Mark Doty: "Don't go in fear of that which has been looked at again and again . . . The challenge is to look at the familiar without the expected scaffolding of seeing, and the payoff is that such a gaze feels enormously rewarding; it wakes us up, when the old verities are dusted off, the tired approaches set aside."
And as our lockdowns continue or may even deepen, what else can we do but look again? And when I look again, I often see something I didn't see before—sometimes something unique and hopeful.
Wouldn't it be nice to say that in 8 days this present madness will be over? Probably not, though.
Paul Kingsnorth: "I would like to tell you a few things about this virus and the lessons it should be teaching us, all the things we should be learning . . . Now I will say what I believe: that this civilization will not learn anything from this virus. All this civilization wants to do is to get back to normal . . . We should be saying: no more normal. Not now, not ever."
" . . . The sea scumbles in
From its own inviolate border under the sky."
And this summarizes something true for my work:
"Whatever happens. Whatever what is is is what I want."
grass in late
sun, its scratches of
sky: how could this routine
sight feed me
so perfectly? Feed me,
feed me, and keep
Glacier Point, Yosemite
John Muir: "Keep close to Nature's heart, yourself; and break clear away once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean from the earth-stains of this sordid, gold-seeking crowd in God's pure air. It will help you in your efforts to bring to these people something better than gold."
Wise advice, especially in 2020 with its pandemic, election and dysfunctional politics.
Aldo Leopold: "The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: 'What good is it?'"
"To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part."
. . . from swerve of shore to bend of bay . . .
Mark Doty: "It sounds like a simple thing, to say what you see. But try to find words for the shadow of a mottled sassafras leaf, or the reflection of a bay on an August morning, or the very beginnings of desire stirring in the gaze of someone looking right into your eyes, and it immediately becomes clear that all we see is slippery, nuanced, elusive. As Susan Mitchell says, 'the world is wily, and doesn't want to be caught.'"
Re Tuesday night: Is there really anything helpful to say about this? Truth about it is obvious; anyone who still doesn't get it is hopeless (in so many senses). The best anyone can do in response to the chaos is to VOTE! Whether or not that works, we will have to wait and see. And remember, the Dao or the Spirit or whatever you think of reality as being filled with is still at work. It can be difficult to see, but it is still at work, whether we can recognize it right now or not.
Robert Adams: "Form in a picture is justified by our experience of wholeness (coherence) in life, and if we are to be convincingly reminded by art of such experience then the shape in art has to be believably tentative, as fragile as meaning seems to be in life, as problematic even as the future is . . ."