Imagined places

Last night I finished listening to all the lectures on Melville’s Bartleby for my Coursera on The Fiction of Relationship.

I woke up early this morning with the birds tweeting and took  photos of the Saturday clouds. After breakfast I finished Melville’s Benito Cereno and started listening to Professor Weinstein’s lectures on it.
Intermittently, I’m reading Thomas Aquinas, A Portrait by Denys Turner and Christian Wiman’s My Bright Abyss, Meditation of a Modern Believer.
Mrs. Abstract handed me Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs which she finished reading. She proceeded to tackle “The Emperor’s Children“.
Certain things stir ambition. Certainly the presence of Lake Tahoe, nearness of the forest, and the altitude usher in the excitement in reading. 
How are we to arrive at imagined places?
Everyone is capable of choices.
Heavy October vines, you can’t wander
Frantic measurements, walking the vineyards
You observe the canopy of leaves 
Sudden jolts of heat
Ascending the stairs unhurriedly
Each step containing surprises.
Can you learn differently
And be invisible?
You hold terroir sacred,
The source of all goodness.
Do you remember your dreams
After your first taste of wine?
You fill the glass
Swirl its full sensuality
You want your palate to find poetry
Garland of praises
With each sip you imagine 
The places, your arrival.



Sunny and warm in the 80’s when Mrs. Abstract and I arrived in Lake Tahoe this afternoon.But there is possible thunderstorm in Reno, NV.

photos: taken just after 5:00PM today, Incline Village,Lake Tahoe,NV
I’m listening to the digital TV music, Easy Listening while writing the blog. Mrs. Abstract is taking a nap. Very tired from yesterday’s preparation and errands.

The eagle

While listening to the song, Walking in the Air , by Chloe Agnew and reading Proust’s Swann’s Way a “scene” with “imaginary details”  came like a light.DSC_2031

I look up

top of the tree

I imagine

the precise dive

the swift catch

the elegant rise

the fish clasped tight

between the claws.

“If you are a man

then feel my misery.”

I close my eyes

thinking of Faust

and hear other voices:

“I only beg you now

to follow me.”

“Out there?

Is the world

deserts and forests

sorrows and dreams.

“Thine am I, Father.

Rescue me.”

Voices fade away

and shadows.

A normal day

I’m neither young nor old

carrying the sea on my shoulders

rises and swerves

in downward spiral.

Rains create

creeks and rivers

linking the mountains

and the sea.

Days of bitterness

intertwine with days of sweetness

waves dashing the calm

and the brave.

Young as a child

old as a man

in tumult or silent

running the fields

or hiding in shelters

pursue birds or fowl

with slingshots or guns

with relish.

How are they to discover

the hidden music

if not to relinquish the savage

feel, cruel pleasure

perceived in power

but over the helpless?

How can they follow

movements of the bees

from flower to flower

when they don’t see

the simple things

visible to the eyes?

At the picnic table

we swat away the bees

they, that fill

stages of sustenance

of meadows and forest.

begging bowl

“I had read M.C.Richards’s Centering years before. It was a book about clay and art and life. In it, Richards described Jean Genet, the French playwright, who said he wanted to roam the countryside like a monk, holding a begging bowl, having filled it with what he needed for the nourishment in his life. 


… each day a monk goes out with his empty bowl in his hands. Whatever is placed in the bowl will be his nourishment for the day.”


quoted from: Everyday Sacred, A Woman’s Journey Home by Sue Bender



How could my heart triumph over differences
And not lose innocence?
I took all my possessions to the temple
The shrine was bright with candles
Scents ascending with verses.

Outside I looked at the plowed,furrowed fields
Twittered my message from the village
Framed by disks linked to the stars
Sentiments wrapped with leaves
Destined for the compost.

This poem was previously posted on February 4, 2011 in my previous (old)  blog.

Why one climbs mountains


“Mountains do not make life easier but they do help to make it easier to bear.Because of the physical conditions, mountains develop one’s resistance and give one equanimity. Being in the mountains encourages one to meditate and to find and retain internal balance which can lead us to the source of practical.”

from : The Seventh Grade, Reinhold Messner