Yesterday afternoon I sat on the couch enjoying the dance of the fog as it moved in and out. This morning we’re wrapped.
Last night I finished reading The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller. It was recommended and as I adventured in, I wasn’t clear why, and then I was drawn in to life in the far north and how even in seclusion, politics and boundaries intrude.
The narrator lives and survives in the Arctic, near the North Pole. He has moved there in a search for solitude. He writes:
“At first I watched the weather obsessively, for it moved, changed, and spoke with something like the speed I expected from the society of man. But soon it became one seamless movement instead of a series of staccato events.”
“Now I merely took note of subtle changes. Minute shifts in scent and stone. I felt that Eberhard, (his dog) and I had found an even greater communion than ever, for now both of our minds were clear.”
He has read the classics before but, “Now my brain was a rock-pool at low ebb, empty and brackish and yet perfectly shaped to welcome the incoming tide.”
His house burns down. He builds a new one and says, “So the rock is abraded by storm, and thinks little of it.”
I’m reminded of this poem by Octavio Paz.
Wind and Water and Stone
The water hollowed the stone,
the wind dispersed the water,
the stone stopped the wind.
Water and wind and stone.
The wind sculpted the stone,
the stone is a cup of water,
The water runs off and is wind.
Stone and wind and water.
The wind sings in its turnings,
the water murmurs as it goes,
the motionless stone is quiet.
Wind and water and stone.
One is the other and is neither:
among their empty names
they pass and disappear,
water and stone and wind.
~ Octavio Paz ~
(Translated by Mark Strand, The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987)
John Muir wrote:
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than they seek.
I also believe that we need a social network of support.
From Writer’s Almanac today:
On this day, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, creating the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It was the country’s first national health insurance program.