The Hidden, the Hiding

'comfort in shadows,' by user 'JustCallMe_Bethy' on Flickr

[Image: “comfort in shadows,” found on Flickr. The photo is by a user whose display name there is JustCallMe_♥Bethy♥_. (Used here under a Creative Commons license.) She (assuming it is indeed a woman) says she was inspired by another Flickr user, Brooke Shaden, who has done several photos of herself wedged into various tight corners in the kitchen.]

From whiskey river:

Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.

(Albert Camus [source (etc., none canonical)])


We will never be the same again. But here’s a little secret for you — no one is ever the same thing again after anything. You are never the same twice, and much of your unhappiness comes from trying to pretend that you are. Accept that you are different each day, and do so joyfully, recognizing it for the gift it is. Work within the desires and goals of the person you are currently, until you aren’t that person anymore, and everything changes once again.

(Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (October 1, 2015) [source])

and (highlighted excerpt):

Forbidden City

Asleep until noon, I’m dreaming
we’ve been granted another year.

You’re here with me, healthy.
Then, half-awake, the half-truth—

this is our last day. Life’s leaking
away again, and this time, we know it.

Dear body, I told you, pleading,
Don’t leave! but I understand you

can’t say anything. Who are we?
Are we fictional? We don’t look

like our pictures, don’t look like
anyone I know. Daylight

flickers through a bamboo grove,
we approach the Forbidden City,

Looking together for the Hall
of Fulfilling Original Wishes.

Time is the treasure, you tell me,
and the past is its hiding place.

I instruct our fictional children,
The past is the treasure, time

is its hiding place. If we told him
how much we love him, how much

we miss him, he could stay.
But now you’ve taken me back

to Luoyang, to the Garden of Solitary Joy,
over a thousand years old—

I wake, I hold your hand, you let me go.

(Gail Mazur [source])

Not from whiskey river:


I could have anything I wanted
from the maws of the vending machines
that stood watch over the waiting
room of my stepfather’s Shell station.
Larry or Chubbs would fish out keys
with grimy fingers, swing open
the face of the machine, reveal its innards
stacked columns of soda or candy bars.

Outside the constant ding of the bell
as cars pulled in for gas, directions,
air in the tires, a clean windshield,
drivers impatient for destination,
and Chubbs or Larry would dash, leave
me to choose: Planter’s Peanut
Bar or Nestle’s Crunch, Coke
or orange or chocolate pop. Grit

covered that tiny room, layered
on maps in their laddered racks, dusting
the globe of the gumball machine,
sifted over neat rows of motor oil
in silver cans, smudging the white
pages of homework I filled with
painstaking script. I breathed
the stink of petroleum, kicked

at the legs of a yellow plastic
chair with my black and white
school oxfords, waiting for my stepfather
who was supposed to watch me till
my mother got off work. Nine was too
young, she thought, to stay at home alone.
But every day he’d disappear, banged-up
Chevy gone from the lot, the men

in oil-streaked uniforms shrugging excuses.
“Anything she wants,” he’d instructed them,
and I watched the clock as the sky
darkened and the bright shell glowed
against night. My new bra was too tight;
I hugged my three-ring binder to hide my roll
of belly from Larry, from Chubbs, and sucked
the dregs of chocolate pop or lemon-lime.

(Terry Wolverton [source])


Chapter 41

Higher people hear of the Tao
They diligently practice it
Average people hear of the Tao
They sometimes keep it and sometimes lose it
Lower people hear of the Tao
They laugh loudly at it
If they do not laugh, it would not be the Tao

Therefore a proverb has the following:
The clear Tao appears unclear
The advancing Tao appears to retreat
The smooth Tao appears uneven
High virtue appears like a valley
Great integrity appears like disgrace
Encompassing virtue appears insufficient
Building virtue appears inactive
True substance appears inconstant
The great square has no corners
The great vessel is late in completion
The great music is imperceptible in sound
The great image has no form
The Tao is hidden and nameless
Yet it is only the Tao
That excels in giving and completing everything

(Lao-Tzu [source (among numerous other translations)])


#9: Beware of rendering your memories into words to be read. Words, especially written words, are curiously powerful things: they make the figurative world concrete. Ideas take shape in the form of small black squiggles on a sheet of paper or a word-processing window on a computer screen — and then they freeze. The squiggles can thus be shared, and a common understanding of the ideas which the words represent can develop. But the words are not the ideas — they are not the events remembered. To imagine otherwise is to accept a false syllogism: to imagine, say, that the brain is the mind, that an anatomical drawing or CAT scan of the brain is the brain, and that therefore the picture is the mind.

(JES, Maxims for Nostalgists)

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