our dark greens of meaning

"What if we're here just for saying: house,
bridge, fountain, gate, jug, fruit tree, window,
at most: column, tower . . . but for saying, understand,
oh for such saying as the things themselves
never hoped so intensely to be. Isn't this the sly purpose
of the taciturn earth, when it urges lovers on:
that in their passion each single thing should find ecstasy?"

"How we waste our afflictions!
We study them, stare out beyond them into bleak continuance,
hoping to glimpse some end. Whereas they're really
our wintering foliage, our dark greens of meaning, one
of the seasons of the clandestine year—; not only
a season—: they're site, settlement, shelter, soil, abode."

R.M. Rilke, Duino Elegies

[New Orleans, disposable film, 2014]


we don't love like flowers

I am sitting at the studio where I work, "woman-ing" (as my boss says) the gallery for the Saturday brunch hours. A. and I slept in for the first time in a very long while and went to the farmers' market and ate lemon poppyseed muffins on a bench and talked about naming our future dog Poppy, which almost makes me want to get a dog. We are in an in-between space, frantically trying to figure out jobs and housing and whether or not we are staying in or leaving Durham. Everything feels fragile. A trip to the farmers' market at once feels sentimental (if we leave) and boring (if we stay).

I have been inching my way through John Berger's Portraits, reading an essay most mornings with my coffee, and being reminded how much I love reading about art. My two main goals for this year were really just to (a) read more and (b) take pictures. I have been doing both, and it feels right. It feels like where I ought to be. 

We have fennel and leeks and lettuce and peas and basil in our garden, and the first thing I do each morning is walk into the kitchen, open the blinds, and look out on the raised bed to see if anything looks bigger than the day before. They rarely do, but there is great joy when the fennel looks just the slightest bit healthier and larger, or the leeks look rounder and more robust.

These words have been on my mind:

"Let us return, then, to that anointing of his, let us return to that anointing that teaches within what we cannot speak; and because you cannot see now, let your role be found in longing. The whole life of a good Christian is a holy longing. But what you long for you do not see, but by longing you are made capacious so that when what you are to see has come, you may be filled...So God, by postponing, stretches the longing, by longing stretches the soul, by stretching makes it capacious. Let us long, therefore, brothers, because we are going to be filled.”
(Augustine, Tractate 4 on 1 John 2:27-39)

[The Guggenheim in NYC last November, 35mm]