Warpandwoofknitting.com has been out and about. On the Internet this time and publishes what they have found. A brief piece by Franz Kafka which for all you night walkers will ring a bell. And also for those of us who stay indoors, intending to stay put with a book, and then jump up and exit suddenly into the rain. And love it.
The following is a copy of a Facebook ‘post’ sent to me by the author who wanted me to have the opportunity to choose a book. Publishing here because….well, you can imagine why because.
An Exercise in Letting Go (Or, ‘Let me give you a book.’)
For a long time, I’ve felt like the dozens of books I take with me from place to place, and the hundreds more in various storage locations, are like horcruxes (look up that word). I’ve felt that each is an intimately personal treasure, close to my hand, or locked away safely with the people I trust the most. In reading them, they changed me, and with my highlighting, my underlining, and my exasperated and sarcastic annotations, I returned the favour. Saccharine as it sounds, I took them to form some part of my identity. Not just that they have supported the development of my thinking processes, perspectives on life, and prejudices, but that ‘having a lot of books’ is an important part of who I am. I am a reader. Intelligent. Intellectual. Thoughtful. Reflective. Moreover, owning an amount of books that is hopelessly impractical for my lifestyle choice (fairly low-earning, fairly nomadic) seemed like a sort of promissory note to myself: one day I am going to have the lifestyle that I think is befitting of these books. I suppose what I had in mind by that was being an Oxbridge don, with an office of wall-to-wall bookshelves and living to be made by thinking, reflecting, and generating and discussing ideas. But, in fits and starts, I am beginning to understand that neither attachment to some identity, nor attachment to some outcome, is doing me much good. No moment is ever going to be more worthy of my joy than right now, because right now is all I have. Letting go of an attachment to some identity; letting go of an attachment to some outcome, is letting happiness in. 🙂
Twee Buddhist sentiments aside, I’m getting rid of my books. I’m holding on to a lot of them- the stronger the attachments, the longer it’ll take to feel ready to let go. I’ve catalogued the ones I’m discarding, thanking each for what it’s taught me, and writing a small response to each: part epitaph, part sales pitch. I’m going to put them up for sale in the coming weeks, but before I do that, I want to offer each of you the gift of a book, in the hopes that I might spread a little joy your way. Yours E.
This chap is currently selling his books through the University system however when they become publicly available I’ll post the list. The epitaph/sales pitch he has written for each book is worth a read and speaks volumes.
Yesterday I took a fairly long walk which included climbing up through old slate quarries to Coniston Old Man. And then returning to Coniston via historic Copper mines. It was a long walk, six hours or so, the sun was ‘out’ and the wind ‘down’. I met many people on the trail most memorably an elderly woman walking out confidently and steadily. Nice day I remarked as we passed. Yes she responded, Not a day to race! I know just what she meant. Having ever-so-slowly gained the top of a mountain it is all too easy to charge off if the ground is flat or slopping downwards. She knew all about that and wasn’t tempted. A lesson for life on so many levels. I’ll always remember her.
What is the appeal of those grand places and venerable artifacts that are left to decay. Then revisited and appreciated all over again in all their faded glory through photographs? Abandoned places the worlds left behind Is a collection of sumptuous images. The photograph above is one I took some years ago but no match for the photographs published by the Guardian.
So, what’s the appeal? The aesthetic of Wabi Sabi fairly much answers the question. Here quoting from Wikipedia:
Japanese aesthetics and a Japanese world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?), suffering (苦 ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū?).
Behind this post is much pondering on why I, and others, do what we do. And the meaning we attribute to our lives and the living of it. Rio ’16 has had me thinking.
Here now is an Out and About post on my most recent walk in Cumbria. (And I should mention that around an hour into a long walk I generally stop and think about turning back! The why question is there but there is a deeper one and it is around the matter of meaning. I’ll work on this theme for a while.
This map marked in red is not the entire route I took. I cut the walk short by taking a route which included going past a small unnamed Tarn, several stone shelters on it’s rim and on up to Nan Bield Pass. Where I turned right and joined the marked route eventually making High Street and Racecourse Hill. The ridge marked with a X (marking more or less where the photograph was taken) looked dauntingly long and exposed (i.e. dangerous). Consulting a chap on the path who looked ‘professional’ he assured me that if I’d done Striding Edge I’d have no problem. Wondered, as I walked on, if it counted if I’d walked/balanced along the Edge when I was 14!
A good afternoon/evening out on the fells on Tuesday. Clearly there had been heavy rain early in the day with waterfalls gushing and in several places becks had spilled out across the land washed rocks and mud across the paths. Caution called for every step of the way. The most dangerous time is when close to completing a walk. Easy to get over-confident and miss footing or trip. The horse running for the stable as the late Rev. Mildred would say as we drove rather too fast along the lanes leading to Reading Priory. Back in 1992 that would be. This post is for her. She taught me so much.
A reminder that caution is needed on and in the mountains. Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team has been in the local news recently having recorded 86 ‘incidents’ in 2016 with 52 call-outs. Reading their site and the kinds of trouble people can get into makes for salutary reading.
With mention of Wasdale my mind goes to the 31st May and our walk up and around Great Gable and the chap who came running down a scree with a rescued lamb under his arm. Turns out he had a GoPro on and recorded the rescue. I’ll link to that tomorrow…
On mentally stumbling
Frustration! – fear approaching.
All seems lost.
One! – say ONE (or three)
That’s a number.
Then on ones heals
Look out and name
something you can see
Chair! Window! Plant.
frozen cogs freed
all fired up
Escape the lips.
NOTE: The direction is to THINK the number and the name not speak it! Might be a bit strange otherwise!
For Judy who passed on this handy tip to help when you have something to say out loud but the actual words swim around or simply evaporate. Something I have a problem with from time to time. Mostly when I’m trying to ‘find’ words rather than allowing them to come.