There’s a more than a little irony in the immediate cacophony of internal noise that is triggered by the word ‘quiet’. I hear my dad’s ‘story voice’ reciting Merton’s When we Two Parted‘ against a background hum of ‘Silence is Golden’. A memory of a most beautiful place stirs sleepily and I feel the haze of Burgundy sunshine, lagoon like pools and the muffled sounds of people’s reflection at The Source.
Quiet. A concept known to all. Heralded as a panacea, a state of the soul, a level of consciousness, a discipline, a practice, a revealer, a healer, a sedative.
Yet. Quiet. Used as a weapon, a punishment, a cop out, an ally, an accomplice, a collusion.
Quiet. The absence of noise, yet, the stillness within sounds.
Lighting. – I did a little post mentioning my love of the softer season’s evening lighting but I’m also mad about LAMPS! I have a growing collection of the weird, the wonderful and the beautiful!
Longfellow – The beauty of his words very often nearly drives me over the edge!
Lakes – Particularly the deep blue pools in the Pyrenees
Licorice-I’m quite mad for the stuff! It has to be hard – tear – with- your- teeth licorice. The sort that you can buy in little bags… cuttings…
Learning- I’m fascinated by the world and it’s people! Sometimes I wonder why we/I bother to research something,my tendency towards nihilism creeps in. Then I realise that I have a genuine love of knowledge and of learning. And sometimes it’s okay to do something for its own sake.
Lemon – Generally love lemons!
Literature- I couldn’t live without it. Oh… and Languages… I love to learn new words in any language. I’d like to be fluent in all the European languages,ancient Greek, Arabic and Latin!
Hmmm… Overall, L is looking kinda like a lame excuse for a post.
(I know it’s cheating but sometimes you just have to take a shortcut.)
J is for Jesus. Mostly, if you read the gospels, a very likeable chap. Mystical, yes. Unpredictable, very. Would you have hung out with him? And if you would… for what reason? Because no doubt about it, he was pretty rebellious…and exciting… Would you have enjoyed the drama? Would you have liked it that he caused a stir? Would you have been attracted by the cool magic stuff? Would you have been drawn to his intense love and his wisdom?
C.S Lewis had a lot to say about the matter and I leave his famous quote about Jesus here. It’s a good one to ponder…
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
A poet like Dickinson has the enviable ability to load a verse with meaning so deep and so heavy you wonder how such simple words can bear the weight.. Her gatherings of commonplace words so often made to shine by their careful ordering, carry a grief so weighty you wonder the words don’t crumble beneath the despair.
This simple little verse almost sags in the middle with the enormity of her existential reflection!
I wanted to put it out there because I think it’s something that every one of needs to have asked and explored. Not in a naval gazing way, more in a back-of-the-mind type of way.
Because I think it’s sometimes good to widen my frame of reference. To briefly place my life on the time / space continuum. It’s sometimes good to feel humbled by the stars. To put my pain and suffering in the context of world history.
And sometimes, it’s good to rethink the areas of my life I can control; and the areas that I can’t. Personally I find it useful to remember that life is short, and wanting control over something doesn’t grant me the right to it. More than that, I know that there are things WITHIN my power, that I need to take control of, rather than deny or disown.
THAT is the hard thing. That’s where Dickinson’s innocent thought is a smack in the face!
Many of us have a mental stash of words we consider ‘beautiful’; words which may sound melodic as they roll round our mouths, hiss gently through our teeth or huff breathily in a whisper. And although not always the case, it seems only right, in the order of all things literary, that such words carry beauty in their meaning.
Giving examples of this is risky, because one person’s sense of audible beauty is very different to that of another, but I like the word ‘mellifluous’ for its melody, ‘mercurial’ for the way it curls in my mouth, and ‘simplicity’ for its gentleness. I also like the softness of ‘dissonance’, although this sits a little uncomfortably in the ‘lovely word’ camp because the slightly negative meaning isn’t reflected by the sound.
Although you might be forgiven for wondering, I really don’t mean to write An Idiot’s Guide to Phonology. Rather, I wanted to write about the sibilance in the word ‘Transience’, the loveliness of its meaning…
and the the poetic beauty of April and Cherry Blossom
and the way it makes my heart unfold
and rise to meet the brief and fragile blush of Spring’s confetti.
I wanted to write about the awe that cleans the very base of my lungs as I stand
beneath the Cherry trees and breathe air sweetened by the blooms.
The Japanese have had it right for centuries, taking the Cherry blossom, or ‘Sakura’, as a symbol of impermanence. a metaphor for the transience of life.
I wanted to write about how short life really is. How, in the context of millions of years, our lives are so small, so frail, so quick.
And I think it’s good to reflect on this. Not to dwell on it, or make morbidity our mind’s echo; but to stop every now and then and let our awareness rest on the blossom of the Cherry Tree and the beautiful fullness of its brief show.