There’s love and there’s joy. The two go together. But not always. Sometimes love brings sadness. Likewise, sometimes joy — or, rather, what seems like joy (self-indulgent self-satisfaction — knows nothing of love. We live for the moments when love and joy are joined at the hip.
This photo of Elijah and Grandma on the swing serves as a reminder that love and joy really do belong together. Could two people enjoy each other more than Elijah and his Grandma?
- Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, July 29, 2018
“[T]here is such a sense of stillness and peace that the wrong sort of movement, even one’s very presence, might be felt as an intrusion….” The photo and words by Oliver Sacks on David Kerrigan’s post rang a familiar bell this morning. We’re back in ‘civilization’ — far from the stillness and peace of the wetland, the birches, oaks, and pines — but knowing the senses of awe and intrusion of which the writer speaks. Thank you, David, for sharing. Thank you, Oliver. RIP.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Sunday morning, July 29, 2018.
I find myself walking softly on the rich undergrowth beneath the trees, not wanting to crack a twig, to crush or disturb anything in the least — for there is such a sense of stillness and peace that the wrong sort of movement, even one’s very presence, might be felt as an intrusion… The beauty of the forest is extraordinary — but “beauty” is too simple a word, for being here is not just an esthetic experience, but one steeped with mystery, and awe… Standing here…I feel part of a larger, calmer identity; I feel a profound sense of being at home, a sort of companionship with the earth.
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Dennis Aubrey’s writing is as fine as his photography, fathoming the depth and height of the human experience. This Via Lucis piece on the power and complexity of memory shouted out to be shared on Views from the Edge.
Recognizing truth is a matter of experience because it involves distinguishing the real from the illusory. Experience itself is a product of memory. And memory is even more complex than truth. And so the pattern gets more multi-faceted the deeper we look, like one of Mandlebrot’s mathematical phantasms. What appears at first simple becomes infinitely complicated and intricate.
Some memories we remember as dreams, in the present tense; others as historical phenomena that stay safely in the past. Some memories carry their meaning with them. Others mean something because of their relationship with something that occurred in the past. Others depend on the future to reveal their significance. This is the web that is woven back and forth, across and through time.
Some memories lie dormant until something…
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Joshi Daniel’s portraits often capture the joy we wish for others and ourselves. This portrait of a smiling man from Trivandrum brings a smile. Joshi and I knew each other years ago at The College of Wooster. So blessed by your wonderful work, Joshi. Thank you for the gift.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, April 3, 2018
The word ‘awe’ has fallen into disrepair in the English vocabulary of North America. David Kanigan’s lovely post featuring the picture of a naked infant and Arthur Powers’ poem out awe in Juarez, gives hope that the lapsed vocabulary is temporary and that the children, and our love for them, may yet lead us.
- Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, Jan. 22, 2018
some foreign place,
to a large woman,
crawling bare assed
on the dirt floor,
and about the way
an adobe wall,
try to write it down
in a letter to a friend,
in English –
try to catch
as she said them
until you recognize
there is no way
– no way at all –
to do it
except to take
your friend by the hand,
returning to Juarez,
and go to the woman,
the laughing woman,
Notes: Poem Source – 3quarksdaily.com. Photo: George Marks
A kite flying above the Illinois prairie invites the viewer to hear the Sound of Silence.
Steve Shoemaker, the 6’8″ kite-flying poet whose poetry blessed Views from the Edge readers, shared this photo from the Shoemaker prairie home near Urbana, Illinois in 2014.
Steve didn’t live to see the changing of the guard one year ago today. On the anniversary of the 2017 inauguration, pancreatic cancer has silenced Steve’s Views from the Edge posts, but his poetry and “Visual Poetry,” as he called this photograph, still speak clearly. Like the kite in the photograph and the photo of Steve towering over President Bill Clinton, Steve still invites us to “go fly a kite” for a better time. RIP.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, January 20, 2018.
Sometimes I feel like a speck in the sand. My insignificance to the shifting sands of time once led me to despair. But the shifting sands of later years have turned the sense of smallness into awe and gratitude. Joshi Daniel’s photo “A Speck in the Sand” inspires a joyful meditation.
Joshi and I met at The College of Wooster. My recollection is that Joshi cleverly disguised himself as an empty pew while I was in the pulpit in McGaw Chapel. Just two specks in the sand temporarily shifted to India and Minnesota.
— Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, January 16, 2018
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
The photo of the Haitian immigrant’s son graduating at West Point is worth a thousand words, but the words place the tears in context on Martin Luther King Day. “Only love can do that.”
As 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache stood at attention during the commencement ceremony at West Point, N.Y., he was overcome with emotion. Tears rolled down both cheeks, but his gloved left hand held firm on his white, gold and black “cover,” the dress headgear that Army cadets wear.
He worked his way through one of the nation’s most prestigious military schools after immigrating to the United States from Haiti, earning his citizenship and serving for two years as an enlisted soldier.
“I am humbled and shocked at the same time. Thank you for giving me a shot at the American Dream and may God bless America, the greatest country on earth.”
“I am from Haiti and never did I imagine that such honor would be one day bestowed on me.
“Knowing that one day I will be a pilot is humbling beyond words,” Idrache wrote. “I could not help but…
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This piece opened my day. Maybe it will open yours — and your sense of joy — also. Its sensibility is akin to watching the Manatees in “Stillness at Blue Spring” (Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness, p. 3-4). Thanks to Kay and her friend Mary for bringing it to my attention. It’s pure joy!
A few years ago in a forest in northeast India, I heard and then began to feel, in my chest, a deep rhythmic whooshing. It sounded meteorological, but it was the wingbeats of a pair of great hornbills flying in to land in a fruiting tree. They had massive yellow bills and hefty white thighs; they looked like a cross between a toucan and a giant panda. As they clambered around in the tree, placidly eating fruit, I found myself crying out with the rarest of all emotions: pure joy. It had nothing to do with what I wanted or what I possessed. It was the sheer gorgeous fact of the great hornbill, which couldn’t have cared less about me.
The radical otherness of birds is integral to their beauty and their value. They are always among us but never of us. They’re the other world-dominating animals that evolution has…
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