a deliberate life

march-19 | #ettrickkirk #midgehope #thirlestane #ettrickvalley
early morning, early spring, following the family line

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”

Walden | Henry David Thoreau



poetry is not a luxury

march-19 | #ettrickriver #philiphaugh #selkirk #southernscotland #visualpoetry
dog daisies and daffodils, early summer sunlight, simple perfection

“The quality of light by which we scrutinise our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realised.

“This is poetry and illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are—until the poem—nameless and formless, about to be birthed, but already felt.

“The distillation of experience from which true poetry springs births thought as dream births concept, as feeling births idea, as knowledge births (precedes) understanding.”

In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens | Alice Walker


cold spring

february-19 | #longphilipburn #philiphaugh #selkirk #februaryfrost
late afternoon sun, early evening shadows

From a lofty mountain peak
the view extends forever
I sit here unknown
the lone moon lights Cold Spring
in the spring there is no moon
the moon is in the sky
I sing the single song
a song in which there is no Zen

Lone Moon Lights Cold Spring | Bill Porter with © emergence magazine


a life of real good trouble

november-18 | #blackbobwalk #selkirk #wintersun
late afternoon, mid winter, chasing silhouettes and shadows

“In Gnostic societies and cultures, there’s a belief that on the night you were born, you had a twin that was thrown into exile—we all have one. And the business of being a functioning adult, with all the complexity that entails, is that at certain points in your life, you seek out the wild twin that culture at large wants you to ignore. So you gotta be in touch with your own senses to do that. You’ve got to be un-tranced. You’ve got to be woken up. You’ve gotta know what you stand for. You gotta know what you’re gonna defend. You gotta know what music you like, what colors speak to you—the whole thing.

“James Joyce used to use a fancy phrase for this: he calls it aesthetic arrest. And all aesthetic arrest actually means is, what are those one or two images that have utterly claimed your heart—claimed [it] beyond thought, claimed [it] beyond the temporary fashions of culture? And you are just forever in love with two or three things. And then the idea is, if you work out of them, if—to use that phrase I said earlier on—you let them have their way with you, then a life of real good trouble can be bequeathed to you.

“If you’re over the age of twelve and under the age of ninety and you’re not in some kind of trouble, what the hell are you doing?”

Mud and Antler Bone | Martin Shaw with © emergence magazine


butterflies and food plants

september-17 | #kailziegardens #peeblesshire #southernscotland
late summer, early afternoon, yellow rudbeckia and green fennel in full bloom

“I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern on the other. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness—in a landscape selected at random—is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern—the lucky contrapuntal of human fate or to ghosts humouring a lucky mortal.”

Speak, Memory | Vladimir Nabokov


being in the world

july-19 | #samyeling #riveresk #dumfries #galloway
deep midsummer, following the river, following the light

“It was this quality of their presence in the world. I just had never met people like that. And here they’d come out, sick, exhausted, with just the clothes on their back and the sacred objects they carried out—through periods of snow-blindness—over the mountains.

“But their quality of being in the world was seeing everything as if for the first time. And, I don’t even know if I knew those words then; but when I walked on that Losar—Tibetan New Year—morning across the tea estate where they were squatting, these eastern Tibetans, and I heard the long horns for their morning puja and saw the tall flag poles with the cloth rippling, and there was just, oh . . . yes. . . I’m worthy to be given this.”

Widening Circles | Joanna Macy with © emergence magazine