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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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Walktober delights

Shall we do this again next year? (A sign on the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD on a misty day.)

None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze.

~ Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking

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