Sunday, July 30, 2017

Held in Beauty

I woke up this morning with questions popping in my mind like BB guns. Uncertainty, lack of clarity, fear rattlers. I am tired of them, my daily alarm clock.

But fortunately, I am taking care of Kipling at the moment, which necessitates a morning walk before my day becomes entirely solid. I donned the floppy hat, clicked on the leash, shut the gate with a heavy thwack, then turned in the opposite direction that I usually take. My feet having decided in advance of my still rollicking head.

It was late, the sun was already high; the wind had lifted but it was raspy as smoke. Perhaps it was instinctive to trace the tree line, hop-scotching between the whitened dirt path and the promising peace of shade. But it was also deeply reassuring to be under the wings of something so much bigger than I. Trees as tall as a house, backs straight yet arching skyward.

"I would like to be a tree," I thought. And somehow that did not seem lyrical or fantastical but the cool relief of a simpler truth. As Kipling would sniff, I would stop to listen. Not only to the brushing of branches but the piping birds hopesong and the ciglales rattling their summer thrum.

It arrived several times within those moments of seeming stillness that I actually felt uplifted by the life around me to the point of being held. In beauty. Or by it, so strongly that the edges of my skin dissolved. How different from a human embrace, given from one and received by another.

I felt only a coursing of love, so complete and expansive as to silence all questioning.

During the return, Kip and I passed the parking area where camper vans spread out like satellites. A man who resembled a late Picasso (the person, not the paintings) was seated hunched over his guitar and strummed out slowly the chords of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." *

Under my breath as if half-consciously, I picked up the tune and sang lightly as I continued on.

*I chose this version as I remember crying very hard with tears of joy while watching it live for so many reasons.
Equality for all.
Thank you for being here,



  1. You wrote about what I thought about writing about but it was so enormous for me to try and put into words. This exhibition was probably one of the best I have ever seen for so many reasons. But the music playing at the rear door to the side canal nearly made me tear up and I am not the tearing up type. I spent hours there and left at closing too. I am going back so I can spend more time at this exhibit alone!

    1. Yes! Oh, I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one! And yes, that is exactly the first place where I cried. You know, the guard looked at me kindly but he did not seem surprised. So I think that that installation moved quite a lot of people. Like you, it took me a looong time to try and find the words - and honestly, I am not satisfied with what I came up with and definitely not of the photos (although admittedly, it was hard to shoot in the dark with the bright contrast of the lights). I truly also really, really, really want to go back before it closes. I just was so overwhelmed. I still am.
      PS. And yes, I was really grateful to be there alone.

  2. Great blog. Makes me want to visit Arles even more now.


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