Facebook and Reddit are full of depressing news today.  So ……

Woods

by Wendell Berry

I part the out thrusting branches

and come in beneath

the blessed and the blessing trees.

Though I am silent

there is singing around me.

Though I am dark

there is vision around me.

Though I am heavy

there is flight around me.

And of course, the Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake i the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I got and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light.  For a time

I rest int he grace of the world, and am free.

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Cummins Falls, and laundry, mostly.

I’m not exactly feeling inspired to write, and I’m trying to decide whether that means I shouldn’t write, or that I should.  

I just kind of felt like writing about my weekend.  

Anyway, weekend.  Went to Cummins Falls on Saturday, which is a great little waterfall/swimming hole outside of Cookeville.  Here’s a picture.

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Now, picture 200+ people milling about on the rocks or swimming in the water, and you’ve got a good idea of how popular this place was last Saturday.  The trail to get down to the falls was more crowded than Radnor Lake trails, if you can imagine.  

Now, because I am great at planning ahead, I work jeans and a cami and a t-shirt, just like about 5% of the other 200+ people there.  The rest of them were in swimsuits.  Which was a good idea.  After managing to not slip and fall on the rocks even once, and watching Stephen stand underneath the waterfall, I decided that I didn’t give a fuck about being “dry” anymore (I wasn’t) and got into the water too.  SO WORTH IT.  Even if my jeans were completely soaking wet the whole rest of the day.  Didn’t matter.  Didn’t mind any of the people after that, either – we were all there for the same reason and all enjoying the same thing. The main waterfall was cold and exhilarating, but getting close/under made it almost impossible to see or breath. The series of smaller waterfalls, though, were lovely and cool and sitting underneath them felt like an embrace.  

I have such a love/hate relationship with people sometimes!  They can be so lovable and wonderful and the reason for staying alive, but they can also be horrible and stupid and make you want to die.  Eh.

Anyway, afterwards had too much Mexican food and margaritas and slept REALLY well that night.

Yesterday I did laundry, and I might go do some more today.  I probably need to mow my lawn soon too, but it really isn’t very bad at all yet.  Need to refill a prescription, and also need to go grocery shopping.  Might do all that this afternoon after I start a load of laundry.  Oh, also need to fold and put away the clean clothes from yesterday.  Stupid laundry.

This is such a good soundtrack.   

days like today, when I am reminded of the fleeting and precious nature of life, I find myself wanting to disappear from work and use my time to do something that will be beneficial for my soul. Les Demoiselles de Saint-Cyr are mostly helping to underline the ache. the horrid black and beige colors in my office are made about a million times worse by the fluorescent lighting. they design these office buildings to stifle creativity, don’t they.

this poem

Read this last night and was going to just email it to Anna Laura, but then I decided to put it here instead with specific instructions (for her anyway) to not ignore it. Also – the first couple of stanzas in this poem are why I have a tattoo of kudzu on my wrist.

The Thicket

The tangle of it all, the briar curve perspective,
the entrance to places you could not go
without being tugged at the edges, caught
by tiny infractions of wool on the sweater,
brought to a twisted halt to unhook.

I would go anyway in old clothes,
free and happy through a necessary wounding,
my knees damp with the earth, the taste of blood
in my mouth like a richer earth.

In the ticket I could be free and observant,
surveying the tiny stages and the curtained dramas,
every further stage of vision leading me back
to smaller and smaller worlds, like a child’s
telescoping theater guiding the eye to a tiny backdrop.
In one, I still see the wren, pivoting straight up
on a branch end, in another, the sloes burn on,
calm and content in their soft black light.
I was never afraid in the thicket, never cramped
or contained and even the constrained scurry
of something close but invisible in the brush brought
home to me all the rewards of a sheltered, secret life.
No one knew me in my child’s aloneness
by any other names but the ones that called me back
to the quiet den I made in the hedge
and it seemed with this rich, impassable, interiority
all outer revelation was possible. From those shadows
I looked happily over great green spaces where
an open visibility would render me unseen.

All that summer I thought I could make it last,
never leave the branching world where, permanent
in my innocence, I could sit, a child abroad beyond
the house and call of waving neighbours,
a crouched pilgrim, an apprentice to stealth and silence,
still and sovereign at the center of my shadowed world,
a kind of enclosed womb-like eternity that could
end only with the annunciation that another wider
and wiser eternity was about to begin.

All of that summer as I changed unknowingly
from young boy to young man, as I went in secret
from undifferentiated shadow to clear edged caster
of a shadow, I looked and looked and changed
unknowingly by looking, afraid as it all began
of the strange impatience growing behind my eyes,
the wound of desire opening slowly at the center
of my sight, not knowing at first that that looking
was a new kind of looking, that that dry mouth
of anticipation was prelude to a different form
of speech, that that minute searching of the
stained glass light searching between the branches
was the knowledge of some immanence
I could not imagine, come to find me
until I half felt, half met, the guiding signal
telling me to leave.

Something fought and sought and found me
in the hedge, gripped me with a new intelligence,
arrested me and set me to motion,
brought clarity to silence, set me to grow
and take this body out of hiding,
made me see the shadows stir with new
and relevatory intolerance, the hooked briars
raw with dispensation and beckoning.

An opening in my world come to find me,
bring me out. Some guiding hand lifted
and shone on me, found me in outline,
illumined the way I shaped in the light,
passed on — the red haw of a new season,
swung like a lantern through the sheltering dark.

David Whyte, from Everything is Waiting for You

Edinburgh Day Two (or, Last Day in the UK)

I’m about vacationed out, guys. Having a great time still, of course, but we are both looking forward to being home again. Plane leaves tomorrow!!

I have to say – I would be so much more inclined to move to Edinburgh than to London. London was nice and all, but I feel like Edinburgh has more personality. London was full of busy people all dressed in black pretty much. Edinburgh seems to have a wider variety of people.

Of course, I say this having been in both cities like two days. But at any rate, this has been my impression. Plus Scottish accents are to die for.

This morning, we walked to a little cafe for pastries and coffee. We then made our way to Edinburgh Castle which comprised most of the rest of the day’s activities. It was….grand. And beautiful. And humbling. And all that stuff. If my brain wasn’t frazzled from, uh, whatever is frazzling it, I’d offer more reflections. Unfortunately for those of you who enjoy my ramblings (there are a few of you, right?), all you’re getting past this is pictures.

Oh btw. The picture of the chair is where Mary Queen of Scots birthed her only son. James somethingorother.

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More pictures

Was without wifi for about 24 hours, and I feel like I’ve re-joined the rest of the world now.

So yesterday was spent traveling. We had breakfast in Cambridge, then got a train to Windermere, er, I mean, we got a ticket to Windermere. There were 4 different trains. Took about 6 hours total. Once we got into town, we checked into our b&b and found somewhere for dinner. Then we came back and went to bed. We both got about 12 hours of sleep – it was great.

Today, we walked down to the lake and then up Orrest Head, which gives you a 360 degree view of the area. It was just gorgeous, albeit windy and a bit chilly. That kind of weather just energizes me, anyway.

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Did anyone know I had this many freckles btw?

Cambridge, Day Two (so far)

Just thought I’d put up a few pictures from today so far. We slept kinda late and missed the free breakfast, so walked down to a little pastry/sandwich shop where I got a fresh mozzarella sandwich and Katie got eggs florentine. I took a picture of her plate because the eggs were just perfectly, beautifully poached.

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Two comments on the restaurants around here. One: most of them don’t seem to have drip coffee. When I order coffee, I get americanos. So far the only exception I’ve noticed is Starbucks, but they even gave me a weird look when I asked for drip coffee. Had to clarify by saying ” black coffee” and pointing to the urns behind the counter. Two: people don’t seem to drink as much water. You have to ask for a glass of tap water – otherwise you get nothing. I’m so used to places in the US just bringing you water before you even order.

So anyway, after breakfast we walked around a bit more. It’s a GORGEOUS spring day – the trees are in bloom, daffodils are everywhere, the sky is blue, and the grass is oh so green.

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