Deepest Blue

Shades of Indigo

Ocean or sky, it’s all the same; liquid or vapor, fluid, sky—

Look for the stars and wonder why you can’t remember your place, your name,

Your hopes, your fears, your heart, your dreams, or anything like a concrete fact,

But only sense, faintly, a world intact when the air and sea converge their streams.

When the blue engulfs both thought and time, what is the measure by which you live?

How many tears and breaths must give their blue to make the world so sublime?Digital illo from a photo: Deepest Blue

Inverted Vortices & Puzzling Phenomena

I realize that all of us living creatures are scientifically explainable up to a point. We are generally parts of the natural world and therefore part of what scientists study and attempt to suss out and, in some wonderful instances, they do manage to make great discoveries about just what we are and what makes us tick. But me, I don’t really get any of it.digital illustrationHow is it, for example, that I have all of the parts required for me to be athletic, and yet I have never become anything remotely like it despite any school-required or even occasionally, self-imposed, practices? I’ve seen incredible athleticism in people with far fewer obvious tools for the task, not to mention having a visibly smaller inventory of raw materials in the way of the commonly used senses—blind or hearing-impaired athletes, for example—or functional limbs: any Paralympic athlete could clearly trounce my trousers in a trice.

How come, with all of my commendable efforts at garnering a real school-based education and my various attempts as an autodidact, I’ve still got an ordinary intellect and not the mega brain I see in some who appear to have been born to create shade for my dim thoughts?

I say this not to complain but, surprisingly, because it impresses and even sometimes thrills me, this magical, miraculous existence that we have. It’s actually exciting to me to think that there is so much around me and about me that I can’t begin to explain or understand. It may drive me a little batty at times to realize, as I do increasingly with the passing of said time, how little I will or even can ever comprehend about who I am and how I fit into the universe, but then I catch one more glimpse of a star—human or celestial—and remember how fabulous, how inexplicably yet palpably rich, this life can be. And I am both humbled and exalted.digital illustration

Upon Further Reflection

photoCogitation

Let us pause for a moment of thought on who we are and what we’re not,

On living life as best we can, no matter whether beast or man,

And think of beauty, wisdom, skill, kind spirits, charm, and strength of will,

And not forget, not for one blink, we’re not as dandy as we think,

But all the same, let’s take the tack of cutting, each, ourselves some slack—

Our imperfections won’t be solved until we’re all far more evolved,

But what we are at present, still, has bits of charm, kind spirits, skill,

Has strength and wisdom; beauty too—and that gives us enough to do—

It’s Still Life

Little is as desirable in day-to-day life as peace and quiet. Rest, respite, calm–I crave them. There’s so much invitation and welcome in the sweet marvels of time off, time out and down time that I never feel I have too much of, well, not-too-much.

But busyness is ever so much more common in our everyday existence in this century, certainly in this household. It’s no still life, to be sure; any silence found in this way of living is more of the deafening sort. But yes, it’s still life.

So I have to manufacture or steal my moments of rest and relaxation. Isn’t that how most of us end up finding our tiny increments of space and time and sanity anyway? I have to learn how to tune out the white noise, hide from the constant demands and burrow into hidden corners when and wherever I can, to choose deliberately to decompress and unwind. If I don’t make room for my own peace of mind, who’s going to give it to me? The world may rattle on around me at a furious and eardrum-shattering rate and all I know may change in the ten minutes I’ve stolen to renew myself, but I will return to those realities soon enough, and hadn’t I better do so in a fortified state than otherwise?

Better to sit down and tell myself soothing tales undergirded with lullabies, to draw myself a little old-fashioned still life arrangement in the calm unruffled grey of graphite, and breathe deeply without regard for the bustle and bash of the universe, if only for a moment or two.graphite drawing

A Moment for Contemplation

photoWorlds of Peace

In the sleepy little world where

kindness can prevail and thrive

The beasts and people live in peace,

all happy just to be alive

Their gracious ways, generous hearts,

their gentle speech and thought and will

Protect them all throughout the day,

and through the nighttime hold them still—

Would that this dreamy little world

could bloom and flourish here on earth

And that such hopeful tenderness

pursue us all straight on from birth

My wistful wishing is not vain;

this virtue could embrace us all,

For we do know how to be so,

if only we would heed the call

And so each morning as I rise

I make a small and silent prayer

That by the night’s new-darkened skies,

we’ll find ourselves all living there

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Meditations

digital collageStillness at the Edges
I
We stood along the shore at break of day,
The water lapping gently at our heels,
And heard the distant crying of the seals
At gulls for stealing all their fish away–

The dawn was chill and misty, palely blue,
Our hearts in morning shadow just as cold,
And bone and sinew feeling early old
As soul and body waiting day will do–

The sea was restless, slowing at the last
To push up foam as streaky as the clouds
And gather shells and pebbles in those shrouds
Around our feet, we statues standing fast–

All this, because our spirits captive are
Until revived by sun, our morning star.
digital collageII
So lifeless, silent, still and cold are we
When gold has yet to tinge the morning sky,
So empty is the world but for the cry
The seals and gulls raise up in minor key–

So heartless is the morning chill ashore
We stand like stone and cannot take a breath
Until the sun releases us from death
And brings the flame of sentience once more–

At last the light of day draws us to wake,
And we’ll bestir ourselves to act and thrive,
Rejoicing to discover we’re alive
Until the world’s foundations start to shake–

We know the night will come again, and fast,
And so must live each day as if our last.digital collage

The Sound of Inner Peace

 

photoSilence is both elusive and therefore, golden in this life. Even when we can escape the ambient clamor of our everyday existence it’s rather rare to achieve the sort of true silence that’s found in deep contemplation, deeper meditation or deepest sleep. Our own brains make an immense quantity of distracting and sometimes just plain disconcerting noise so much of the time that it’s rather remarkable we even know what silence is or can be.photoIt’s almost ironic, then, that what makes inner calm and silence possible for me is often music. The way that music can clear my mind of mess and detritus, allow me to empty myself of unproductive or unpleasant things and focus on things of grace and beauty until my mind opens up so wide that it can embrace genuine calm, peace, contentment and meaningful introspection, achieve a kind of silence that transcends nothingness and surpasses quietude. Music makes me whole.photo

Peaceful Shadowland

Fall and Winter have a stealthy benefit that’s often overlooked. They lend themselves, more than the ebullience and exuberance of Spring and Summer, to a sort of calming melancholia, to meditation and contemplative times. In Autumn and wintertime, the chaos of the world can be lessened and untangled without the palisade thrown up by the warmer seasons interfering with the endeavor.photo

In part, it’s simply that we are increasingly encouraged by colder and often less amenable weather to stay indoors. Indoors, where the hearth beckons, where our books lie in wait, where our writing tools stay safe from the tempests outside. Indoors, where it’s easy to keep a cup of tea or coffee or cocoa hot and handy while we spend the hours tending to those tasks of repair and renovation that have lain unnoticed when the longer days of sunlight kept pulling us away. The birds flit south and abandon their choir-lofts around the house and the other creatures begin to line their dens and curl up under porches with greater urgency, leaving the airwaves to the less inviting, darker sounds of passing traffic on wet pavement and wind whistling down the fence lines, sounds that urge us to follow our instincts and the local wildlife to seek shelter and keep quiet while the forbidding cold and darkness of the ‘off seasons’ roar through town.

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But there’s another great appeal to Fall and Winter, another aspect that captures the gentler and more introspective angles of the imagination, and that is the way that these seasons strip away their frills and wash out any fripperies that might distract us from the most basic parts of our existence. It’s the way this time of year seems to contract not just the length of its daylight hours so that we see things dimly, palely and in lengthening shade and shadows, but even the spectrum of visible color, which becomes thin and subdued in the leanness of winter light. The water recedes from the fruits and flowers and stems of summer’s abundance and leaves them slightly parched and leads them to bend and fall. The slightest breeze, now colder, finds us clutching at our lapels and jamming our raw hands as far into pockets as they can go.photo

In this beautiful world, with the color rapidly draining out of memory, the stillness of hiding and hibernation weighing us into lassitudinous introversion, and the brisk chill of frost settling around our ears and shoulders like lead, we can at last let go of the impetus to run and shout and do, if only for the joy of rediscovering what waits in the seasons of shadow. We can see the world in a sort of refined simplicity if we let ourselves. We can take these moments of clean-slate clarity to listen to our innermost selves for a bit and sort out what does and doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of our lives. And we can go to sleep knowing that when the glad excesses of Spring and Summer return we will see them through new and more appreciative eyes and perhaps, yes just maybe, even find that in the midst of all that bloom and warmth and celebration we may long for the stringent joys of Fall and Winter once again.