to say the names of things

"God is present and will be present. All of us have heard, or in some way experienced, a call. It may have been a voice in the night or a dawning awareness, a lifelong inclination or an epiphany impelling us to change how we live altogether. How we respond to that call is manifested in our lives as artists. I like to think that what we do and what we make are ways of saying to God, 'Here I am. I am present, too.'" [Mark Jarman, in an article in Image]

Listening to a lot of Hello Shark this weekend.

These—the perfect road trip snack.

[from a trip to Boston, earlier this year, Honeywell Pentax, 35mm]


on turning

My friend Heather, in her Boston apartment earlier this year.

And Joel Meyorwitz, answering the question: What do you look for in a photograph?

"It's a merger of what's inside your head and what's outside your eyes, and finding a way to synthesize that experience—because what's inside your head isn't something that you have predetermined you want to have. It's a notion of what's satisfying, what fills you up. I think about photographs as being full, or empty. You picture something in a frame and it's got lots of accounting going on in it—stones and buildings and trees and air—but that's not what fills up a frame. You fill up a frame with feelings, energy, discovery, and risk, and leave room enough for someone else to get in there. It's full because you're there, because you carried a lifetime of impulses with you that direct you toward the clear sky behind you. You don't know why, but you turn to it."

[Honeywell Pentax, 35mm]


ten good things, & other things

01. a sweet, sweet weekend with kira, and a reminder of how easy a friendship can be—what a rare gift.
02. roasted tomato soup and beet pesto and spring minestrone and all the glories of summer produce.
03. bright blue hydrangeas from the market, now on our table.
04. postcards, letters, and packages in the mail. new bra, new books, chicory root to make this!
05. scoring a $70 book on fra angelico for $17 at the used bookstore downtown.
06. a job that I love and an employer who offers constant encouragement. also a rare gift.
07. summer travel plans: cincinnati! charlottesville! chicago! denver! possibly maine!
08. returning to old journals and memories from last summer at this time: in iceland, with derek.
09. all the friends who have traveled to visit us, drank coffee on our front porch, slept on our air mattress, and ate dinner on the kitchen floor with us.
10. this month of june, which is always a good month.

Lately, also:

Listening all day long to Told Slant's Going By

I am trying to find words for the movement from dusk to darkness in the summertime, how slow it is, until that last moment of light which flickers out suddenly like a flame. It's like this: the sun holds on to the day, as if they were attached by a string stretched taught and long into the evening, the tension growing before snapping into the darkness of night, only the constancy of the fireflies carrying us across the divide. That last moment of light is anything but slow: it is sharp, quick, easy to miss. I want to spend this summer waiting for that snap.

[our tomatoes and peppers, much larger now! honeywell pentax, 35mm]


the good flesh continuing

Some disposable camera images from our honeymoon in Joshua Tree, something like six months ago now.

Also, lately:

Listening to Quilt. And Strange Bedfellows! Very proud of A. & friends.

Meditation at Lagunitas by Robert Hass, which is probably one of my top five favorite poems ever, and reading it is the quickest way to transport myself back to that perfect Berkeley summer.

Consuming a lot of strawberries with homemade basil-infused whipped cream. Nothing better.

Crossing build a raised bed off my list of goals this week, after A. and I hauled pounds and pounds of topsoil, shovel by shovel, into our little 8x4 bed. I planted purple cherokee tomatoes, green arrow shelling peas, broccoli di cecco, leeks, and bell peppers! Now to prevent the cabbage worms and bunnies from consuming it all.


and more, have our being

I spent the bulk of last week at Mepkin Abbey, in Monck's Corner, SC, just a half hour north of Charleston. I went to pray about my life, marriage, and vocation. I went also to rest, to write, to be alone long enough so that words can come to the wordless parts of me. I was surprised at how easily I slipped into the silence of the monastery, how right it felt to be alone and quiet for a few days. I walked away slow hours in the woods and gardens, spiraled through the labyrinth each morning, took at least two naps a day, read for a few hours in bed each night, and learned to listen for the bells calling us back to chapel for lauds, prime, terce. In many ways, it was more jarring to come back to the busyness of real life then to enter into the silence of the abbey.

"For I saw him and sought him; for now we are so blind and so unwise that we never seek God until out of his goodness he shows himself to us, and if he graciously lets us see something of himself, then we are moved by the same grace to seek with great longing to see him more fully; and thus I saw him and I sought him, I had him and I wanted him. And it seems to me that this is, or should be, our usual way of proceeding."

(Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love)


on prayer | 18

"As for myself, I have found faith not to be a comfort but a provocation to a life I never seem to live up to, an eruption of joy that evaporates the instant I recognize it as such, an agony of absence that assaults me like a psychic wound. As for my children, I would like them to be free of whatever particular kink there is in me that turns every spiritual impulse into anguish. Failing that, I would like them to be free to make of their anguish a means of peace, for themselves or others (or both), with art or action (or both). Failing that—and I suppose, ultimately, here in the ceaseless machinery of implacable matter, there is only failure—I would like them to be able to pray, keeping in mind the fact that, as St. Anthony of the Desert said, a true prayer is one that you do not understand."

(Christian Wiman, "I Will Love You in the Summertime")


this to that

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

[Lucille Clifton]