Quotes to like or puzzle over: “There comes a time when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real.” ― James Salter, All That Is
So many artists of all ilks, writers, painters, poets, dreamers, have all sung of the powers that live in the woods. Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” gives us the Faeire Queene that came from Spencer. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote of a world containing evil in the darkness of the great forests, or at least in the mixing of medicines from the herbs and flowers gathered there. There are the robed monks that wander the wonderland, working their magic, white and black. Today’s writers of horror stories continue the tradition, (e.g., “The Cabin in the Woods” along with others). Even children’s songs: “Don’t go down to the woods today…the day the teddy bears have their picnic…” (A mixed message, that.)
Father Christmas—much older than our Santa Claus, came from an old English folklore, and didn’t he walk through the woods? Originate there?
And the Tree! Our beautiful, green, pinetree, cut from the forest and brought into our homes. That tree of Pagan origin, symbolizing everything grown and come to life from the forest deep—is brought to us by the woodman through snow and dreams.
Pagan & Christian, White & Black—through the woods.
You will be walking some night in the comfortable dark of your yard and suddenly a great light will shine round about you, and behind you will be a wall you never saw before. It will be clear to you suddenly that you were about to escape, and that you are guilty: you misread the complex instructions, you are not a member, you lost your card or never had one. And you will know that they have been there all along, their eyes on your letters and books, their hands in your pockets, their ears wired to your bed. Though you have done nothing shameful, they will want you to be ashamed. They will want you to kneel and weep and say you should have been like them. And once you say you are ashamed, reading the page they hold out to you, then such light as you have made in your history will leave you. They will no longer need to pursue you. You will pursue them, begging forgiveness. They will not forgive you. There is no power against them. It is only candor that is aloof from them, only an inward clarity, unashamed, that they cannot reach. Be ready. When their light has picked you out and their questions are asked, say to them: “I am not ashamed.” A heron will begin his evening flight from the hilltop.
Photo: “Grand Heron” by Ardea Herodias Poem originally posted by Luis Alberto Urrea, 2012
Tao & Zen· 28 November · “Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart. Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement, [to] get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.
Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.
Prayer begins at the edge of emptiness. Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge. Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy. We can never sneer at the stars, mock the dawn, or scoff at the totality of being.
Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. The primary purpose of prayer is not to make requests. The primary purpose is to praise, to sing, to chant. Because the essence of prayer is a song, and man cannot live without a song.
When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people. Know that every deed counts, that every word is power… Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.”
~Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972)
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment—whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary—as cosy, charming or special.
From my Danish roots, here comes that word that captures the feeling of warmth in a cold but beautiful clime. Ah yes, to visit there, to sit in front of the fireplace, stockinged feet up on the coffee table, books a tumble, hot chocolate in hand.
This is not cold when you have pleasured in a Winter’s Day, when the warmth of snow encircles, when tiny lights match the diamonds in the sun and moon-lit accumulations of snowflakes. That’s when your breath merges with air to make a whispered music. It’s not cold, when you’re not too old to make angels in the snow, when you can dream of other worlds where snowflakes ring like softened chimes.
That’s when someone’s mother makes the porridge with lemon and vanilla so that it, too, sparkles and sings in front of the red-cheeked children, fresh from sledding or skating, embraced by light worn as snow into the self of home.
That’s when Winter is childhood. When Winter is home.
BBC One· A herd of elephants marched 12 hours to the house of Lawrence Anthony after he died – the man who saved them. They stayed there silent for two days.
Exactly one year after his death, to the day, the herd marched to his house again. It is something that science cannot explain.
But I don’t think science should, or needs to explain. Science needs to learn. Elephants grieve, and respect. Elephants know how to pay homage to someone who is deserving, and how to say thank you. We, human kind, need to learn how to be more like animals, like elephants.
As my birthday is now gone, I can say it was. I’m not fond of saying that it is. I’ve not been interested in birthdays since the milestone days: 18, 21, and 30. After that it has seemed mostly inconsequential, especially to celebrate. Not avoidance, more like a no matter. A shrug of the shoulders.
But today I did see this poem posted, a lovely toast to the days as we mark them gone.
Poem and photo posted by Mauri Fox & Kathy Gallo
I Am Not Old I am not old…she said I am rare. I am the standing ovation At the end of the play. I am the retrospective Of my life as art I am the hours Connected like dots Into good sense I am the fullness Of existing. You think I am waiting to die… But I am waiting to be found I am a treasure. I am a map. And these wrinkles are Imprints of my journey Ask me anything. ~ Samantha Reynolds
And this coat has special significance for me as it’s a coat that reoccurs in my life. It is the coat that was first found on Billy the priest as we were kid-adults together in Michigan. He was quite heavyset then, and the coat looked fabulous on him. (He was not a priest at the time.) One of the first novels I wrote, “Last House” has a character in it who has such a coat. He is a character of some merit and all of the people who read the MS loved him. He is also heavyset and a very proud and kind man. When I think of the coat I can feel it, so warm and wonderful, and furry.
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
― Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu is credited with writing The Tao, although like many works from that many years ago and transcribed, and from the eastern culture before the birth of Christ, his authorship is disputed. The 10,000 things are in the Tao. And for our records, Tao is pronounced Dao. The Tao is translated as The Way. And this in turn gives new meaning to what the mice say when they say, “The waaaaayyyy things are.” Those mice are very smart fellows, that.