In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
We live in an age when you say casually to somebody ‘What’s the story on that?’ and they can run to the computer and tell you within five seconds. That’s fine, but sometimes I’d just as soon continue wondering. We have a deficit of wonder right now.
If you listen to Louis Armstrong from 1929, you will never hear anything better than that…You will never hear anything more free than that.
For my running and rowing friends.
There was a moment in which he knew he could not go on. He had begun at the wrong pace, another and better man’s pace, had seen the man come almost at once to the top of his strength, hitting his stride without effort, unlimbering and lining out and away. And like a fool he had taken up the bait, whole and at once, had allowed himself to be run into the ground. In the next instant his lungs should burst, for now they were burning with pain and the pain had crowded out the last and least element of his breath, and he should stumble and fall. But the moment passed. The moment passed, and the next and the next, and he was running still, and still he could see the dark shape of the man running away in the swirling mist, like a motionless shadow. And he held on to the shadow and ran beyond his pain.—N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, champion of Beat Generation writers passed away this week at 101 years of age.
Here’s the last line of “I Am Waiting” from A Coney Island of the Mind (1958.)
“…and I am awaiting perpetually and forever a renaissance of wonder.”
The Final Sentence contains some riches. It’s handy if you are looking for something you’ve already read. but beware of spoilers. Use the search feature instead of browsing. Or not.
“You spend too much time reading, Spenser. You know more stuff that don’t make you money than anybody I know.”
There is a kind of life that is peculiar to the land in summer—a wariness, a seasonal equation of well-being and alertness. Road runners take on the shape of motion itself, urgent and angular, or else they are like the gnarled, uncovered roots of ancient, stunted trees, some ordinary ruse of the land itself, immovable and forever there. And quail, at evening, just failing to suggest the waddle of too much weight, take cover with scarcely any talent for alarm, and spread their wings to the ground; and if then they are made to take flight, the imminence of no danger on earth can be more apparent; they explode away like a shot, and there is nothing but the dying whistle and streak of their going. Frequently in the sun there are pairs of white and russet hawks soaring to the hunt. And when one falls off and alights, there will be a death in the land, for it has come down to place itself like a destiny between its prey and the burrow from which its prey has come; and then the other, the killer hawk, turns around in the sky and breaks its glide and dives. It is said that hawks, when they have nothing to fear in the open land, dance upon the warm carnage of their kills. In the highest heat of the day, rattlesnakes lie outstretched upon the dunes, as if the sun had wound them out and lain upon them like a line of fire, or, knowing of some vibrant presence in the air, they writhe away in the agony of time. And of their own accord they go at sundown into the earth, hopelessly, as if to some unimaginable reckoning in the underworld. Coyotes have the gift of being seldom seen; they keep to the edge of vision and beyond, loping in and out of cover on the plains and highlands. And at night, when the whole world belongs to them, they parley at the river with the dogs, their higher, sharper voices full of authority and rebuke. They are an old council of clowns, and they are listened to.—N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn
Social networks give you the right to speak to legions of idiots who previously spoke only in the bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community. They were then quickly silenced, but now have the same right to speak as to a Nobel Prize. It is an invasion of imbeciles.
“You can’t win the whole country anymore, so stop trying. You don’t need fifty million people to love you. You need five million people fucking pissed. Anger sells. You have fans. I have soldiers.”—Stormfront (closet Nazi superhero) to Homelander (sociopath superhero) in Amazon Prime’s “The Boys.”
“I’m not looking for American heroism,” the economist Jeffrey Sachs said. “I’m looking for the United States not to be among the most destructive forces on the planet right now.”—Jeffrey Sachs
The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.
Me after spending a week in Lawrence, KS. With apologies to Arthur C. Clarke.
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. But then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings… The name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom.
We are learning to do a great many clever things…The next great task will be to learn not to do them.
I turned on the lights, the TV and the radio
Still, I can’t escape the ghost of you
What has happened to it all?
Crazy, some would say
Where is the life that I recognize?
But I won’t cry for yesterday, there’s an ordinary world
Somehow I have to find
And, as I try to make my way to the ordinary world
I will learn to survive
Is my World
What describes the ethos of the QAnon cult better than this passage from Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco?
…luck rewarded us, because, wanting connections, we found connections — always, everywhere, and between everything. The world exploded into a whirling network of kinships, where everything pointed to everything else, everything explained everything else…
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
If you have time to chatter,
If you have time to read,
Walk into mountain, desert and ocean.
If you have time to walk,
Sing songs and dance.
If you have time to dance,—excerpted from How To Live on the Planet Earth: Collected Poems
Sit quietly, you Happy Lucky Idiot.
Don’t you want to ask these people who take so much from us; don’t you want to ask yourself? Why do you need so much?
… the rest “Is This Not Enough?”
Is this not enough
This blessed sip of life?
Is it not enough
Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”