How cool are these Saga bamboos!
A picture of refreshing air!by Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694)
Time is a river that carries me away, but I am the river; it is a tiger that destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.Jorge Luis Borges, A New Refutation of Time
I was nineteen when I discovered Borges, as a first-year university student, an age when the world is still new and discoveries have a deep emotional effect. Reading Labyrinths for the first time is one of the motley experiences that shaped me into the person I am today.
The Refutation of Time (1946), an elegant essay on time, was later included in the Labyrinths volume from 1962. A mere quotation fails to convey Borges’ richness of thought, unexpected connections, and elegant prose.
If you haven’t read anything by Borges, I urge you to do so. I envy you the thrill of reading him for the first time.
The first Borges books I bought back in the day from my meager student allowance. I still read them every few years, always remembering the joy I had experienced the first time. He imagined the universe as a library. Need I say more?
What stillness! The cicadas’ voices
Penetrates the rocks.by Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694)
A few weeks ago I’ve stumbled over an interesting article about art and artists, How to Be an Artist, by Jerry Saltz, the New York Magazine art critic. The whole article lists thirty-three points and is worth reading in full. I have inserted below a few points that resonated with me. Especially the last one. LOL.
- Tell your own story and you will be interesting.
- Your skill will be whatever it is you’re doing differently.
- Writers need editors.* No exceptions.
- Life is your syllabus: gather from everywhere.
- The best definition of success is time – the time to do your work.
- Be delusional: I have one solution to turn away these demons: After beating yourself up for half an hour or so, stop and say out loud, ”Yeah, but I’m a fucking genius”.
* My comment: definitely; it’s sufficient to compare Andy Weir’s The Martian (self-published) to Artemis (published by Ballantine Books). QED. I love Science-Fiction and I did read the whole Martian. But I wished all the time for an editor. I almost grabbed a pen and started editing it myself.
Some villages have no sea-breams, no flowers;
But tonight’s moon is seen in all villages.by Ihara Saikaku (1642 – 1693)
Nothing can be willed into being, only waited on, for, or waited out.A.K. Ramanujan from “Journeys: A Poet’s Diary”
I often find myself thinking of Ramanujan‘s words, especially when the blank page stares at me, the cursor steadily flickering its accusatory blink. I delete more than I write. The inner critic is always on duty. But write I do, in the end. After all, “you can always edit a bad page; you can’t edit a blank page”. Jodi Picoult would know.
All the hard work of the last four months has paid off (thank you, Covid-19 for the unexpected time off). The garden is lush and vibrating (literally) with insect life; as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I planned the garden to attract wildlife.
Painted lady butterfly (Cynthia cardui) on echinacea (Echinacea purpurea var. Magnus).
Tortoise-shell butterfly (Aglais urticae) and bumblebee competing for the same flower.
Tortoise-shell butterfly on aster (Aster amellus).
Painted lady butterfly in a sea of echinacea.
A bumblebee hard at work on a pink echinacea.
Peacock butterfly (Inachis io).
Bumblee on great masterwort (Astrantia major). Notice the raised leg, warning off other insects from the flower.
Two brimstone butterflies (Gonepteryx rhamni) have a meeting. Exchanging tips on best echinacea maybe?
Now I’m off to the garden again, weeding, and deadheading, and watering, and, and, … work never stops in a garden. Or fun.
I hope you have a good summer, considering Covid-10 et al. Stay healthy, stay calm, and soldier on. And don’t forget to laugh.
Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?
Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)—
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.
by Robert Frost (1874–1963)
Hard-working guy #1: bumblebee on Echinacea purpurea var. Magnus.
Hard-working guy #2: bumblebee on Knautia macedonica var. Melton Pastels.
Hard-working guy #3: painted lady butterfly (Cynthia cardui) on Echinacea purpurea var. Magnus.
And for any languages nerd out there (that is, besides me): here‘s an interesting thread about hardworking vs. hard-working. Have a great weekend!
Cultivate the habit of zest. Purposefully seek out the beauty in the seemingly trivial. Especially in the trivial. The colors and shapes of the foods you eat. The shadows a vase makes on your table. The interesting faces of the people on the bus with you. – Karen Salmansohn
I snapped the image above with my iPhone (remember, the best camera is the one that you have with you) on my daily walk. A play of light and shadows, tree branches over a parking spot.
I’d make this the first rule of photography: always bring the camera; and your attention.
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