Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What I'm Voting For Today

Here are the things I’m voting for today—

temple bells
green oranges in a walled garden in Pisa
Lady Grey tea

All of these philosophies, these poetries, these ways of being—these I choose.  These I elect, embrace, for two years, four years, for my life.  Hope for our world.  My friends in dialogue with one another.  All write-in candidates, I know; I can’t find boxes on the ballot for any of them.  They are crucial, though, and overlooked, and I write them defiantly in, with my red crayola.

“Walking, I am listening to a deeper way.  Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.  Be still, they say.  Watch and listen.  You are the result of the love of thousands.”
(Linda Hogan)

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”   (John Muir)

“Be loyal to what you love, be true to the earth, fight your enemies with passion and laughter.”  (Edward Abbey, Confessions of a Barbarian)

"You have to pick the places you don't walk away from."  (Joan Didion)

“Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.”
(Mary Oliver, “Mysteries, Yes”)

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."  (Thomas Jefferson)

"Maybe this is the way to come out of a war, he thinks. A burned man to care for, some sheets to wash in a fountain, a room painted like a garden."   (Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient)

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."  (Colette)

"Look up at the sky. Ask yourself, 'Has the sheep eaten the flower or not?' And you'll see how everything changes...
And no grown-up will ever understand how such a thing could be so important."  (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince)

"I grow into these mountains like a moss. I am bewitched. The blinding snow peaks and the clarion air, the sound of earth and heaven in the silence, the requiem birds, the mythic beasts, the flags, great horns, and old carved stones, the silver ice in the black river, the Kang, the Crystal Mountain. Also, I love the common miracles-the murmur of my friends at evening, the clay fires of smudgy juniper, the coarse dull food, the hardship and simplicity, the contentment of doing one thing at a time… gradually my mind has cleared itself, and wind and sun pour through my head, as through a bell. Though we talk little here, I am never lonely; I am returned into myself. In another life—this isn’t what I know, but how I feel—these mountains were my home; there is a rising of forgotten knowledge, like a spring from hidden aquifers under the earth. To glimpse one’s own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon—the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the supper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again to the sky."   (Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard)

"So, friends, every day do something that won't compute...Give your approval to all you cannot understand...Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years...Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts....Practice resurrection."  (Wendell Berry, The Country of Marriage)

"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it."  (J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan)

"Be silly. Be honest. Be kind."  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Remember on this one thing, said Badger. The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories. This is how people care for themselves."  (Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel)

 “Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”  (Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own)

"And the reason I am writing this
on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together

is to tell you that when she turned
to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,

I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted

when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God."
(Billy Collins)

"I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then."  (Georgia O’Keeffe)

 “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”  (Rumi, Masnavi I Man’avi, the spiritual couplets of Maula)

 “I don't think you help people by making their conduct of no importance—you impoverish them. As long as every man and woman who crowded into the cathedrals on Easter Sunday was a principal in a gorgeous drama with God, glittering angels on one side and the shadows of evil coming and going on the other, life was a rich thing. The king and the beggar had the same chance at miracles and great temptations and revelations. And that's what makes men happy, believing in the mystery and importance of their own little individual lives. It makes us happy to surround our creature needs and bodily instincts with as much pomp and circumstance as possible. Art and religion (they are the same thing, in the end, of course) have given man the only happiness he has ever had."  (Willa Cather, The Professor’s House)

Life is an old man carrying flowers on his head."
(E.E. Cummings)

 “The heart's actions
are neither the sentence nor its reprieve.

Salt hay and thistles, above the cold granite.
One bird singing back to another because it can't not.”
(Jane Hirshfield, Come, Thief:  Poems)

“There is no god
apart from poppies and the flying fish,
men singing songs, and women brushing their hair in the sun.”
(D.H. Lawrence)

"Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue...Live the questions."  (Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)

"The moon and sun are travelers through eternity. Even the years wander on. Whether drifting through life on a boat or climbing toward old age leading a horse, each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home."   (Matsuo Basho)

image: John H. White, LesCorsetsLeFuretParis18cutA

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