pace e bene


"Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places." 
(Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities)

Some photographs from that first day to myself in Rome: the Pantheon, Giolliti, Piazza Navona, wine and bruschetta in Campo Dei Fiori, San Luigi dei Francesi (Caravaggio's The Calling of Saint Matthew), Sant'Agostino (Caravaggio's Madonna di Loreto), sitting on the steps of the Capitoline Museum, etc. Those first few impressions from wandering into a new city are always somehow unique and wonderful.


we think of you when we look at him


Around Italy recently: the streets of Orvieto, San Damiano (the convent of the Poor Clares), the Duomo in Orvieto, the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi (where Giotto's frescoes of the Life of St. Francis are located, as well as St. Francis' grave), Eremo delle Carceri (Saint Francis' hermitage), and Monte Subasio (the slope where Francis first retreated).

"Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation
and especially for our Brother Sun,
who brings us the day and the light;
he is strong and shines magnificently.
O Lord, we think of you when we look at him.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon 
and the stars; in the heavens.
You have made them 
bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord,
for our Brothers Wind and Air
and every kind of weather
by which you, Lord,
uphold life in all your creatures."

(St. Francis, The Canticle of Creation)


not to grasp


This is the convent in Orvieto that I have the privilege of staying in this month. It seems like a dream living in such a beautiful space and walking past this little guy every day, and all I can think to say is that I am grateful.

A few other things:

Agnes Martin at the Tate.

Italy has changed my perspective on eggplant. Sliced thinly, grilled, and topped with balsamic, fresh mozzarella, and basil—few things are better.

Also, these words from Father Martin, which I scribbled down awhile back, and which are necessary words today as I meet with certain disappointments:

"We are not to grasp at that which we desire, rather to extend open hands, the palms turned upwards in prayer."


why we must struggle


"If we have not struggled
as hard as we can
at our strongest
how will we sense
the shape of our losses
or know what sustains
us longest or name
what change costs us,
saying how strange
it is that one sector
of the self can step in
for another in trouble,
how loss activates
a latent double how
we can feed
as upon nectar,
upon need?"

(Kay Ryan, Say Uncle: Poems)

Found this poem torn from a book and taped on a retro orange fridge the other day, and have been thinking about it ever since. This, especially: to name what change costs us. 

Also: missing my old room back in Durham, and looking forward to creating new spaces there soon.

[honeywell pentax, 35mm]


iceland ii.


I think what surprised me the most about this country was how quickly and drastically the landscape changes, from pseudocraters to hot springs to waterfalls to black sand beaches to glacier lagoons to volcanoes. 

We worked our way around the island clockwise, starting north, before making our way back around to the more crowded southeastern edge. I liked the quieter and isolated fjords and peninsulas of the north much better; though after being in some of the most remote areas, there was always something relieving about returning to a small town, or seeing another car, or even just a farm in the distance. 

I will miss the lace curtains and trinkets in every windowsill, rhubarb jam spread on waffles, Olafur and Anna and the view from Berunes, skyr tart, that enchanting sense of isolation, Adult Jazz and Panda Bear on repeat, and endless time with Derek. I will not miss the smell of sulfur or staying in crowded hostels.


on prayer | 16

"She said, 'The best things that happen I'd never had thought to pray for. In a million years. The worst things just come like the weather. You do what you can.'

He said, 'Family is a prayer. Wife is a prayer. Marriage is a prayer.'

'Baptism is a prayer.'

'No,' he said, 'Baptism is what I'd call a fact.'

'Because you can't just wash it off.'

He laughed. 'Nope. Not with all the water in the West Nishnabotna.'"

(Marilynne Robinson, Lila)