being and appearing.” ~ Albert Camus, from “The Myth of Sisyphus”

Tuesday late. No idea what the weather is outside . . .

Dentist appointment today. The kind of appointment that leaves half of your mouth numb, thereby ensuring that you will dribble liquids down the side of your face for all the world to see . . . Anyway, thought I’d share something with you that showed up on my tumblr dash a few days ago:

Peter Chinn, producer of National Geographic’s “In The Womb: Extreme Animals” series, makes incredible use of 3D ultrasound scans, computer graphics, and nano cameras to create breathtaking images of unborn animals. Click here to see more.

10. Bats

Bats

11. Horse

Horse

8. Cheetah

Cheetah

“The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable. It is a deep aesthetic passion to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. It is truly one of the things that make life worth living”

~ Richard Dawkins, from Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

kindness

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James

Saturday afternoon. Rainy and windy, 55 degrees.

Oh I feel terrible. I missed my mother-in-law’s birthday on Tuesday, and that is a true misgiving on my part because she is the kindest woman I have ever known. I’ve been saving the video below just for her, and then because of the craziness that is my life, I forgot.

Mea culpa.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Joyce! I hope you had a lovely one.


 

Starry Nights time-lapse video by Jan Hattenbach:

StarryNights is a collection of astronomical time-lapse videos recorded of the last three years.

                   

A November Sunrise

Wild geese are flocking and calling in pure golden air,
Glory like that which painters long ago
Spread as a background for some little hermit
Beside his cave, giving his cloak away,
Or for some martyr stretching out
On her expected rack.
A few black cedars grow nearby
And there’s a donkey grazing.

Small craftsmen, steeped in anonymity like bees,
Gilded their wooden panels, leaving fame to chance,
Like the maker of this wing-flooded golden sky,
Who forgives all our ignorance
Both of his nature and of his very name,
Freely accepting our one heedless glance.

~ Anne Porter

Sunday afternoon . . .

“My brother once showed me a piece of quartz that contained, he said, some trapped water older than all the seas in our world. He held it up to my ear. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘life and no escape.’” ~ Anne Carson, from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry

Sunday afternoon. Drizzly and cool, 64 degrees.

Corey is outside with the chipper shredder processing all of the trees and shrubs that he and Mike cut down yesterday. It was a massive undertaking, but one that had to be done.

The pain from my trigger point injections on Friday is finally receding, which is a good thing because I have so many things that I need to do. We’ll see how much I’m able to accomplish. I have to say, though, that I’ll be really glad when that noise is over. Two days of really loud equipment going all out right outside my bedroom window is really hard on the head.

But then again, what isn’t?

Here. Have something pretty . . .

More later. Peace.

                   

Reblogged from All That is Odd:
source
Five Fascinating Beaches Around the World
Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California

Fort Bragg residents used to throw their garbage (including glass bottles) over a cliff onto the beach before it was outlawed in 1967. Over the decades the waves and sand have broken down the glass into smooth, rounded pieces.
(Photo: mlhradio/Flickr)

Jokulsarlon Lake – Iceland

The glacial lake is located in the Vatnajokull National Park, and the shore is filled with huge pieces of ice resting on black volcanic sand. But what really makes this beach unique is that during the winter, it is the perfect place to see the breathtaking northern lights.
(Photo: Ingo Meironke/Flickr)

Bowling Ball Beach – Schooner Gulch, California

The rocks at the Schooner Gulch State Beach are almost perfectly round due to a natural process called concretion.
(Photo: John K/Flickr)

Shell Beach – Shark Bay, Australia

This beach is home to billions of coquina bivalve shells instead of fine grains of sand. The water has a high salt concentration that attracts the shelled creatures.
(Photo: Stefan L/Flickr)

Maldives Beach – Republic of the Maldives

This beach in the Maldives lights up at night, thanks to microscopic organisms called bioluminescent phytoplankton. The organisms respond to changes in the water. Any movement will leave an impressive trail of bluish lights.
(Photo: Exilism/Flickr)

                   

Music by Sleeping at Last, “Ruby Blue”

“We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory. Like the images the photographer plunges into a golden bath, our sentiments take on color; and only then, after that recoil and that transfiguration, do we understand their real meaning and enjoy them in all their tranquil splendor.” ~ Georges Duhamel, from The Heart’s Domain

“La petite fille aux feuilles mortes” (Paris, 1947)
by Édouard Boubat

“Poetry does not exist: it must be made, endlessly searched for.”
~ Édouard Boubat, from The Monograph

Two for Tuesday: Celebrating National Poetry Day: October 2 (a bit late)

Tuesday afternoon. Partly cloudy and muggy, 76 degrees.

It shouldn’t be muggy, but then again, I should not be surprised that it is so. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 80’s. Is it any wonder that my body just doesn’t know what to do with itself?

Perhaps one day I shall live somewhere where the ushering in of autumn means actual consecutive days of cooler temperatures, a prelude to the cold weather of winter. Perhaps.

Anyway, I missed National Poetry Day, which is actually acknowledged in Britain, but hey. Poetry, right? This year’s theme is remember, or remembrance, or memory, or what have you. The Forward Arts Foundation site has more information on the day and the celebrations.

Here are a few of the remember poems listed on the site:

I remember, I remember by Thomas Hood
Do you remember an inn, Miranda? by Hilaire Belloc
Remember me when I am gone away by Christina Rossetti

I’ve chosen two of my favorites below. And to highlight the poetic theme, I thought that I’d use images by a photographer/photojournalist whose work was always described as being poetic: Édouard Boubat. I’ve always loved how his Lella images (taken when they were in their 20s) seemed to reflect her as being in the midst of deep contemplation.

                    

Lella,_Edouard_Boubat,_Bretagne,_1947

“Lella” (1947)
by Édouard Boubat

 What the Heart Cannot Forget

Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.

~ Joyce Sutphen

                   

Édouard Boubat Untitled 1948 Paris

Untitled (1948, Paris)
by Édouard Boubat

The Word

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

~ Tony Hoagland

All images are by French photographer Edouard Boubat (1923-1999).

                   

Music by Radical Face, “The Guilded Hand”