Jenny Lake, Cascade Canyon, Grand Tetons
"To feel and speak the astonishing beauty of things—earth, stone and water . . .
And unhuman nature its towering reality . . .
And water and sky are constant—to feel,
Greatly, and understand greatly, and express greatly,
Beauty, is the sole business of poetry."
Not sure about the "sole" business, but I think an important part of the business of photography is to do this too.
Another month (at least) to go of staying in (except to walk). I suppose it's a sort of (forced) retreat. Yesterday lots of clouds but no rain; March had 0.1 of an inch. Cool mornings, warm to hot afternoons. Stay well everyone.
It was early,
which has always been my hour
to begin looking
at the world
and of course,
even in the darkness,
listening into it . . .
Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.
Our restrictions continue to deepen; while this view is about a block away, we're told not to go there: we are to remain on campus (including the sidewalk around campus). I got groceries delivered yesterday and I didn't go to the barber while I still could, so I will soon be returning to my 70s' "hippie" look. Such interesting memories; such difficult times now. Stay safe everyone.
I'm reading Paul Kingsnorth's "Savage Gods"; I quoted some of it yesterday; here's some more of what he has to say:
"every cell burns with the true light when you realize, in some tremendous moment—some kiss, some death, some echo across a midnight lake—the high, thin, oxygenless truth of being here". And, "(l)ate May. I am in the field, scything the grass and the docks down. I am mowing shirtless in the rain . . . and suddenly, in an instant and just for an instant, I am here. I am nowhere else. I am the field and the motion of the scythe and the falling of the rain and the movement of the muscles in my back and shoulders, the sideways motion of my stiff hips and I think nothing at all. I just mow. I just move. I just am. For a moment I just am.
Sometimes, when you least expect it, you are given a gift."
Grace, enlightenment, call it what you will, but certainly, a gift.
When I read about Republicans and "conservatives" willing to sacrifice human lives for the sake of their stock portfolios I am left feeling so angry (although not surprised) that I find it hard to speak. I watched Trump's bumbling, self-congratulatory, self-serving (he wants his hotels open by Easter) news conference yesterday (though I know better than to do such a self-flagellating act), I wasn't so much angry as bemused—how can anyone not see what he is and what his toadies are? (Fauci may be a modern day saint). What can one say in the face of this that is helpful instead of hurtful? Pray, meditate, go for a walk (if you're allowed to?) and look at the world which goes on its way, not paying attention to human frailty and hubris.
Perhaps it's self-deceptive, but in these crazy times, I still find some comfort in things like what Paul Kingsnorth wrote: "it's something I've believed in—no, it's something I've felt--for as long as I can remember . . . That was what I wanted: to live in a culture which thinks the world is a sacred thing, for which reality is . . . a flaming hoop, whose language is the language of beauty and fire, which sings to the forest and expects it to hear. I have always wanted to be part of a culture which walks through the wild world as if it were of it, which doesn't talk of . . . profit or growth but talks and lives as if this way of speaking were the poisonous bullshit that it so obviously is."
Warmer days, highs in the 80s. Spring is here. The Coronavirus continues to spread in Florida; shelves are empty, more and more places close (Clearwater beach is closed as of Monday). We live in interesting times.
In this perplexing, perilous present, these words from Brian Doyle seem appropriate:
"As a fan's notes for grace, a quavery chant against the dark, I sing a song of things that make us grin and bow, that just for an instant let us see sometimes the web and weave of merciful, the endless possible, the incomprehensible, inexhaustible yes.
Such as, for example, to name a few:
The way the sun crawls over the rim of the world every morning like a child's face rising from a pool all fresh from the womb of the dark, and the way jays hop and damsel-flies do that geometric aero-amazing thing and bees inspect and birds probe and swifts chatter . . ." [and rivers flow through a forest] "Look, I know very well that brooding misshapen evil is everywhere, in the brightest houses and the most cheerful denials, in what we do and what we have failed to do, and I know all too well that the story of the world is entropy, things fly apart, we sicken, we fail, we grow weary, we divorce, we are hammered and hounded by loss and accidents and tragedies. But I also know, with all my hoary muddled heart, that we are carved of immense confusing holiness, that the whole point for us is grace under duress, and that you either take a flying leap at nonsensical illogical unreasonable ideas like marriage and marathons and democracy and divinity, or you huddle behind the wall. I believe that the coolest things there are cannot be measured, calibrated, calculated, gauged, weighed, or understood except by sometimes having a child patiently explain it to you, which is another thing that should happen far more often to us all. In short I believe in believing, which doesn't make sense. which gives me hope."
Gerald May: "I was feeling an increasingly passionate yearning for . . . something. I called it my longing for God . . . but I could just as well said it was a longing for love, for union, for fully being in life, for being vitally connected with everything . . . This particular yearning, I now know, had been with me all my life. It was the power behind my striving, the reason for my ambition, the need that fired all the energies of my life. It was my eros, my passion, my relentlessness of spirit."
Reminder: By clicking on the image, a larger image will appear.
The coronavirus is affecting us: my retirement community is no longer taking us off campus, so getting groceries and meds will be more difficult, since I don't drive and riding the bus seems unwise. Oh well, at this age, it's just one damned thing after another.
The image above of the Tetons reminds me of something Gerald May wrote:
"The Allegheny foothills always surprise me . . . I'm driving along and the hills are not there, then suddenly, even when I know to expect them, they appear as if they had just decided to show up. A surprise of beauty. As I see them now, though, I sense more than their beauty; it's a deep homecoming, welcoming feeling. I could swear the mountains are reaching out for me, as if they have palpable arms opening, guiding, ready to take me in. Everything in me relaxes at this. I want to be taken in."
That's similar to what I felt when I landed in Jackson: suddenly the mountains are right there, alongside the runway, thrusting themselves up from the plain, announcing that they are here, waiting. A surprise of beauty indeed!