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Archive for the category “Awake”

best five minutes of a perfect day

Pt.Reyes4It’s the middle of April, and I have been hiking a six-mile loop of trails at Bear Valley Trailhead in Point Reyes National Seashore: Bear Valley trail to Pine trail to Sky trail, and back on Bear Valley.

The best five minutes are in the early afternoon, when I’m about half-way and coming out of the trees and into the open.

The ground right here is hard and full of rocks and small stones instead of soft with the pine needles I’ve been walking on. The sun overhead is bright and glaring; it’s hot and I’m sweating hard.

In the mid-distance is Mount Wittenberg, but about an eighth of a mile ahead, the trail smooths out and winds to the left around a low hill completely covered in golden poppies waving and shimmering in the light breeze. It’s an amazing sight you don’t get to see unless you’ve worked for it, since it’s a considerable climb no matter which way you come up.

I’ve been anticipating this and I never, ever tire of it. I push ahead until the poppy-covered hill is on my right and a gradual, rolling, dark green, and lush drop-off on the left exposes specks of tents and tables from Sky Camp far below.

Beyond that is the blue-green water of Drake’s Bay lapping at the shore, sunlight rippling the surface. I’m so thirsty I stop and take a long drink of water from the plastic bottle in my backpack. The water’s warm but I gulp it, marveling at how much better water tastes when I’m hiking than at any other time.

I stand still, gazing at the distant water and letting the sweat evaporate from my skin. I smell the dust of the trail and the pine trees. I turn to look at the poppies again, drinking in the sight as a couple of orange and yellow butterflies flit in and out among them.

That’s paradise to me.

What are the best five minutes of your perfect day?

celebrating waking up

breathing (2)


the worm’s waking

Rumi

this is how a human being can change:

there’s a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.

Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he’s no longer
a worm.

He’s the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
to devour.


throw yourself like seed

Miguel de Unamuno

Shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit;
Sluggish you will never see the wheel of fate
That brushes your heel as it turns going by.
The man who wants to live is the man in whom life is abundant.

Now you are only giving food to that final pain
Which is slowly winding you in the nets of death,
But to live is to work, and the only thing which lasts
Is the work; start there, turn to the work.

Throw yourself like seed as you walk, and into your own field,
Don’t turn your face for that would be to turn it to death,
And do not let the past weigh down your motion.

Leave what’s alive in the furrow, what’s dead in yourself,
For life does not move in the same way as a group of clouds;
From your work you will be able one day to gather yourself.


95

e.e. cummings

if up’s a word; and a world grows greener
minute by second and most by more–
if death is the loser and life is the winner
(and beggars are rich but misers are poor)
–let’s touch the sky:
with a to and a fro
(and a here there where)and away we go.

in even the laziest creature among us
a wisdom no knowledge can kill is astir–
now dull eyes are keen and now keen eyes are keener
(for young is the year,for young is the year)
–let’s touch the sky:
with a great(and a gay
and a steep)deep rush through amazing day

it’s brains without hearts have set saint against sinner;
put again over gladness and joy under care–
let’s do as an earth which can never do wrong does
(minute by second and most by more)
–let’s touch the sky:
with a strange(and a true)
and a climbing fall into far near blue

if beggars are rich(and a robin will sing his
robin a song)but misers are poor–
let’s love until noone could quite be(and young is
the year,dear)as living as i’m and as you’re
–let’s touch the sky:
with a you and a me
and an every(who’s any who’s some)one who’s we


This post is part of April’s 30 Days of Celebration. To read more, click on the Celebration category link.

celebrating bright things redux

sparkleThe world is full of poetry.
The air is living with its spirit;
and the waves dance
to the music of its melodies,
and sparkle in its brightness.

–James Gates Percival

One cold, dark winter afternoon when the temperature never rose above freezing all day and I felt trapped inside my office in front of my computer, I looked around the room at all the bright things I’ve put here.

I won’t go so far as to say say my world is full of poetry right now, but there’s a hint of its brightness here and there.

Butterfly

Butterfly

Lizards

Lizards

Suncatcher

Suncatcher

Tiger

Tiger

Mandala

Mandala

Vase (underwater upside down)

Vase (underwater upside down)

Reality (ala Brian Andreas)

Reality (ala Brian Andreas)

Good Advice!

Good Advice!

A bit of brightness landed on that one. Happy Saturday!


Note: This was originally published in January 2013. If anything, my office (a/k/a my playroom, at least on a good day) is filled with even more bright things.


This post is part of April’s 30 Days of Celebration. To read more, click on the Celebration category link.

deep in december

a winter dream of spring

a winter dream of spring (2)

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stars and stars

not awake; not conscious.

Cover of "The Last Waltz (Special Edition...

Cover of The Last Waltz (Special Edition)

The Last Waltz played four times at a local theater this past Sunday and Monday. A friend agreed to meet me there for the last showing on Monday evening. After a crazy day, I still left in plenty of time, then ran into some of the worst traffic I’ve ever encountered in Albuquerque. Because I knew I’d be late, I turned on my seldom-used cell phone. Almost immediately, I was notified of a voicemail message, which I assumed was from my friend.

The traffic was too insane for me to try to listen to it, so I continued on to my destination, preoccupied by traffic, being late, and the waiting voicemail message. When I arrived, I found a parking place and listened to the voicemail message, no easy task in complete darkness (my car’s inside light recently stopped working). It was from a friend who is traveling and decided, for unknown reasons, to wish me a Merry Christmas on my cell phone. It’s a fluke that I got it.

By then I was definitely late and also preoccupied with wondering why she had called my cell phone. I got out of the car and started crossing the street. The lighting for the side streets in Nob Hill leaves something to be desired. As I was about to step up onto the curb on the other side of the street, some commotion to my right caught my attention–and the much-higher-than-usual curb caught the toe of my right shoe. Splat! Down I went onto both knees.

[Expletive deleted.] I got up, dusted myself off, and continued to the theater, now preoccupied with visions of being sidelined from walking, dancing around my apartment, and my twice-a-week strength training workouts.

awake; conscious.

As it turned out, we had more than enough time to chat, get tickets, and find seats in the theater. Once the movie started, I was fully engrossed. I’ve seen The Last Waltz half a dozen times, but never in a theater. It was definitely worth the time, the traffic, and even the banged up knees to see it that way!

I wrote about The Band a while ago, but didn’t come across this video of Van Morrison doing Caravan until recently. It’s still my favorite performance, but there are no duds anywhere in this star-studded film. I tried to contain the bouncing around in my seat. I guess the benefit of watching it at home is that no one cares if I get up and dance.

Orion Rising (2)

When I got home afterward and was walking from my garage to my front door, I happened to glance up into the sky. There was Orion rising directly overhead with bright stars and planets studding the sky around it.

I stepped out into the street and just watched it for several minutes, awake and conscious.

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a new leaf

a new leaf

This plant (a variety of aglaonema) has thrived from the day I brought it home more than two years ago and repotted it into a square red pot.

On Sunday, the late afternoon sunlight streaking its leaves caught my attention. I picked up my camera and walked all the way around it, getting shots from every angle. This leaf was hidden from my view until I nearly came full circle. It’s the last shot.

The older leaves are darker–and dusty–but the new one unfurling is bright and pristine.

awake!

Being Awake

Being Awake (Photo credit: Celestine Chua

My keyword for winter is awake.

awake: conscious; not asleep

A counter-intuitive choice for the time of year, perhaps. And perhaps it sprang to mind because of this amazingly, awesomely invigorating song that I’ve been addicted to for some time that just forces me to get up and dance whenever I hear it. (There are witnesses.) Turn up the volume to listen.

It’s always such a joy that you wake up in the morning
and there’s work to do.

–Jerome Lawrence, author and playwright

What’s your keyword for winter?

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