Monday, December 5, 2011

Some things just stay with you.


While getting dressed I thought of the conversation last night and how it exemplified the little pockets of
beauty hidden throughout our lives, even beneath the heavy folds of sadness.

I made this photograph and wrote the accompanying words on November 16, 2011. Someone commented on it today, the first Monday in December 2011, and prompted me to return to it and study its contents. It has me thinking back to words that originally moved me in August 2003. Those words were first published in 1974, as part of a nonfiction narrative by Annie Dillard. You glimpse a few of those words in the photograph. I wrote briefly about the words in September 2009.

Some things just stay with you.

The world's spiritual geniuses seem to discover universally that the mind's muddy river, this ceaseless flow of trivia and trash, cannot be dammed, and that trying to dam it is a waste of effort that might lead to madness. Instead you must allow the muddy river to flow unheeded in the dim channels of consciousness; you raise your sights; you look along it, mildly, acknowledging its presence without interest and gazing beyond it into the realm of the real where subjects and objects act and rest purely, without utterance. "Launch into the deep," says Jacques Ellul, "and you shall see."

excerpt from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

23 comments:

  1. in reading this post, I started singing to myself an old dead song (and I went along with it, because of what you just said): "When the last rose of summer pricks my finger,
    And the hot sun chills me to the bone,
    When I can't hear the song for the singer,
    And I can't tell my pillow from a stone,
    I will walk alone by the black muddy river,
    And sing me a song of my own,
    I will walk alone by the black muddy river,
    And sing me a song of my own... Black muddy river, roll on forever,
    I don't care how deep or wide, if you've got another side,
    Roll muddy river, roll muddy river, black muddy river, roll."

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  2. Amelia, I love the thought of you singing to yourself. Carry on.

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  3. I have just found your beautiful site. Incredible... in just a few minutes I can hear your voice. Some time i will find some more moments and read some more and more and more. .... 'some things do just stay with you' Thanks!

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  4. that is a great piece of knowledge.

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  5. how beautiful. i really like the photograph.

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  6. Mika, Thank you.

    Brooke, I find it intriguing.

    melissa, Thanks.

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  7. i´d love myself a pocket full of beauty...

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  8. "Launch into the deep" that will certainly stay with me. I have a lot of things, sayings (not famous, just things that people have said to me over the years) direct quotes that bubble up when I need them. Like this one "if you are ever unhappy, you can change, you have the power to change your life." Simple and empowering. Beautiful post, Denise.

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  9. "subjects and objects rest purely without utterance"...much food for thought as this is what happens when I just let my mind wander for a while during the day...a lovely place to be. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Your caption is so dense with meaning (and beautifully written)... the meaning mysterious...

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  11. I've never heard of Annie Dilliard before. I'll have to check out her work. Her words are profound.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Beautifully written and thought provoking.

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  13. I must pull "Pilgrim" from my shelf, find where I left off reading and begin again.

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  14. Hmmm I do like the analogy of the mind having a muddy river...yes i very much like that. Thank you.

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  15. I love how your texts engages your readers (including me) to share their own thoughts. My day is so much richer.

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  16. It´s a lovely photo - I like it a lot! :-)

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  17. I would be beyond happy if this entire post -- the image and every single word -- stayed in my heart and mind forever.

    Reading this now, shortly after 7 am, has been a lovely if not necessary way to begin the day. I resolve to not add another twig to that damn dam. Instead, I'll focus on filling my pockets.

    Thank you, Denise.

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  18. I don't know what to say because the words and photo express it perfectly. That phrase with the little pockets of beauty and heavy folds of sadness has often been running through my mind.

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  19. I think that I will print this post and hang it by my computer to ponder on daily...it will share a place with other posts of yours. Today the words mean one thing to me...tomorrow likely another. That's the beauty of the written word isn't it?

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  20. A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is the book that I credit as "converting" me to literature -- I remember reading it and thinking, "I have to be a writer."

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  21. Rachel, Yes, it is something special about the written word, the beauty of the reread is too often forgotten.

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