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Joy in the body

A weekend sunset at the Point.

Winter: Tonight: Sunset
by David Budbill

Tonight at sunset walking on the snowy road,
my shoes crunching on the frozen gravel, first

through the woods, then out into the open fields
past a couple of trailers and some pickup trucks, I stop

and look at the sky. Suddenly: orange, red, pink, blue,
green, purple, yellow, gray, all at once and everywhere.

I pause in this moment at the beginning of my old age
and I say a prayer of gratitude for getting to this evening

a prayer for being here, today, now, alive
in this life, in this evening, under this sky.

(“Winter: Tonight: Sunset” by David Budbill, from While We’ve Still Got Feet. © Copper Canyon Press,  2005.)

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At home

The front yard, the front of the house, and the pond escaping its usual confines.

I’ve always tried to make a home for myself, but I have not felt at home in myself. I’ve worked hard at being the hero of my own life. But every time I checked the register of displaced persons, I was still on it. I didn’t know how to belong. Longing? Yes. Belonging? No.

~ Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

When you are born–what you are born into, the place, the history of the place, how that history mates with your own– stamps who you are, whatever the pundits of globalisation have to say.

~ Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

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A Monday meander: Winter and words

Winter fairy lights in the meadow.

The English language is a magnificent sponge. I love the English language. I’m glad that I speak it. But for all that, it has a lot of holes. In Greek, there’s a word, “lachesism” which is the hunger for disaster. You know, when you see a thunderstorm on the horizon and you just find yourself rooting for the storm. In Mandarin, they have a word “yù yī” — I’m not pronouncing that correctly — which means the longing to feel intensely again the way you did when you were a kid. In Polish, they have a word “jouska” which is the kind of hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head. And finally, in German, of course in German, they have a word called “zielschmerz” which is the dread of getting what you want.

~ John Koenig

If we were not here— the show would play to an empty house, as do all those falling stars which fall in the daytime. That is why I take walks: to keep an eye on things.

~ Annie Dillard

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Election day eclipse

Eclipsing.

The most important hour is always the present; the most significant person is precisely the one who is sitting across from you right now; the most necessary work is always love.

~ Meister Eckhart

Life is political, not because the world cares about how you feel, but because the world reacts to what you do. The minor choices we make are a kind of vote, making it more or less likely that free and fair elections will be held in the future. In the politics of the everyday, our words and gestures, or their absence, count very much.

~ Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

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A Monday meander: Back to the gardens

Clouds at sunrise this morning.

I have come to understand my spirituality as an ongoing internal lyrical state of consciousness, semi-consciousness and unconsciousness in which I find meaning, comfort, refuge, inspiration, mystery and strength.

It seems more like the dreaming of my inner child’s creaturely heart than my rational mind – although they are both interwoven. It is somewhat like music. It is like nature. It offsets the influence of my worried contemporary self or the hard speedy material world that would overwhelm me if it were not for this nourishing sense of otherworldliness, and the lyrical wisdom and feeling that arises there in my spiritual self.

With spirit, one is able to have and hold many feelings, and live a felt life. The spirit supports and negotiates between our feelings, instincts and intuitions. It is good at conflict resolution. It supports our prophetic vision and our creativity.  With spirit and feeling we may find a way through the darkness.

~ Michael Leunig, Spirituality, Art & Innocence

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The wisdom

Hanging around in the woods.

Nothing can be loved at speed, and I think we might be looking at the loss of love in the world due to the increased velocity of ordinary life; the loss of care, skill and attention enough to ensure the health and happiness of each other and the planet earth. It is a baffling problem and governments seem unable to recognize it, or do much about it at present. To put it as a bleak modern metaphor, there may be moments when we feel we are all aboard an airliner being flown into a mountainside by the unstoppable forces of an incomprehensible madness. Now seems like a good time to talk about spirituality, art and innocence.

~ Michael Leunig, When I Talk to You

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