Friday, June 23
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"The happiest day I ever had was any day when I woke in the morning when I was a boy and I did not have to go to school or to work. In the morning I was always hungry when I woke and I could smell the dew in the grass and hear the wind in the high branches of the hemlock trees, if there was a wind, and if there was no wind I could hear the quietness of the forest and the calmness of the lake and I would listen for the first noises of morning. Sometimes the first noise would be a kingfisher flying over the water that was so calm it mirrored his reflection and he made a clattering cry as he flew. Sometimes it would be a squirrel chittering in one of the trees outside the house, his tail jerking each time he made a noise. Often it would be the plover calling on the hillside. But whenever I woke and heard the first morning noises and felt hungry and knew I would not have to go to school nor have to work, I was happier than I have ever been."
 - Ernest Hemingway
Islands in the Stream
the distance between two doors



Thursday, June 22
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Prelude
Waking up is a parachute jump from dreams.
Free of the suffocating turbulence the traveler
sinks toward the green zone of morning.
Things flare up. From the viewpoint of the quivering lark
he is aware of the huge root systems of the trees,
their swaying underground lamps. But above ground
there's greenery - a tropical flood of it - with
lifted arms, listening
to the beat of an invisible pump. And he
sinks toward summer, is lowered
in it's dazzling crater, down
through shafts of green damp ages
trembling under the sun's turbine. Then it's checked,
this straight-down journey through the moment, and the wings spread
to the osprey's repose above rushing waters.
The bronze-age trumpet's
outlawed note
hovers above the bottomless depths.

In day's first hours consciousness can grasp the world
as the hand grips a sun-warmed stone.
The traveler is standing under a tree. After
the crash through death's turbulence, shall
a great light unfold above his head?
 - Tomas Tranströmer



Wednesday, June 21
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"Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious ruler uniting all of a divided country - so I was told by the fortune-teller who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps behind you; it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference? Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller. All the rest is hypothesis and dream."
 - Louise Glück
Faithful and Virtuous Night



Tuesday, June 20
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I step out and suddenly notice this.

Summer arrives, has arrived, is arriving.

Birds grow less than leaves although they cheep, dip, arc, a call across the tall fence from an invisible neighbor to his child is heard right down to the secret mood and the child also hears.

One hears in the silence that follows the great desire for approval and love which summer holds aloft, all damp leeched from it like a thing floating out on a frail but perfect twig end.

Light seeming to darken in it yet glow.

Please, it says, but not with the eager and need of spring.

Come what may, says summer, smack in the middle I will stand and breathe, the future is a super fluidity I do not taste, no, there is no numbering here, it is a gorgeous swelling, no emotion, as in this love is no emotions, no, also no memory. We have it all now and all there ever was is us now.
 - Jorie Graham
from Later In Life
commonplace



Monday, June 19
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"Buddhists say that thoughts are like drops of water on the brain; when you reinforce the same thought, it will etch a new stream into your consciousness, like water eroding the side of a mountain. Scientists confirm this bit of folk wisdom: our neurons break connections and form new pathways all the time."
 - Caitlin Doughty



"I seek the truth," said the young monk. "Where is the entrance to the path of Buddhism?"
Master Hsuan-sha replied, "Do you hear the murmuring of that stream?"
"Yes," the monk replied.
The Master said, "There is the entrance."



Sunday, June 18
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There's a book called
A Dictionary of Angels.
No one has opened it in fifty years,
I know, because when I did,
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered

The angels were once as plentiful
As species of flies.
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them.
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away.

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.
 - Charles Simic
from In the Library
[for Octavio]
The Book of God's and Devils
The Library of Congress



Saturday, June 17
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The Ordinary Life
To rise early, reconsider, rise again later
to papers and the news. To smoke a few if time
permits and, second-guessing the weather,

dress. Another day of what we bring to it -
matters unfinished from days before,
regrets over matters we've finished poorly.

Just once you'd like to start out early,
free from memory and lighter for it.
Like Adam, on that first day: alone

but cheerful, no fear of the maker,
anything his for the naming; nothing
to shrink from, nothing to shirk,

no lot to carry that wasn't by choice.
And at night, no voice to keep him awake,
no hurry to rise, no hurry not to.
 - Tracy K. Smith
(U.S. Poet Laureate)
Ordinary Light









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