Turnstone

Shards, Sweepings, Stealings, Sayings, Secrets

Month: December, 2009

Physical Path, Mental Path

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” Henry David Thoreau

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Love Sick

“Now as they walked in this land, they had more rejoicing than in parts more remote from the kingdom to which they were bound; and drawing near to the city, they had yet a more perfect view thereof. It was builded of pearls and precious stones, also the street thereof was paved with gold; so that by reason of the natural glory of the city, and the reflection of the sunbeams upon it, Christian with desire fell sick; Hopeful also had a fit or two of the same disease. Wherefore, here they lay by it a while, crying out, because of their pangs, If ye find my beloved, tell him that I am sick of love.” John Bunyan. The Pilgrim’s Progress

“I’m walking through streets that are dead
Walking, walking with you in my head
My feet are so tired, my brain is so wired
And the clouds are weeping…

I’m sick of love but I’m in the thick of it
This kind of love I’m so sick of it…

Sometimes the silence can be like the thunder
Sometimes I wanna take to the road and plunder
Could you ever be true?
I think of you
And I wonder…” Bob Dylan. Love Sick

The True Spirit Of The Camino

For me this picture represents the heart, the essence, the true spirit of the Camino…

(With thanks to Rita)

Saving The Planet

 

Copenhagen was a political and ecological disaster. Who’s going to save the planet now?

The Unity Of All Things

“What is without us is also within / What is within us is also without” The Upanishads (600 BC)

“I and all things in the Universe are one” Chuang-Tzu (4 BC)

“You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself flows in your veins” Thomas Traherne (1674)

“Every part of the universe contains the whole universe enfolded within it” David Bohm (1983)

What’s remarkable here is that everyone’s saying the same thing – despite the difference of centuries. I think I’m right in saying that all the latest post-Einsteinian scientific research – biological, chemical, physical, astronomical – supports this age-old idea of a unified universe based ultimately on beautifully simple principles; that the astonishing variety and complexity of all living things blossoms out of a clear, intelligible and homogenous underlying structure.

Church Going

 

Church Going

Once I am sure there’s nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence.

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new –
Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don’t.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
‘Here endeth’ much more loudly than I’d meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches will fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognisable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation – marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these – for which was built
This special shell? For, though I’ve no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognized, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round. Philip Larkin


The Grace Of The World

“When despair for the world grows in me, and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be – I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” Wendell Berry

The peace of wild things…

The presence of still water…

The grace of the world…

Miracles

Why! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the
water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love–or sleep in the bed at night with
any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with my mother,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds–or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down–or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;
Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best–
mechanics, boatmen, farmers,
Or among the savans–or to the soiree–or to the opera,
Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery,
Or behold children at their sports,
Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old
woman,
Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,
Or my own eyes and figure in the glass;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring–yet each distinct, and in its place.

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the
same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass–the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women,
and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.

To me the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships,
with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there? Walt Whitman

Buddhism And Miracles

“Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural & spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things as a meaningful unity.”  Albert Einstein

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

My Hero: Vincent van Gogh

By Margaret Drabble

 The Guardian, 5 December 2009

Self-Portrait (1889) by Vincent van Gogh

Detail of Self-Portrait, 1889, by Vincent van Gogh. Photograph: Corbis/© Gianni Dagli Orti

“When I was a child, I knew that Van Gogh was the greatest painter who had ever lived. For years he blinded me to other artists. I have learned to admire Botticelli and Caravaggio and Ivon Hitchens, but in old age I am faithful to my earliest love. What Van Gogh did is, for me, what painting is. The eye sees, the hand obeys, the spirit flows into brush strokes, the world is recreated and revealed. As a child, I knew nothing of his long apprenticeship or his madness or his failures in the market place. Nobody told me. I saw nothing mad or tragic in his vision of the natural world. I saw intensity and a world of glory.

We had prints of his work at home, one of them of the drawbridge at Langlois, which enthralled me. As a schoolgirl I bought postcards and posters, of irises and cypresses and starry nights and a yellow chair. They brought me immeasurable joy. I believed he looked into the heart of creation, with the eye of God, and what the Hubble telescope has seen confirms my belief. The glory exalted and blinded him. That is enough to make him heroic. He knew the mysteries of the cosmos.

But he was, I discovered, more than a visionary. He was a hard-working, good-hearted man, who endured illness and public neglect with stoic patience, and showed a tender gratitude to those who cared for him. I have been reading the handsomely illustrated six-volume edition of his letters, which displays his wide reading, his warm and generous admiration for his fellow artists, his forlorn but unquestioning dedication to his work. The bravery with which he attempted to handle his mania in the asylum of St-Paul-de-Mausole is infinitely touching. He took pleasure in copying the work of Millet, Delacroix, Courbet, Rembrandt, and writes to his brother Theo that copying ‘teaches, and above all, consoles’. This is the humility of greatness. The paintings of this period are astounding in their originality, but the copies are also wonderful. He is, with Shakespeare, beyond praise.”