From two Mary Oliver poems:
I. I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs.
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway,
what's wrong with Maybe?
II. Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood . . .
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company with those who
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
Everything in our lives somehow seems blurred now, moving somewhere both rapidly and at a tediously slow pace. Keep telling yourself, this too shall pass. And of course, it will.
Barry Lopez: "AS FAR BACK as I can remember . . . I've found the sea seen from shore, in almost any weather, mesmerizing and soothing. Perhaps its primary attraction has been its breadth, like a stage's, or the unbroken line of its meeting with the sky, or its inconstancy. Or the transparency of its colors, from the dark purple of prunes through tropical blues to the green of the verdigris that forms on oxidized copper." He goes on to describe being aboard a ship caught in a huge, fierce storm and writes: "What had for so long been an image of terror for me was now an image of perfection. Here was Earth's fundamental wildness, here was William Blake's sense of the Divine in chaos."
Last week Eta washed the beach here of any impressions, leaving a surface flat and smooth, and leaving this triplet of palms once again to reveal itself to me anew—an ikon of perfection in its own way.
Eta rains on, but is supposed to move on by this afternoon. 2020 surely has been a year to (not?) remember.
The Monday after: stormy week ahead, meteorologically and politically. While I'm happy with some of the election outcomes, I am left feeling somehow ambivalent. The way forward is far from clear—it's not even clear to me that there is much of a way forward. Less noise, less continual turmoil: that is welcome. Maybe for now (after Eta has passed) that is enough.
Two moments from earlier this morning struck me: 1) a post in an email which said that whatever happens tomorrow, we can expect stress, anxiety and disappointment to continue for a good long while, and 2) I looked out my window to see a hawk flying, swooping, ascending, descending, curving, curving back, swooping down in endless flight. These reminded me of this from Thomas Merton:
"We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of [the cosmic dance] . . .When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children . . . at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the 'newness,' the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
. . . The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not . . . the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance."