439. Healthy Tension

“St. Augustine said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” Our dissatisfaction could, therefore, be the admission and awakening of our longing for the eternal. Rather than being simply the edge of some personal emptiness, it could be the first step in the opening up of our eternal belonging…desire cultivates dissatisfaction in the heart with what is, and kindles an impatience for that which has not yet emerged…There should always be a healthy tension between the life we have settled for and the desires that still call us. In this sense our desires are the messengers of our unlived life, calling us to attention and action while we still have time here to explore fields where the treasure dwells!”

– John O’Donohue

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395. Intense Life

There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams–not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.

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394. New World

“STARTING from fish-shape Paumanok where I was born,
Well-begotten, and rais’d by a perfect mother,
After roaming many lands, lover of populous pavements,
Dweller in Mannahatta my city, or on southern savannas,
Or a soldier camp’d or carrying my knapsack and gun, or a miner
in California,
Or rude in my home in Dakota’s woods, my diet meat, my drink
from the spring,
Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess,
Far from the clank of crowds intervals passing rapt and happy,

Aware of the fresh free giver the flowing Missouri, aware of mighty
Niagara,
Aware of the buffalo herds grazing the plains, the hirsute and
strong-breasted bull,
Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers experienced, stars, rain, snow,
my amaze,
Having studied the mocking-bird’s tones and the flight of the
mountain-hawk,
And heard at dawn the unrivall’d one, the hermit thrush from the
swamp-cedars,
Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World.”

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393. Continuities

Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,
No birth, identity, form—no object of the world.
Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing;
Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain.
Ample are time and space—ample the fields of Nature.
The body, sluggish, aged, cold—the embers left from earlier fires,
The light in the eye grown dim, shall duly flame again;
The sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual;
To frozen clods ever the spring’s invisible law returns,
With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn.

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392. New Year’s Day

All around us: The profound azure blue of the Lake dotted with thousands and thousands of small, star like diamonds – and I had been so busy thinking about … everything. I hadn’t even noticed it, and we’ve sailed what? An hour…? At least.

“It’s the high noon sun,” Jacob notes quietly. “And we’re in way up in the mountains – not a cloud on the sky. So in a way the lake is almost close enough to touch the sun. It looks that way, doesn’t it?”

“It’s more … it’s so beautiful,” I just repeat, at a loss for words again. “I wish I could take a photo, but with my old camera it’ll probably end up like shit.”

“Better just to watch it then … ” Jacob says. “Maybe it’s always better to try to experience the most beautiful things in life directly… ”

And so we try.

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391. To the Lighthouse

Yes, the breeze was freshening. The boat was leaning, the water was sliced sharply and fell away in green cascades, in bubbles, in cataracts. Cam looked down into the foam, into the sea with all its treasure in it, and its speed hypnotised her, and the tie between her and James sagged a little. It slackened a little. She began to think, How fast it goes. Where are we going?

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390. The Neighbor’s House

There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city, between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants including an extra gardener toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before.

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127. Familiar Conviction

It was lonely for a day or so until one morning some man, more recently arrived than I, stopped me on the road.

“How do you get to West Egg village?” he asked helplessly.

I told him. And as I walked on I was lonely no longer. I was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler. He had casually conferred on me the freedom of the neighborhood.

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

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