We are a River (Lao Tzu)
We are a River (Lao Tzu)
Don't accept the modern myths of aging.
You are not declining.
You are not fading away into uselessness.
You are a sage,
a river at its deepest
and most nourishing.
Sit by a river bank some time
and watch attentively as the river
tells you of your life.
"How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?"
“The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them”
~ George Bernard Shaw
In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever believe
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks
~ "Just Now" by W. S. Merwin
... which seemed like a
visitation from the sun, urging me to tell you, in
case like me you had forgotten
we are the universe's latest way of blooming.
~ an excerpt from Untitled ["This poem is not meant for you"] by Willow Harth
Liza's arrival in New York, Nov. 1906 / She started from Krk, Croatia; her final destination is 1714 Master St. Camden, NJ / Uncle Josip met her in NY and bought her a new hat and took her to meet friend in New York before heading to Camden /
This is the city of Camden that Jelisava moved to: At the annual gathering of the Board of Trade last week the value of some of the city's manufactories was expressed something in this wise: "Camden has within its border a population of nearly 100,000 and shipbuilding firms that can either supply a launch or the greatest battleship; the larges lace curtain manufactory in America, a talking machine that speaks every known language; iron works that make enough pipe to girdle the earth: leather manufactories that tan skins from all parts of the globe; the larges furniture house whose products reach to the Philippines; banks and trust companies whose resources are not affected by panics; linoleum works which manufacture one-half the country's whole product; a plant whose kitchens annually make enough soup to float all the vessels built in our shipyards; a nickle works which furnishes Uncle Sam with material for slot machines; a department store, whose experiment has proved a decided success; pen works, which produce two-thirds of the pens used in the world; an expanded metal works -- the material produced there will stretch from Maine to Texas and its mills rival the largest.
So, with the thousands of homes, its scores of industries, its charitable institutions and the manifold creations of a modern civilization, Camden is a city which is not slow, which is always in the van of progress and municipal improvement in all lines of endeavor.
[Excerpted from "Camden, Now Eighty Years Old, is Proud of its Wonderful Growth, City on Saint Valentine's Day, Will Observe the Anniversary of Its Incorporation---Some Facts and Figures Concerning "Slow Town" Across the River", Philadelphia Inquirer; February 2, 1908]
"We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones."
~ Tomas Tranströmer
"Since I was a very small child, I've had a kind of reverence for the past, and I felt a very intimate connection with it. When I began, it was just being enthralled by the lives of the members of my family who -- really, it didn't seem to make any difference in day-to-day talk whether people were alive or dead. I'm one of these children who grew up at the knee of my grandmother and her elder sister, listening to very old people talk about their memories. And as I say, in their conversation, everything was as if it happened yesterday. And the dead were discussed along with the living. And the difference really didn't seem to matter. And I suppose this seeped into my viewpoint. Instead of thinking there was a wall between the living and the dead, I thought there was a very thin veil. It was almost as if they'd just gone into the next room."
~ Hilary Mantel
“There isn’t many days that go by that I don’t think of the good family I had and the wonderful times as a child on up to old age. We all didn’t have lots of money—but love for all we did have.” ~ Irma
"For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal."
~ 26 year-old US Syrian Aid Worker Kayla Mueller
"I realize there is something incredibly honest about trees in Winter, how they're experts at letting things go."
~ poet Jeffrey McDaniel
To converse with the greats
by trying their blindfolds on;
to correspond with books
by rewriting them;
to edit holy edicts,
and at the midnight hour
to talk with the clock by tapping a wall
in the solitary confinement of the universe.
~ "To Converse with the Greats" by Vera Pavlova
It was a beautiful day then and it was a beautiful day today. Standing on the steps of the church. Breezy but warm. Sit and soak up the sun. Sharp glass of wine. Crisp french fries. Air coming in the window. Happy and sad. Sun glinting lower now, but still bright.
Does this picture explain where my love of yoked sweaters comes from?
Looking forward to reading the new book about my favorite type of sweater to knit by Kate Davies: YOKES (eleven signature designs, with stories of the sweater that changed the shape of modern knitting). More yoke wonderfulness; here, and here.
yoke: that which joins or unites. There are many ways the word is used.
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
~ Samuel Coleridge, excerpt from Frost at Midnight
Perhaps this is exhibited nowhere more than in the class of insects called the "Praying Mantis"; this word mantis, you must know, comes to us from the Greek, and signifies "divine" or "diviner." In Central Africa it is an object of worship. Holding up its long front-legs as if in an attitutde of prayer, raised like arms to heaven, it appears the most saintly of insects; and among the superstitions of the poor Hottentos, if by any chance the praying mantis should happen to settle on his person it is considered a special divine favour, and the fortunate person so favoured immediately is looked upon as a saint.
~ from Solomon's Little People by James Crowther, 1882
Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, “time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.”
~ an excerpt from Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, edited by Mason Currey
"I'd be tender, I'd be gentle / And awful sentimental / Regarding love and art / I'd be friends with the sparrows / And the boy that shoots the arrows / If I only had a heart ..."
"In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart."
~ French mathematician, physicist, inventor, and writer Blaise Pascal
"You must walk sometimes perfectly free, not prying nor inquisitive, not bent upon seeing things. Throw away a whole day for a single expansion, a single inspiration of air."
~ Henry David Thoreau (The Writings of Henry David Thoreau)
"The seasons do not cease a moment to revolve, and therefore Nature rests no longer at her culminating point than at any other. If you are not out at the right instant, the summer may go by and you not see it."
~ Henry David Thoreau (The Writings of Henry David Thoreau: Journal, ed. by Bradford Torrey, 1837)
"How many claims has Absecon Beach upon the inhabitants of the Middle States, and more especially upon the people of Philadelphia. There, beneath the exhilarating influence of the saline air and surging surf, we take our summer's salty solace, and shuffle off the accumulation of fatigue under which a winter's weary work has made us suffer. There, too, we meet our old accustomed friends, not to buy and sell—not to talk horse, grain, or iron with them—not to waste the day in wordy wrangle with them about stocks, bonds, and the fluctuations of the gold market—but we meet them to read, convulsed with laughs, the funny bill of fare of an enterprising hotel keeper, who loves to make amusement for his friends by providing them with food for their risible, as well as for their corporeal appetites, and also by providing them with the true pleasure ever experienced in the poetry of motion at the gigantic hops, where the dancing toe keeps step alike, to the music of the band and the eternal symphony of old Ocean."
~ an excerpt from "Atlantic City: Its Early and Modern History," 1868, by Carnesworthe
"Why do birds fly? First, that's how they look for and procure food. Second, when seasons change and the weather grows cooler, they may migrate to warmer areas where there's more to eat. Third, zipping around in mid-air is how birds locate the materials they need to build nests. Fourth, it's quite helpful in avoiding predators. But ornithologists believe there is yet another reason: Birds fly because it's fun. In fact, up to 30 percent of the time, that's their main motivation. ... I invite you to match the birds' standard in the coming weeks. See if you can play and enjoy yourself and have a good time at least 30 percent of the time."
~ Rob Brezsny
"she had grown wary" ... "Assumptions that the earth would be there to meet her foot when she put it down, or that her body would remain upright without expressly willing it were no longer certain, & she found herself hesitating more than she used to, as though to give the world a chance to announce its true intentions."
~ an excerpt from the story "Leap" in the book "Alone With You" by Marisa Silver (via Mitza)
"It is the best of humanity, I think, that goes out to walk. In happy hours all affairs may be wisely postponed for this." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Country Life, 1857
“Your true kingdom is just around you, and your leg is your scepter. A muscular, manly leg, one untarnished by sloth or sensuality, is a wonderful thing.” ~ Alfred Barron, Foot Notes, Or, Walking as a Fine Art, 1875
Mosaic street sign-post in Ocean Grove, NJ
"... I forgot that we are no longer children: you cannot guess how much we men, and more than all, perhaps, we writers whose task it is to unravel the web of human actions, owe even to our own past errors; and if we learned nothing by the errors of others, we should be dull indeed. We must know where the roads divide, and have marked where they lead to, before we can erect our sign-post; and books are the sign-posts in human life."
~ an excerpt from "My Novel; Or, Varieties in English Life, Part 2" by Edward Bulwer Lytton
The mosaic art is one of the earliest known, and belongs quite to the infancy of civilization. The Chinese possess it with their other stationary arts from time immemorial; it was found among the primitive inhabitants of America, and in a more or less rude form among the earliest remains of nearly all nations. Some authors think it was invented by the Persians, ... After them the Assyrians are supposed to have taught this art to the Egyptians and the Greeks, from whom it passed to the Romans, who unquestionably used it with the greatest profusion, and carried it with them into all their provinces, including Gaul and Britain, as is abundantly proved by the innumerable examples which are found on the site of every Roman station or villa.
~ an excerpt from "Mosaic pictures in Rome and Ravenna: briefly described" by John Henry Parker, 1866
“She is our moon. Our tidal pull. She is the rich deep beneath the sea, the buried treasure, the expression in the owl's eye, the perfume in the wild rose. She is what the water says when it moves.”
~ Patricia A. McKillip, Solstice Wood
"Her face was beautiful from every angle..." [John Glassco writing in his memoir Memories of Montparnasse] / "All I need in life is an onion, a bit of bread and a bottle of red wine, and I'll always find someone to give me that..." [Kiki of Montparnasse]
"In old age wandering on a trail of beauty lively may I walk ..."
~ American Indian Chant
Mountain house glow
"But how are you to see into a virtuous Soul & know its loveliness? Withdraw into yourself & look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smooths there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work.
So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty & never cease chiseling your statue..."
~ an excerpt from Beauty by John O'Donohue (via Mitza)
Preying Mantis on the porch one evening
"Work like a slave; command like a king; create like a god."
~ Romanian sculpter Constantin Brancusi who made his career in Paris (he grew up close to the Carpathian Mountains, an area known for its traditional folk crafts like woodcarving; geometric patterns of the region can be seen in his works)