not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Friday, July 18, 2014

to be - ecstatically - with the world

i had just watched this girl and her friends climb down from the immense rock face where the lighthouse is situated and navigate the natural and difficult structure of the shore. near the water, all three of them paused at their destination and clung for a moment to a small rock, this girl spontaneously slipping four feet or more to the craggy surf beneath them as i sat safely on a distant rock taking photographs, pausing to gasp in disbelief at what i was witnessing and in fear as to the outcome might be. it could easily have been to her death that she slid to, such a casual and simple gesture such as slipping, ripe with the power to break the delicate transaction we make moment by moment with life.

but it was only a moment later, after proving to herself that she was still alive by climbing back up the rocks near shore, that she took once again toward where the deep water meets the rocks.

art (not that this is art, but rather that this is a statement i choose to stand by) should be some form or reflection of agony

and living too

and if living is not agony (ecstasy), a new agony is born in the place of nothingness (spiritual bereavement)

either way we are born of agony 

and this we return to again and again for nourishment


  1. the world has taken, and continues to take my breath away...

  2. My heart was in my throat as I read this. Oh, the folly/bravery of youth!! I miss that part of me, that thing that whispered, albeit wrongly, "You're going to live forever..." I still recall that euphoric feeling of having my entire life in front of me (now it's behind---tee-hee). For some reason I think of a verse from T. S. Eliot's "Portrait of a Lady":

    "Now that lilacs are in bloom
    She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
    And twists one in her fingers while she talks.
    “Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
    What life is, you who hold it in your hands”;
    (Slowly twisting the lilac stalks)
    “You let it flow from you, you let it flow,
    And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
    And smiles at situations which it cannot see.”
    I smile, of course,
    And go on drinking tea.
    “Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall
    My buried life, and Paris in the Spring,
    I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world
    To be wonderful and youthful, after all.”

  3. Beautiful. Sometimes the heart stops. Then starts again. Every time but the one.

  4. I so get that girl. Wonderful ....

  5. I am contemplating agony and ecstasy after sitting with this.

    Two things add to my mix in response.

    One is that a woman who works in my department has been sitting with her daughter (grown) in the hospital a few days after she dove into water on a different side of a pier than she normally does, has done for years. She did not investigate what was in that water before diving. She broke her neck, had 20+ stitches, and besides being alive, seems to have no neurological damage. Thank god.

    Two is that I have poison ivy, and the agony has played on me for a couple of days. It seems better today.

    I hadn't thought about it in just this way before reading your post and seeing the images, but agony and ecstasy really are part of one another. In the small case of poison ivy, the itch is both agonizing and blissful when scratched. In the case of my work mate, she is in bliss that her daughter is alive and recovering, but in agony over what might have been.

    About art, yes, I feel that. As for writing, it does not hold much sway for me unless agony is there. Thank you for that recognition.

  6. in the third photo how her body cups the rock she leans upon and the vast water too! she is in tangible contact with the danger. she teaches me. and even without knowing her i love her.

    thank you for coming and sharing these things)))

  7. I know this feeling Erin......feeling the salt transmute from water to skin and dissolving into that oneness with the sea. What amazing images - how did you manage to even capture that arc of droplets from thrown back hair?

  8. I actually stayed in those waves,before and after "my sea". it was something which protected me and made me to know that I can founder more and more with my eyeleshes in the waves, with no fear,just joy and smile.

    those are for you:)


"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))