You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
You do not have to be good.
"There's a point where you can give up on winter--when temptation can enter your soul, prying its way in like cold air through the cracks in your cabin--around January sixteenth or so, and this can make you realize that February's coming, and beyond February, March.
See, I don't yet realize that March will be the hardest month. Early February's the coldest, and often the snowiest, but March, strange, silent March, will be the hardest.
The danger in yielding to thoughts of spring--green grass, hikes, bare feet, lakes, fly-fishing, rivers, and sun, hot sun--is that once these thoughts enter your mind, you cant get them out.
Love the winter. Don't betray it. Be loyal.
When the spring gets here, love it too--and then the summer.
But be loyal to the winter, all the way through--all the way, and with sincerity--or you'll find yourself high and dry, longing for a spring that's a long way off, and winter will have abandoned you, and in her place you'll have cabin fever, the worst.
The colder it gets, the more you've got to love it."
~Rick Bass fr. Winter -Notes from Montana
at 1:44 PM
For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
at 11:30 AM
"when people experiencing magical things in their life, that secret is the answer to all of those questions - why is this sacred? why does this feel larger than myself? why can't i put this into words? i think that's the secret. i think that's the connection that we have to one other."
- bon iver in an npr interview
at 10:28 AM
Things in their most basic form
are the hardest to put words around:
the winged tail of a shrimp.
a freshly washed pillow case,
growing crisp in the autumn air.
The late winter sun
quenching itself on a bowlful
of snow. The half moon
in your right thumbnail.
What I mean is this—
after the long ride home
when the grass is wet, and the dishes
have been dried, and the wrinkles
have begun to set themselves
in lines more broad
than fine, there will be you—
asleep. Your head in its infinite state
of undress. Each hair
set upon another
wrestling against the grains,
that by some unwritten rule,
must form in your blue eyes.
There will be you, again.
Alight, aloft, adrift,
in my arms alone.
There will be you
and we will be
-M. C. Boyes
at 8:25 AM
Starting Again from Barbara Kingsolver from High Tide in Tucson
Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job or a limb or a loved one, a graduation, bringing a new baby home: it's impossible to think at first how this will all be possible. Eventually, what moves it all forward is the subterranean ebb and flow of being alive among the living.
In my own worst seasons I've come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a singular glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full , dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, i have taught myself joy , over and over again.
It is not such a wide gulf to cross, then, from survival to poetry. We hold fast to the old passions of endurance that buckle and creak beneath us, dovetailed, tight as a good wooden boat to carry us onward. And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. to be hopeful, to embrace on possibility after another -- that is surely the basic instinct. Baser even than hate, the thing with teeth, which can be stilled with a tone of voice or stunned by beauty. If the whole world of the living has to turn on the single point of remaining alive, that pointed endurance is the poetry of hope. The thing with feathers.
What a stroke of luck. What a singular brute feat of outrageous fortune: to be born citizenship in the animal kingdom. We love we lose, go back to the start and do it right over again. For every heavy forebrain solemnly cataloging the facts of a harsh landscape, there's a rush of intuition behind it crying out:High Tide ! Time to move out the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.
The following is an excerpt from Gretchen Rubin's article featured this past fall in The Huffington Post. In her article she writes about a 1936 exploration of 12 "brain exercises" given by a Dorothea Brande which helps one connect to happiness. Her theory was that a key ingredient to being happy is to experience novelty and change in ones life. She says, "People who stray from their routines, try new things, explore, and experiment tend to be happier than those who don't." Of course, as Brande herself points out, novelty and challenge can also bring frustration, anxiety, confusion, and annoyance along the way; it's the process of facing those challenges that brings the "atmosphere of growth" so important to happiness.
Here are Dorothea Brande's twelve mental exercises. Note: she wrote these in 1936, so you need to adapt of few of them.
1. Spend an hour each day without saying anything except in answer to direct questions, in the midst of the usual group, without creating the impression that you're sulking or ill. Be as ordinary as possible. But do not volunteer remarks or try to draw out information.
2. Think for 30 minutes a day about one subject exclusively. Start with five minutes.
3. Write a letter without using the words I, me, mine, my.
4. Talk for 15 minutes a day without using I, me, my, mine.
5. Write a letter in a "successful" or placid tone. No misstatements, no lying. Look for aspects or activities that can be honestly reported that way.
6. Pause on the threshold of any crowded room and size it up.
7. Keep a new acquaintance talking about himself or herself without allowing him to become conscious of it. Turn back any courteous reciprocal questions in a way that your auditor doesn't feel rebuffed.
8. Talk exclusively about yourself and your interests without complaining, boasting, or boring your companions.
9. Cut "I mean" or "As a matter of fact" or any other verbal mannerism out of your conversation.
10. Plan two hours of a day and stick to the plan.
11. Set yourself twelve tasks at random: e.g., go twenty miles from home using ordinary conveyance; go 12 hours without food; go eat a meal in the unlikelist place you can find; say nothing all day except in answer to questions; stay up all night and work.
12. From time to time, give yourself a day when you answer "yes" to any reasonable request.
at 10:06 PM
Elephants / Rachael Yamagata
If the elephants have past lives yet all destined to always remember
It's no wonder how they scream
Like you and I they must have some temper
And I am dreaming of them on the planes
Dirtying up their beds
Watching for some sign of rain to cool their hot heads
And how dare that you send me that card when I am doing all that I can do
You are forcing me to remember when all I want is to just forget you
If the tiger shall protect her young then tell me how did you slip by
All my instincts have failed me for once
I must have somehow slept the whole night
And I am dreaming of them with their kill
Tearing it all apart
Blood dripping from their lips and teeth sinking into heart
And how dare that you say you'll call
When you know I need some peace of mind
If you have to take sides with the animals
Won't you do it with one who is kind
And if the hawks in the trees need the dead
If you're living you don't stand a chance
For a time though you share the same bed
There are only two ends to this dance
You can flee with your wounds just in time or lie there as he feeds
Watching yourself ripped to shreds and laughing as you bleed
So for those of you falling in love keep it kind
Keep it good
Keep it right
Throw yourself in the midst of danger but keep one eye open at night
at 2:44 PM