“Step one. Suppose you clear away all the happinesses that you distrust? Step two. Clear away all the unhappinesses that you have come to trust. Get rid of them too, don’t count on your miseries or your titillations. What will be left behind? Perhaps, after you’ve cleaned all that out, you might find in the back of your cupboard something like the theme of the Goldberg Variations. A deeply trustable happiness. A tender, discombobulating — but not discombobulated! — smile with just enough sadness and loss in it to be believable, to be endurable.”
Jeremy Denk's beautiful meditation on ”the mishmash of reverence and irreverence” in Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
I study nature so as not to do foolish things.
For instance, in the worst windstorms
only the most delicate things survive:
a vireo’s nest intact on the lawn next to the roots
of a monstrous tree. Life makes so much sense!
-Mary Ruefle, “Topophilia”
“We each only really speak one sentence in our lifetime. That sentence begins with your first words, toddling around the kitchen, and ends with your last words … in a nursing home, the night-duty attendant vaguely on hand. Or, if you are blessed, they are heard by someone who knows you and loves you and will be sorry to hear the sentence end.” - Mary Ruefle
A New Year’s white morning of hard new ice.
High on the frozen branches I saw a squirrel jump and skid.
Is this scary? he seemed to say and glanced
down at me, clutching his branch as it bobbed
in stiff recoil – or is it just that everything sounds wrong today?
He wiped his small cold lips with one hand.
Do you fear the same things as
I fear? I countered, looking up.
His empire of branches slid against the air.
The night of hooks?
The man blade left open on the stair?
Not enough spin on it, said my true love
when he left in our fifth year.
The squirrel bounced down a branch
and caught a peg of tears.
The way to hold on is