the roundedness of things

At the end of the summer A. and I made a guide to filling our days, something we did a long time ago to fill those pockets of time together with good things. Our list for September included: more porch dinners, visiting friends in Asheville, biking the downtown trail, singing on the kitchen floor, church vacation and finding spike ball friends. There were plenty of things we didn't get to (going to the swimming hole, picnicking in the gardens, etc.)—we'll have to carry those over to October, which is now, somehow, just around the corner.

After a three-week hiatus, I really am just in the mood to cook, cook everything! Tonight we made these sorrel pesto rice bowls, and I want to make this banana bread with muscovado and chocolate. I also want to get some chard from the market to make chard with chickpeas, lemon, and tomatoes.

I have just started working with a 4x5 view camera, and it is everything. There is just something extraordinary about throwing a dark cloth over your head and staring at a reversed, upside-down image on the ground glass—something I have never felt with a digital camera, or even a 35mm camera.

A poem out in the world, and Frank Ocean's Blonde all the time.

These words, which A. sent my way:

"When Jesus warned, 'everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted,' he spoke, apparently, of two alternative mistakes and not only one, a false self-promotion and a false self-humiliation, both in need of correction. The reality that exposes false pretensions catches up with us, not only to throw us down from heights of importance we have arrogated to ourselves, but also to dig us up from bunkers of insignificance we have hollowed out for ourselves. Hiding like Saul among the baggage, we shall be dragged uncomfortably before those who expect something of us. Perhaps, after all, there is truth in the suggestion that the two failings join hands behind the curtain, that modest invisibility is not very different from boastful self-promotion. Whether publicizing oneself or shrinking from publicity, one hopes to avoid the candid gaze that sees through one's self-image. What is required is that we know ourselves as we are known. To refuse self-knowledge is to refuse to find ourselves in the world God loves, to refuse to love ourselves." 

(Oliver O'Donovan, Finding and Seeking: Ethics as Theology, Volume II, 54-55)

[singing on the kitchen floor, a favorite activity, 35mm]


the bests of the summer

biking in denver // honey stingers // getting a tattoo with reb // beach day with kira // birthday sheep's milk ricotta bruschetta // boulted bread dates with a. // curating my first exhibit // meeting susan worsham // summiting mount democrat // prayers from father martin in my inbox // elena ferrante // ellie running to greet me at all souls // chicago with shannon // josé gonzalez in millennium park // emma and heather in the same room again // biking to locopops // FLORIST in chapel hill // riley and maggie // moxie koigns // sam walking down the aisle // thump coffee mornings // eldarado canyon state park // sweet corn ravioli from potager // RICHMOND // tacos with janine and zech // gordon parks exhibit at the virginia museum of fine arts // biking the american tobacco trail // hannah praying with her lips // "and the Lord remembered her" // quirk hotel // austin's farming hat // remembering why i love annie dillard // asheville weekend // "the impeded stream is the one that sings" // cardamom buns // spike ball with jeff and reb at the gardens // string lights on our front porch // walking around cheeseman park with a. // using our tent for the first time // waving at mr. b every single morning

[view of Kite Lake from a climb up Mount Democrat, CO]


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)