you can’t judge a day by its start but when your first awareness is a crusty eye and suspect that cat slept on your head…
but at least the night before when reaching for anti-histimines in bleary hours reached the nighttimes not the daytime one like last time…
and when your first semi-conscious act is to itch your stomach, which the wired cat takes as a pounce invitation, and brings you fully awake with her fully body weight on bladder…
or when you go to use the waterpik and hit a tickly bit and laugh and spray that jet all over the bathroom…
or when you get rambunctious, heady with being able to point your arm at 12 o’clock without leaning the body for the first time in a year and a half…so lift up hubby for a swing and feel a pop in the shoulder that may mean nothing…seems to mean nothing…the small victory of not hurting your fool self…
and when you go to say “that’s rob gesturing” and for reasons known only to the arm, demonstrate “gesturing” and knock the juice box and pizza box clear flying off the sofa, but the lid was on and the pizza was gone…
and when deseeding tiny hot peppers and saying to yourself, do not lick your fingers, do not lick your fingers, donolickyorfinger until it becomes sound and then I lick my fingers…
and well, it’s just that Irish blessing, live in interesting times.
for all that, there’s a laugh track.
and among all the unexpected there are small victories like finishing a bottle of shampoo to declutter the bathroom by one bottle. one bottle = one battle.
and to have searched in 6 stores for combs and only find bulk packs of huge ones but finally secure a wee black comb to replace the one lost when travelling.
and you found that mislaid book just where you left it, used as a bookmark in another book.
and among all that, there’s the closest we come to holiness, the company of friends who are saddened at your sadness and cheer at your small yays and who share the narratives of their days.
Much on the to-do list again but it’s all doable and in motion incrementally. I even made a hot lunch. Good for the cold rain.
A poem woke me at 5 a.m. Finished it at the standing desk. (Since studying Spanish my pronouns are toast. Dropped everywhere by default. We don’t need most of them in English.)
In the early blue,
first dawn chirp
Wobbly eventually I went back to sleep. By yellower later light,
maybe first birdsong
By noon’s mix of rain and sun, I return to the poem. Not that above, another long thing.
Light of day can be harsh but it’s not bad. The first 4 lines can continue intact. Perhaps they are not the start. The ending is a bit stuttering. I’m missing some key word. Or something. There’s a hitch in its step. Does it need more living to complete itself, or dreaming? or breathing?
Will it be bound into unblossoming, hogtied, or tear its own leaf to open? So much suspense in gardening.
Look at the metamorphosis: caterpillars, commas & question marks.
Up on the pillar is more sheltered than under a slat-table.
Even still she came in with her head dry and tail soaked.
Tails are used for counterbalance. How are cats so reliably unaware of what’s happening back there? It’s as if their tails are the embodiment of their unconsciousness.
In our world, the smallest cat makes the loudest snore.
She has finally stopped biting my ankles by which she means to communicate, if you can’t turn off the rain in the back yard could you at least turn off the rain the front yard? I’m bored. And it strikes me that the song lyrics “you can’t stop the rain by complaining” was written dedicated to the songwriter’s cat. Had to be.
The rainspout courses. At least a week has elapsed even as I blink.
It’s rather nice not to have to scramble for quotes at each post. It was a thorn because most quotes are by men. Any given time isn’t a bugaboo but the skew got aggravating. Nice to let oneself move away from a burr.
What other manufactured goals do I reach for out of habit instead of need?
Chocolate comes to mind, as it tends to. I’m eating it because there’s a time of day I eat it. That means I cease to taste it or consider. If I want any in my system, have to eat it before 3pm or it will interrupt sleep.
Autopilot is useful. It saves decision-energy of needing to evaluate all the minutiae constantly. What do I miss out of on if I don’t Do That Thing?
I’m a little buzzy-headed. Which is not surprising considering I went to bed at An Insensibly Late Hour because I Was Doing Stuff. Then, once settled into bed, a picture frame spontaneously fell off the wall, breaking the frame and glass and later some meowing in night of cat locked out of to our minds unswept glass to her mind, her night watchtower viewing window. Then my body woke me Obscenely Early.
Why when I go to bed very early does my body sleep in extra and when I go to bed late, it wakes me extra early?
I’d say when busy, I work later and sleep anxious so less deeply except I sleep more when anxious. Puppet strings cut. When relaxed I sleep deeply and long.
And I’m getting a new idea underway. People ask if they can subscribe. So I’ll make a the monthly or so newsletter. If you want to be on my mailing lists about my publishing and blogging things sign up here. Now, maybe I’ll take a siesta. Or more likely get back to reading what I said I would.
To not be traffic. How to convince industries that it is a positive value to make silence and dimness instead of sound competition?
What about a priority to quiet car engines, plane engines. To not have a backup beep that you can hear from 3 blocks away. To not have cars beep reminders of this or the other.
Such a frenetic soundstorm it’s like watching individual snowflakes. Even in Algonquin Park there was the hum of traffic and the rumble of lumber trucks.
How far to go back a century in time to what everyone used to experience? How far out to go before there’s dark sky so you can actually see the beauty of stars as exciting rather than underwhelming compared to internet?
I’m reading, as you may have seen at pesbo and how striking it is the distances we can travel except in China in the 1700s there was a depth of history and landscape. Who’s his favorite poet? And he reaches a millennia back.
Trees are a vertical habitat, an extension of property upwards. We are all squatters on land except some of us to mark our territory go thru a small gymnastics of taxes.
The bean plant has more invested stake in ground than those with legs. Our neighbhour sprays pesticides but doesn’t pick weeds. Lets them blossom then cuts the long grass, the flowers going to seed. Why does he think that if you cut a blossom before it seeds that it won’t seed. Plants aren’t quite like us.
Why is it that people want to talk about nothing? To share beauty os more useful to the body than to share inactionable things.
Is there anything new on the internet? No? More people wanting to talk and engage but not wanting to disclose anything of themselves so more quizzes of which book, comic character, 18th century novelist, renaissance thinker, colour, personality type, city, house appliance, shape of dust bunny, or word you are. Or, to not be trivial, relay photos of dead people.
The interview [at link] with Jacob Wren about his new book Polyamorous Love Song is interesting. What would happen if instead of all songs being dedicated to one true love, (and I’d add a “you” that is easily substituted for one true god and made into prayer), all songs were sung to many loves? What would that shift in cultural jenga? What if real things were at stake not just made for entertainment?
To be content creators rather than relayers of already popularly media news, this seems useful.
Some things have the same outward shape but different spirit. Farmer’s Markets for example. The Byword Market and Parkdale Market function the same, to sell things daily. The smaller weekly ones have a different spirit. The one in Little Italy, the Beechwood Market and the McDonalds Corner’s Market feel more like community than commercial.
They sell the same sort of goods but there’s more of sense of coming out of a desire to make an improved world. Is it purely the time structure, or the people involved? Is small batch necessarily more global-minded and local-tied whereas large scale is its own multinational kind of floater. There’s not the investment in here. If not here, somewhere else is just as interchangeable?
To loop back to the car idea, we’ve been 8 years carfree after a decade with a gas-electric hybrid. Going to awkward places by transit tends to get stored up until we need to rent a car to see out-of-town family and then any errand time cuts into family time and is is subtracted from energies. $50 a day or so for a car to drive a couple hours and sit the rest of the time. Awkward. Trains don’t go where we need them to. Busses I have done but the Greyhound still only loops a half hour drive away from destination. But Vrtucar is pretty cheap at drop in rate. Instant bookings. Cheaper than a taxi. Cheaper than a rental car for an hour or two. It’s an elegant solution to plans made overly complex by the distances social ties are spread over.
Life is much about choosing your focus, changing your focus. What is real may be the thing or an image of a thing. Even an image of a thing is enough to chase. See a cat chasing shadow of fly on the wall. Frog trying to eat fly on the iphone, seems more frustratingly out of reach. For mental exercise and challenge, needs can be as much met with simulacrum as the real.
Is a to-do list complete without the level of do-dadding-diddle, for what? and that for what benefit? And why is that good and useful?
As monk Thomas Merton considered The Way of Chuang Tzu, he at one point concluded about the pitfalls of making an effort to improve, “The more “the good” is objectively analyzed, the more it is treated as something to be attained by special virtuous techniques, the less real it becomes. As it becomes less real it recede further into the distance of abstraction, futurity, unattainability [...] a devotion to the systemic usefulness of practicing means that lead no where. This is, in fact, nothing but organized despair.”
Improvement: doing it wrong.
It’s easy to overcomplicate and mistake good route for the goal. Best practice might be to print one manuscript on blue paper and manuscript B on pink so I can find them in a sea of white papers. But it’s not necessary. The system isn’t the thing. The doing is the thing. Do it efficient, or do it chaotically, throw in emotional weight or do it and not care about outcomes. The action is the thing.
One can figure out rules and patterns that should optimize. It is easy to forget why and that they are not the ends in themselves. For what, for what, leads me towards less pain for others and for self, an eased path in the long and short term.
What are good practices? If we were confined to best practice we’d spend most of our time deadlocked. Doing and not straining is a good practice. Use your muscles for something other than clenching; to keep them and heart and ends of the blood system pumping properly. Stay hydrated. Eat nutritionally varied and nutritionally dense food. Do things that improve the world around you meaningfully. Cultivate peace and beauty without hiding from or denying ugly and neutral. Exercise your compassion and your critical thinking. Sleep enough. Work enough to sleep well. Spend time in communication with like-minded and different-minded. Happiness techniques. Balance the spheres of your life.
There are times when one sphere rightly rules and displaces other things, just as there are seasons when fruit comes in season and the grains are set aside. Sometimes are not for full sleep or proper diet or listening.
It’s good to prop open the mind so new possibilities can come but not so uncritically that any fool thing is given equal weight as the sound and tested things.
It’s impossible to be in all the right place & all the right times. There’s now. There’s the now chipping and slipping away. It would be easy to pursue the disappearing moon. Or let it go and wait to see what is now.
You’re never going to run out of motivation. You’re never going to stop driving yourself and find you become a null. The body rests and like inhale follows exhale, something else to chase rises.
If you treat yourself like driftwood and decide that whatever happens is to the learning and to the good, you can have a state of rubberstamping good. This can take more energy than calling a downside and moving on.
If the mandala of the world is that all things are to the good, all bad contains good outcome, that’s going to take a lot of legwork mentally to justify. Work to see the benefit and overriding logic in the random which gives a sense of large picture purpose and path but there’s a tradeoff in the delusion and the crunch comes when you try to make sense of something out of reach.
You may feel you personally failed, spiral into self-blame but all the patterns were fanciful structures as substantial as cotton candy.