n. a feeling of resonant connection with an author or artist you’ll never meet, who may have lived centuries ago and thousands of miles away but can still get inside your head and leave behind morsels of their experience, like the little piles of stones left by hikers that mark a hidden path through unfamiliar territory.
n. the eerie tranquillity of fast-moving clouds, who pass through your patch of sky like a wind-weary drifter stepping into your entryway to warm up for a minute, ruffling the ice from his beard before he nods his gratitude, closes his ragged coat and youthful eyes and turns back into the air.
adj. yearning to move into a photo from a hundred years ago, to wade into the blurred-edge sepia haze that hangs in the air between people in hats and petticoats who walk the bare earth, who leer stoically into this dusty and dangerous future, whose battered shoes are anchors locked fast in the fantasy that none of it risks turning out any other way but the way it happened, which is just as well to you because the food’s 100% organic.
n. the temptation to step off your career track and become a shepherd in the mountains, following your flock between pastures with a sheepdog and a rifle, watching storms at dusk from the doorway of a small cabin, just the kind of hypnotic diversion that allows your thoughts to make a break for it and wander back to their cubicles in the city.
n. a kind of melacholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details—raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee—which leads to a dawning awareness of the haunting fragility of life, a mood whose only known cure is the vuvuzela.
adj. entranced and unsettled by the vastness of the universe, experienced in a jolt of recognition that the night sky is not just a wallpaper but a deeply foreign ocean whose currents are steadily carrying off all other castaways, who share our predicament but are already well out of earshot—worlds and stars who would’ve been lost entirely except for the scrap of light they were able to fling out into the dark, a message in a bottle that’s only just now washing up in the Earth’s atmosphere, an invitation to a party that already ended a million years ago.