Layers of Life

 

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Just outside my patio there is a large azalea bush. It blooms beautiful pink-orange blossoms for about two weeks each year, usually in May. The rest of the year it looks like most any large green bush.

I was sitting by the sliding glass doors that lead to the patio today and I noticed that there was a small swarm of gnats circling in chaotic patterns over the top of the bush. I had never noticed them before. Then I began to think of all the life associated with that one azalea bush.

There are the gnats, who seemed to find it for the moment entirely fascinating, and also a family of sparrows who make it their year-round home, along with a pair of wrens, and family (the baby who keeps trying to get into the apartment and makes me wonder if it is my Dad reincarnated because he loved wrens and loved to sing) and the cardinal pair who drop by for periodic visits along with the butterflies who arrive happily during that colorful two weeks, and disappointedly the rest of the year and the curious bees, especially the large bumblebees who find it intriguing along with the juncos, winter residents, and the wood doves, who love to sun themselves at the base of it next to the ants who make their homes in the soil and climb the wall beside it to get the larger view while beneath the soil, mixed in with the roots, who knows what denizens lurk—grubs and worms and for 16 and a half years, surely cicadas too, to say nothing of a teeming microbiome wholly unknown to me as I stare out.

Sorry—I’ve been reading Kerouac again.

Life is more than we know.

Attention is a path to joy.

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Fishing in the Sky

As part of my stay-at-home regimen, I have been rereading Walden. I have consulted it often, but not read it through for many years. When I first read it, I was as enthralled as any child of the Sixties could be, and thought it the American finest prose of the Nineteenth century. I was curious what my reaction would be now so many years later, and having been thoroughly influenced by Thoreau’s mentor Emerson.

The first chapter, Economy, I have to admit, was disappointing. The tone seemed to me preachy and self-satisfied, like someone shouting on a street corner, with only occasional bouts of elegance and depth. Also the math seems suspect , but since that’s not my strongpoint either I’ll pass over it.

The second chapter, Where I Lived an What I lived For, is all the Thoreau I remember. Let me share one passage:

 

Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry,—determined to make a day of it. Why should we knock under and go with the stream? Let us not be upset and overwhelmed in that terrible rapid and whirlpool called a dinner, situated in the meridian shallows. Weather this danger and you are safe, for the rest of the way is down hill. With unrelaxed nerves, with morning vigor, sail by it, looking another way, tied to the mast like Ulysses. If the engine whistles, let it whistle till it is hoarse for its pains. If the bell rings, why should we run? We will consider what kind of music they are like. Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake; and then begin, having a point d’appui, below freshet and frost and fire, a place where you might found a wall or a state, or set a lamp-post safely, or perhaps a gauge, not a Nilometer, but a Realometer, that future ages might know how deep a freshet of shams and appearances had gathered from time to time. If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a cimeter, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business.

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. I do not wish to be any more busy with my hands than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and fore-paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining-rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine.

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Smitten!

In the South of France.

Second time around, the love gets stronger!

Thousands of miles away, her mind is able to switch off from reality.

Her heart beats with excitement each waking moment.

Oh! how the smell of the ocean invites delight!

There is no ending, only beginnings.

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Reality Check

With so much work to accomplish every day, my weekends have been anything but restful.

I have been waking up too early every morning in a rush because of so many things to do.

How unlikely of me.

 

I am disappointed with myself because I have allowed myself to reach this exhausting point.

A year down the road feels like a decade.

I value the work that I do but, admittedly, it’s taking a toll on me.

 

Maybe it’s just another hiccup in life.

Maybe it’s just an off year.

I can’t help but at times wonder…

 

Could there be yet another something for me out there?

Something that will keep me motivated.

Something what will shift me to a better place.

 

Not just work wise but all around life kind of thing.

You see, truth is, I’m on my own.

Not that it’s a bad thing, it just is.

 

I know God hears.

Eventually things will shift again.

Just have to sit it out and ride the tide.

 

 

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Latest Comments

Rosy Cole My historical fiction: The faraway land of the house and two cows
22 October 2021
What an achievement, Moni, to have created something vibrant out of the lives of a tucked away commu...
Monika Schott PhD My historical fiction: The faraway land of the house and two cows
19 October 2021
Thanks Stephen. I'm quite happy with it. ?
Stephen Evans Thinking Small
11 October 2021
Always glad to hear that!
Rosy Cole Thinking Small
11 October 2021
It did make me chuckle, though :-)))