Abundant sense

Ullswater afternoon | simon marsh

I asked him [a joyful painter I knew] how he came to be a painter. He said, ‘I liked the smell of the paint.’

Annie Dillard
The Abundance

Sometimes just a sentence can bring about a smile – and seasons and reasons from yesteryear. I was asked forty years ago, beside this very Ullswater, what had whet my appetite for photography. I quite clearly remember answering ‘the smell of the leatherette on my Kodak Box Brownie!’ Makes sense to me!

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Ropes

pexels-photo-91416.jpeg
photo at pexels

… I’ll just tell you the unexpected, joyful conclusion. The dog officer resigned! And the next officer was a different sort; he too remembered and missed the old days. So when he found Sammy he would simply call him into his truck and drive him home. In this way, he lived a long and happy life, with many friends.

This is Sammy’s story. But I also think there are one or two poems in it somewhere. Maybe it’s what life was like in this dear town years ago, and how a lot of us miss it.

Or maybe it’s about the wonderful things that may happen if you break the ropes that are holding you.

Mary Oliver
Upstream

I’ve loved a quiet day today. Perhaps too quick though to speak of its having been a reading day. Truth is that it’s been more of a being read day today – by what often and somewhere and sometime I’ve read before.

Mary Oliver features in my daily meditations like whole pages posted by some unimaginably marvellous means into the space just behind my closed eyes – the page having first risen up from somewhere very close to the heart, and from the gratitude-filled chambers in my soul. Not read today, but being read by.

Mary Oliver! Close friend I’ve never met. Did you ever know that such a reading would become recognised by another as a part of your long-held vocation, in innumerable times and places, all over the world? And deep within me? Whom you help, again and again, to see.

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An axiom

I have an abiding image of the late, great Irish poet John O’Donohue sitting at his peat fireside, notebook and pen at hand, apparently completely at peace with the world. A big man with a big and generous heart. Again and again his words are a tonic to me.

The great law of life is to be yourself. Though this axiom sounds simple it is often a difficult task. To be yourself you have to learn how to become the person you were dreamed to be. Each person has a unique destiny. To be born is to be chosen. There is something special that each of us has to do in the world. If someone else could do it they would be here and not us. One of the fascinating questions is to decipher what one’s destiny is. At the heart of each destiny is hidden a unique life calling. What are you called to do? In old-fashioned language: what is your vocation in life? When you find that what you are doing is what you love, what you were brought here to do, it makes for a rich and contented life. You have come into the rhythm with your longing. Your work and your action emerge naturally: you don’t have to force yourself. Your energy is immediate. Your passion is clear and creative. A new calling can open the door into the house of your vision and belonging. You feel at home in your life. Heart and hearth at one.

John O’Donohue

Yes: a big man – whose heart was – and remains – a hearth.