Well into my second week being mostly off the media grid, I’m feeling a recovery of the feelings of beauty and wonder that constitute love for the world… at least most of the time!
Finding that beauty, wonder and love in all the grit and grime is the real challenge. I am working on building my strength, working on being able to engage fully without losing that sense of the worth intrinsic in life.
The universe gave me a little nudge in that direction a few days ago when I came across this beautiful passage written by a friend, Sonya Huber:
A concrete loading dock doesn’t ask anything of you, doesn’t demand that you agree with its crazy stories or its lies–and that is love, after all. It will wrap you in the baked-cookie smell of rain on warm asphalt, the earth as industrial rows of monocrop corn stretching on either side of the highway. It will give you billboard-sized abstract paintings in layers of faded paint and chipped brick and colors that haven’t been named yet. You can read a philosophy on those surfaces, can vaguely make out the palimpsest of hope in the foreign language of a splash of yellow that somehow survived around those lovely pockmarked metal walls.
Ah yes, finding beauty, love, philosophy, hope even, in industrial concrete! What a gift!
This is practice in its highest form.
The paragraph is from Love and Industry, Sonya’s winning entry in the Terrain.org Non-fiction writing contest from back in 2013, which I had missed, probably because I was going to really need to hear it in August of 2016, and would not likely have gone back to read it had I already done so. The universe is clever like that. At least it comforts me to think so.
However, why ever, it happened, it happened. I read it. And it was very meaningful for me… helpful in those little ways friends and writers have of supporting us through the dark moments when all seems lost. Reminding us that love doesn’t always come with hearts and flowers and pink lace doilies.
It’s a great piece, still so perfect for these times three years later.
I must confess, I had to look up palimpsest – tho I had an inkling of its meaning, the full definition is instructive: “a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.”
It’s a wonderful image. An image true to so much of life, especially in these times. So much of what we have thought for some time to be true and unalterable has been scraped away by the edges of life’s movement, and perhaps it is yet just the flailing about of our crushed longings, but something new is being written on the old forms, something perhaps better and more true.
If we keep our eyes and our hearts open, maybe we’ll survive these latest insanities and move on to create that more beautiful world, one that is easier to love, but in the meantime, we have to keep loving the world as it is.
As Sonya says, “What else is there to love?”
What a beautiful passage. You inspired me to look up more of her work.
May you continue to find such buried nuggets in the midst of your media fast.
Oh good! Sonya is a wonderful writer, has a background in both activism and practice (Tibetan, I think) and has seen a lot of life for a young person. She sat with our group some years back, tho don’t know if she’s still sitting. I’ve read two of her books, Opa Nobody and Two Eyes Are Never Enough, and I think they are very good… I haven’t read the other one. — I do still read email, tho I dumped all my newsy/political subscriptions — found Sonya’s piece via an email from Terrain announcing the deadline for the current competition. Browsing thru the titles of former winners and there she was… thanks for reading, Don! Talk to you again, I hope.
… PS – the Two Eyes.. is an e-book, I have it on Kindle.
Also, her latest blog post is interesting: https://sonyahuber.com/2016/07/22/a-memoirists-manifesto/