53 posts categorized "Travel"

Life is a mystery

Cafes at night in a livable city / Ljubljana, Slovenia / May 2005

Cleaning off my desk trying to make some space in my mind and calm the demons I find a scrap of paper that says: A mystery is not the same as a puzzle.

Light up the silence

Guatemalan weaving on my christmas tree helps send K on her way to Guatemala / Jan 2009

The night begins,
when the moon
—Grandmother of the villages—
comes out with her lime-white candle
to light up the silence.

The darkness
hides in the canyons,
the small birds
roll up their songs
and the trees
lie on their own shadows.

The grandmother
who hasn’t slept for centuries
into the eyes of the night.

~ the grandmother by Guatemalan poet Humberto Ak'abal
His poems “speak for a people still close to the earth, whose language allows us to enter a world that still recognizes the divine aliveness of nature.”

Throw open the windows


A garden on the windowsills / Ljubljana, Slovenia / May 2005

O what daybreak in the windows! Cannons salute.
The basket boat of Moses floats down the green Nile.
Standing immobile in the air, we fly over flowers:
Lovely carnations and tulips placed on long low tables.
Heard too are hunting horns exclaiming hallali.
Innumerable and boundless substances of the Earth:
Scent of thyme, hue of fir, white frost, dances of cranes.
And everything simultaneous. And probably eternal.
Unseen, unheard, yet it was.
Unexpressed by strings or tongues, yet it will be.
Raspberry ice cream, we melt in the sky.

~ Czeslaw Milosz

A line of continuity


Traveling shoes / Mountain House / Aug. 2008

How strange life is! How incomprehensible! As if I returned from it as from a long journey and tried to remember where I had been and what I had done. I can't quite manage it, and the most difficult part is trying to see myself there. I had intentions, motivations. I made decisions, performed acts. Yet from here that man seems so irrational and absurd. As if he did not act, but was activated by forces that made use of him. For, after all, I wrote many books, here they are, and there he is; how to trace between him and them a line of continuity?

~ poet Czeslaw Milosz

Steps like a smooth dance floor


A city that sits on the edge of the sea filled with steps like a smooth dance floor / Dubrovnik, Croatia / June 2001

“The city stopped at the point of my pen. And power multiplied like steps on a smooth dance floor. And the evening’s necklace, like eyes strung on the track of the dark, began to rustle.
    Meshed summers behind the doors of houses and inhabitants from quiet shadows sensed this prismatic joy in the bready warmth of the sun and deaf peace of the rain.
    It happened at a troubled hour when all that is red pales, when all that is yellow quiets, when every shadow rests on the oars and sails, and when a darkened track hovers over all, for no clear reason.
    And I recognised at once that condensation of violet. Of course I did: in place of the edge of the sky a city had stopped at the point of my pen.
    And I watch it, and I watch myself, standing here at the edge of the table, and my gaze is a border of lights and of angles, intricate and lazy, because it belongs to me; while  roofs and towers come down the darkened corridor, islands and seas come, sounds and city-squares come. While I go by.”

~ Stairway by Croatian poet Gordana Benic

Having a fine time


Old Postcard from the wonderful collection at the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History / Beach Haven, NJ / July 2008

               “Dear Lucille, I wish you
were here I am having a fine time. We
are staying at the Seaside Hotel.
     Gladys Supplee.”

I just love the phrase “I am having a fine time.”
My dictionary lists 15 definitions for the adjective fine and the 2nd one is very satisfactory, enjoyable — and its example sentence is “We are having a fine time.” A search of the phrase reveals that it was frequently written on postcards mailed in the first half of the 20th century. It was such a popular phrase that many postcards had “Having a fine time” pre-printed on them.

Forever boy


Riding my bike right on and on / Beach Haven, NJ / Aug. 2006

“ALL day and many days I rode,   
My horse’s head set toward the sea;   
And as I rode a longing came to me   
That I might keep the sunset road,   
Riding my horse right on and on,   
O’ertake the day still lagging at the west,   
And so reach boyhood from the dawn,   
And be with all the days at rest.   

For then the odor of the growing wheat,   
The flare of sumach on the hills,   
The touch of grasses to my feet   
Would cure my brain of all its ills,—   
Would fill my heart so full of joy   
That no stern lines could fret my face.   
There would I be forever boy,
Lit by the sky’s unfailing grace.”

~ A Wish, By Hamlin Garland

Whither we will walk


“We'll go for a walk, we'll have a nice talk; On the dirt road, Hey — there's a dead toad; It's just a mile, back with a smile'; We're goin' round the lake” (We Ain't Goin' Nowhere, Mountain House Version, 6) / Mountain House / Sept. 2005

“What is it that makes it so hard sometimes to determine whither we will walk? I believe that there is a subtile magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. It is not indifferent to us which way we walk. There is a right way; but we are very liable from heedlessness and stupidity to take the wrong one. We would fain take that walk, never yet taken by us through this actual world, which is perfectly symbolical of the path which we love to travel in the interior and ideal world; and sometimes, no doubt, we find it difficult to choose our direction, because it does not yet exist distinctly in our idea.”

~ Thoreau, from Walking