Everything I know about the sea and sailing I have learned from and with Marike. She does not speak in this piece, but, as in Nightwatch #1, is everywhere implied. Beneath the sound of the waves and the wind in the sails and the hum of the engine I am listening for her breath, for the sound of her stirring. I move quietly in the dark hours, so as to let her rest, every hour logging our position on paper so that should something go wrong with the power systems on the boat, we know (more or less) where we are. She does likewise as I am sleeping, sailing sailing sailing into the light. Continue reading Nightwatch #2 (on boredom)
The house cracks with cold and I wake as if gunshot, veering from dream into thumping pressure on my eardrums. I am inside Ilya Kaminsky’s republic of the deaf watching birds lift noiselessly into the sky after an explosion. The news coming from the Ukraine, from Odessa and Kharkiv and Lviv and Kyiv is uniformly terrible. Continue reading Watching birds lift noiselessly after an explosion (Postcard with Ilya Kaminsky)
I let out the dog and stand in the air, inhaling lungfuls of land and sea smell. A damp breeze circles my ankles. Suddenly nearby a loon cry and then another and another. On this shore we say that means a change in the weather. Usually rain. But I also hear: company in the darkness so eloquent that at once it pierces and names your loneliness. Loonsong the stitch that knits life and death and every isolated sorrow, the sound for which I’ve forever waited at the water’s edge, neither coming nor going nor yet surely staying. Continue reading Nightdark loonsong heartswail
We are seized by the yellow light of the fading afternoon: the way the islands flame before the setting sun. Here is winter, but there is light. Continue reading What is seen in a season of darkness
Recently someone–a student who is also a colleague– sent me a list of words that begins with the word collaboration and ends with the word crisis. The list is a request for a collaboration as well as a compilation of many of the varieties of chaos, computational and not, introduced into our lives by COVID-19–or more precisely, by our confounding, cranky, critical and community responses to COVID-19. Continue reading Sound Collaboration–To listen for the shapes of words
No doubt about it, I’m having trouble doing my work. Trouble getting things done. Trouble sleeping. Trouble waking. How my eyes ache. And my joints. My heart feels funny. It is as if neither my eyes nor my brain can focus–as if the frame glitches and slips just a little, the visible world doubling at the edges. Continue reading Songs of an anxious mind
How can we attend to what we have not noticed? It took a week or ten days for the strangeness of the silence that surrounded us as we walked in the forest to become audible, to realize that it was not what we were hearing but what we were not hearing that was what was important. The realization didn’t come all at once. Continue reading The Silence of the Songbirds
We have to climb to see the sunshine. At 40,000 feet, the clouds seem like a vast snow-blasted landscape–blue shadows of the distance like linking pools of half-frozen water. It is a landscape without trees, just the long arc of the atmosphere curving away in the distance. The sun is bright and hot–it seems as if it has been days since I’ve felt its heat and blare, the sting of so much light in my eyes. Continue reading Who will watch you while you sleep?
Winter blows in.
Geese gather in the yard in advance of the ice, eating what remains of the grass. Continue reading Winter blows in
In this strange and fecund season here at the edge of the sea, I am thinking a great deal about climate change, for its signs seem acutely evident now, all around us. We appear to be witnessing major shifts or collapses in sea bird populations. Species of fish and shellfish we’ve not seen before show up here and there, and morning and night we mark the heights and declines of the tides–they are more extreme; likewise, storms when they come carry away larger and larger chunks of various shorelines. In such a space, what, for every living thing, might be reasons for hope, for looking to a future? And what might any living thing hope for (or against)? Continue reading 14 Reasons for Hope: A Phenomenology of Place