Wait

Image: 'Kitsuno' (uncredited image)

[Image: painting (?) by an unknown artist, of an encounter between a sleeping man and what appears to be a kitsuno disguised as a woman. This looks like a photograph of a painting; if so, I don’t know who took the photo, either. (I found it at this page on Tumblr, which has numerous other images of the same creature, from other sources.) For more about the kitsuno legend (a version of which is alluded to in Hannah Sanghee Park’s poem, below), see the note at the foot of this post.]

From whiskey river:

The death of self of which the great writers speak is no violent act. It is merely the joining of the great rock heart of the earth in its roll. It is merely the slow cessation of the will’s spirits and the intellect’s chatter: it is waiting like a hollow bell with a stilled tongue. Fuge, tace, quiesce. The waiting itself is the thing.

(Annie Dillard [source])

and:

The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.

(John Berger [source])

and:

Alcaic

This forest in May. It haunts my whole life:
the invisible moving van. Singing birds.
In silent pools, mosquito larvae’s
furiously dancing question marks.

I escape to the same places and same words.
Cold breeze from the sea, the ice-dragon’s licking
the back of my neck while the sun glares.
The moving van is burning with cool flames.

(Tomas Tranströmer [source])

[Read more…]

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Irrevocability, Inevitability, and the Line Between Them

Some span of time, broken into finite bands

[No, I don’t know what this represents in the real world. (I found it at a site somehow related to optical engineering, and am too distracted to make sense of it at the moment.) But it feels right: obviously a span of time, with three bright lines each clearly demarcating… something.]

Yesterday I passed a milestone of sorts: I signed the various forms which will, as of July 13, render me officially “retired.” Only… not so retired.

It used to be — although I’m sure it’s a fairly recent development, only in the last 75 years or so — that when someone retired, at least in the US, he parted company not only with his current employer, but with any employer. He stopped working, at least working for pay. Retired life, the retired life of fantasy anyhow, featured white-haired protagonists tending their gardens, writing memoirs, downsizing their homes with wandering RVs, becoming cranks, lovable curmudgeons, and (sometimes bound up in the same soul) chuckling old-timers. Given enough resources, especially retirement savings, they could do pretty much what they wanted with the rest of their days.

Different world now.

Far from staying home and puttering, or taking up new hobbies and so on, I will instead be coming to work five days a week, eight hours a day: to my same office, to perform the same work I’ve been performing for years. I can do this for up to five years, if I’d like. My accumulated pension savings will go into an interest-bearing account meanwhile; otherwise, I’ll continue to draw my salary, have the same benefits, build up and use personal and medical leave, and so on, just the same as always.

So no, as of July 13, I won’t really be retired. Not in the old sense. However, no matter what my official or semi-official status on the job, I will have entered a new life phase

[Read more…]

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