Thursday, February 23
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"Wherever we go, there seems to be only one business at hand - that of finding workable compromises between the sublimity of our ideas and the absurdity of the fact of us."
 - Annie Dillard



"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order - willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern."
 - Annie Dillard
The Writing Life
commonplace




Tuesday, February 21
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"We're only here for a short while. And I think it's such a lucky accident, having been born, that we're almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are - as far as we know - the only part of the universe that's self-conscious. We could even be the universe's form of consciousness. We might have come along so that the universe could look at itself. I don't know that, but we're made of the same stuff that stars are made of, or that floats around in space. But we're combined in such a way that we can describe what it's like to be alive, to be witnesses. Most of our experience is that of being a witness. We see and hear and smell other things. I think being alive is responding."
 - Mark Strand



Sunday, February 19
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"There is no less holiness at this time - as you are reading this - than there was on the day the Red Sea parted, or that day in the 30th year, in the 4th month, on the 5th day of the month as Ezekiel was a captive by the river Cheban, when the heavens opened and he saw visions of god. There is no whit less enlightenment under the tree at the end of your street than there was under Buddha's bo tree. In any instant the sacred may wipe you with its finger. In any instant the bush may flare, your feet may rise, or you may see a bunch of souls in trees."
 - Annie Dillard
For the Time Being



Saturday, February 18
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What I like about the trees is how
They do not talk about the failure of their parents
And what I like about the grasses is that
They are not grasses in recovery
And what I like about the flowers is
That they are not flowers in need of empowerment or validation. They sway
Upon their thorny stems
As if whatever was about to happen next tonight
was sure to be completely interesting
 - Tony Hoagland



Friday, February 17
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"We probably ought to be careful about deciding we're feeling offended; it can get old after a while.
The seat of offendedness (like the seat of judgment) can be a real tricky spot to occupy. Before we know it, it can become a twenty-four-hour-a-day job. It becomes all we're known for, and when we're all caught up in all the things we're against, we forget the beauty of the things we're supposed to be for. We forget what the kingdom of God looks like and all the wonderfully odd characters taking up residence there. We forget to revel in dappled things. We forget we're dappled."
 - David Dark
Everyday Apocalypse



Thursday, February 16
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"When I label people, I no longer have to deal with them thoughtfully. I no longer have to feel overwhelmed by their complexity, the lives they live, the dreams they have. I know exactly where they are inside - or forever outside - my field of care, because they've been taken care of. The mystery of their existence has been solved and filed away before I've had a chance to be moved by them or even begun to catch a glimpse of who they might be. They've been neutralized. There's hardly any action quite so undemanding, so utterly unimaginative, as the affixing of a label. It's the costliest of mental shortcuts."
 - David Dark
your eyes blaze out
take me to mountains



Wednesday, February 15
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"Think of a globe, a revolving globe on a stand.

What if you had an enormous globe that was so huge it showed roads and houses - a geological survey globe, a quarter of a mile to an inch - of the whole world, and the ocean floor! Looking at it, you would know what had to be left out: the free-standing sculptural arrangement of furniture in rooms, the jumble of broken rocks in the creek bed, tools in a box, labyrinthine ocean liners, the shape of snapdragons, walrus. Where is the one thing you care about on earth, the molding of one face? The relief globe couldn't begin to show trees, between whose overlapping boughs birds raise broods, or the furrows in bark, where whole creatures, creatures easily visible, live out their lives and call it world enough. What do I make of all this texture? What does it mean about the kind of world in which I have been set down? The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is a possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek."
 - Annie Dillard
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek



Tuesday, February 14
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Love, too, a leveler, a dying all its own,
the parts left behind not to be replaced,
a loss ongoing, and every day increased,
like rising in the night, at 3:00 am,
to watch the snow or the dead leaf fall,
the rings around the streetlight in the rain,
and then the rain, the red fist in the heart
opening and closing almost without me.
 - Stanley Plumly
from Variation on a Line from Elizabeth Bishop's Five Flights Up
poetry foundation



Sunday, February 12
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Vows
I feel my failure intensely
as if it were a vital organ
the gods grew from the side of my head.
You can't cover it with a hat and I no longer
can sleep on that side it's so tender.
I wasn't quite faithful enough
to carry this sort of weight up the mountain.
When I took my vows at nineteen
I had no idea that gods were so merciless.
Fear makes for good servants
and bravery is fraudulent. When I awoke
I wasn't awake enough.
 - Jim Harrison
Dead Man's Float









  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov