I walked to the Bay yesterday; mornings are muggy and hot. Looks like Isaias will not have much impact here. So July 2020 goes out with a whimper, not a bang (except for the ongoing regular noise of this crazy year).
I'm reading some of Thomas Merton's work again. This is from "Day of a Stranger."
"I am out of bed at two-fifteen in the morning when the night is darkest and most silent . . . I find myself in the primordial lostness of night, solitude, forest, peace, a mind awake in the dark, looking for a light . . . A light appears and in the light an ikon. There is now in the large darkness a small room of radiance with psalms in it . . .
The birds begin to wake. It will soon be dawn . . .
It is necessary for me to see the first point of light which begins to be dawn. It is necessary to be present alone at the resurrection of the Day, in that blank silence when the sun appears. In this completely neutral instant I receive from the Eastern woods, the tall oaks. the one word 'DAY,' which is never the same."
As the days go on and on, so much the same, with so little activity (we are of course still expected to stay in place as much as possible, so I only walk every day around the same two blocks), I awaken sometimes for two sometimes for three hours—and eventually arise to see the sun (which continues to appear each day now further south in the eastern sky), sometimes surrounded by clouds (and African dust) make a stunning appearance. A light appears and in the light an ikon with a psalm, to paraphrase Merton. Light, each day different, but still light amidst so much darkness.
I have now gone past my 80th year—and what a year this past one has been. Nor does it seem likely to get better anytime soon—Trump begins his campaign to deny the election is valid (if he loses, otherwise mail-in ballots will be fine with him); COVID 19 here in the US continues on and on and even seems to get worse; and hurricane season is upon us.
And still the seas ebb and flow, patient, persistent and present just to this moment, not concerned with the past or the future. Nor with the small creatures who do concern themselves with something other than this moment. Watching clouds form and turn so many different hues as the sun sets, I feel comfort even joyful. The world goes on, with me (us) or without me (us). There is comfort in that—and some perspective.
Grand Chrismatic Spring
Two years ago, I went to Yellowstone. I have visited many of the national parks and somehow Yellowstone didn't much impress me compared to the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, say—it felt like a Disneyland of a place. Perhaps the pace of my visit was too quick to absorb it all. This is one of the (supposedly) most impressive of locations in Yellowstone—I found it garish and unconvincing (I know, that makes no sense—it is after all, what it is). The colors still strike me as "too much," but I see now a little bit more what people find attractive about it.
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