Simplicity is Beauty

We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes. It is the most enduring quality, and the most ascending quality.

– Emerson

I Wonder

Is it better to leave a legacy —

a solid house,

a cleared field,

a stack of debts,

a recipe for pie,

a gentle child,

a good story,

a jar of buttons —

or to be swept away with the infinite

anonymous and cast into the stars?

 

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

Old Hawks

The red-tailed turns on a thermal
above the wild brushy ground
and cries.

There is nothing you need.
Nothing is precious but time.
Nothing is worth dying for but love.
Nothing is worth living for but peace.
Nothing belongs to you but now.

I have wondered something
for so many years:

Where do old hawks go to die?

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

 

Equinox

On Saturday afternoon, Brookie and I went to a park here in Carpinteria, which overlooks the ocean. We took a little walk as the sun lowered into the trees, then returned to the car to await the moment of the equinox – the end of summer and the start of fall.

Brookie likes watching sunsets.

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It is done.

Equinox_2018-09-2218.54.06

 

Kevin Webb

I’ve just learned through Facebook that my childhood friend and classmate Keven Webb has passed away. Kevin worked for the US State Department and all I know so far is that he died at his embassy post in Madagascar.

I wish I knew more about Kevin. I know he loved to travel, enjoyed music and comedy. He didn’t join in the chaotic political tribalism and hysterical celebration of random opinion that our culture is devolving to; he kept his head above the fray and stayed positive. He shared what he loved, not what he hated. Which I thought showed integrity, self-knowledge, and mature circumspection.

His life between school and middle age in social media is largely a mystery to me because we didn’t keep in touch. And I think that’s unfortunate. We didn’t go all through school together; Kevin went to high school somewhere else. Those who’ve known him as an adult have likely known him as quiet but friendly and compassionate. We don’t really change, you know? His friends in recent times have my sympathy, and in a sense, my envy.

We didn’t finish the race together but we started it just a few feet apart. Kevin is second row, far right. I’m second row, third from the left.

… lessons done, my friend.

Mrs Wilsons Class

Mrs. Lottie Wilson’s kindergarten class, Canalino School, 1966-1967.

The Trick

The trick, for me, is carving out time for things and trying to do them with some wit…. I am not ready for the world until I’ve had my 45 minutes with four espressos in the back garden with earbuds in…. I spend a lot of time on my own, and mostly in my office. You can emulate these obvious role-model traits by excavating yourself a cave in your back garden or taking over a room in your apartment, fitting it with uncomfortably bright lights and way too many screens, filling all the spaces with books and skulls, playing nothing but music that sounds like it’s emanating from a dead moon, and waiting for everyone to leave you alone forever, and then dying in seclusion and being eaten by cats.

– Warren Ellis

I suppose we all have to find what works best for us. I tend to stay up too late, hunched over my notebook, getting frustrated, and muttering great philosophical maxims like Sartre’s “Hell is other people.”  But for a long time I’ve wished to get a grip, buckle down, pull up my britches, etc., and try Toni Morrison’s approach.

“I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark-it must be dark—and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come… Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It’s not being in the light, it’s being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense.”

– Toni Morrison

So what works – or, like me, maybe sometimes almost works – for you?