Danny James

Tag: cold

385: Sally in the Winter

I was discovering the advantages and obstacles of increased perception. From posting my meditations high above instead of among the boulevards of twisted metal and scrap industry dreams of the old coughing steel-city. A town that flirts with change like single romantics who give twice as little as consume, and so edge forward in a lonely aching ever-standstill. I can mark back to the long beginning of a great confusion of my making here. As mice and gulls would, by virtue of differing experiences of the same broken suburbia and beyond, entertain dissimilar impressions thereof. I had now a wider measure of insight to inform my decision-making, as well the sobering gravity of a lost illiteracy and a rain of new extravagance could nobody entirely drink.

Save the glassy reflection of headlights on busy wet roads, August nights as I recall, until Winters twilight offered no surprise or bother to the routine of living and my uncontemplated place in life. Gone are those days could never I have fathomed I’d miss, before that intersection of youth and a convinced-of adulthood where the Earths rolling seems to be gathering momentum and increasingly necessary thus are the sunrises you do not heed. When it’s decided that you’ve seen plenty and are utterly bored, but are not of experience enough to realise that this boredom is perhaps the peace of mind you will never again know, and bears an ignorance that once lit soon will burn habitually for years many more. So get on with it then.

The restaurant is in the peak of Friday night flurry, and I am where I most enjoy anything, sunk in the thickest of it. Up to my chin in the dilating depths of joyful letting go, wading and melting seamlessly shoulder to shoulder with whom has needs I must foresee, and craft around them quietly the next ease before the realisation steals upon them they were ever discomforts mark. An environment manager; a scene setting, helmsman of an evenings spectacle of sensory impressions. Outside, the rain drifts across like snow and pretty as it is, I have succeeded not if it withdraws them instead but dial it I must, the pitch and tone of wonderment enough to complement and not entirely distract from the reality which for them I am sewing as I envision it suits any instant in the ongoing connection thereof. A fantastical experience of perfectly woven sensation and meaning. Memory making and humdrum forgetting, – a spin and whirl of hours in an instant drawn, because outside of here will come soon enough and I am keeping the gates of this realm, against which fall away for a few hours all of your otherworldly misgivings, where may you sit unscathed to entertain the simple pleasures of free conversation and marry that with fine soundings and perfect relations. The underbelly network of this warped exposure is a melee of strings, smoke and mirrors stressed, beguiling, bending, and at any moment, threatened to fall apart. To heighten the tension it is turnover time and section heads here must hold as much professional repose-fullness as ever you’ll find to gracefully precisely deceive and flatter, as well tighten the hinges that keep us all together strained which buckling, might see this ship of fools topple over with a gasp and spilling out into the night and cold water over which we are situated. And I am there among it all, hidden in plain sight as intended, keeping order and overseeing the processing of my section unseen and imperturbable, all the while unescaped of her piercing eyes fixed on my every move. The watcher watched, I was done for; fated prey of her sweetest yearnings stewing patiently beneath the noise, and I wasn’t at all to know.

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Diogenes the Cynic, who was asked by a Spartan if he was feeling cold, when training himself by stripping naked and embracing a bronze statue in winter. Diogenes said he was not, and the Spartan replied: “What’s so impressive about what you’re doing then?”

(Plutarch, Spartan Sayings, 233a).

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Danny James blog sunrise

I could leave Earth and soar the open sky for the rest of my days. Hurl toward the brink untroubled, drifting home on a stream. I could circle the clouds for eternity, calm, free and satisfied. Pause to bathe in the cold suns magnificence, and drink the breeze of heavens sighs.
But I could not love you more.

Danny James Blog Ana

382: Vargtimme

It seems plausible now that since even before you came into being have you been stamped with a role and those remarkable, burdensome qualities that all your lost years, drifting, aching over and denying could not remove. As though you are composite of various fragments of star matter and galactic debris dispersed, come together by recognition and ‘twined by choice of kinship and not chance or indolence, or some other traditional aversion of responsibility. Like the birth of a brand new Solar System, and you could not and never have, extinguished that fire in the blood that impels you so ferociously to build, and become the most effective and worthwhile self it is possible to become through consistency of focused and immovable effort. That knows value in acquisition and accumulation if it yields a righteous benefit in the wider domain. Is any one thing unrelated to another, directly or eventually?

And what is it then that charges you so heartily, to connect a whole so determined to split?

That there is so much to be done and you have not enough time to finish it all and will certainly not live long enough to witness the full effect of your service rendered, the protection and continuance of those things you hold most dear on all of Earth. Because no one thing is unrelated to another, and as the blood tides foretell, your smallest increment of action, even the merest whit of intent can expel a tremor across the oblivion for all time. In fact, you have precisely the allocated time as befits the drive and velocity of your Nature. With speed, such glorious ground devouring speed you pass unseen and have taken all before it is ever known you were. A ghost before Death, O lawless hurry, such is the expediency of your wisdom gathering. A thousand years drunk into a gaze, the centuries breathed in and diffuse. A walking tumult of wild ambivalent forces building in energy, surging and inexpressible, a furious humility gorging blind upon the metabolism of its own frightening power, nashing to pieces the self and surrounds, nothing spared but nothing left. And better a presence felt than known, you say. For what will they really know of a truth that does not first excite with sensation touching hot some unexplored avenue of the soul that flinches and relishes the ricochet and stirred up speculations, but is instead glossed with the mechanistic of mounting yesterdays. The mind, ravaged and weary, remembers too much. Wanting to trust in good and rise out of its own abyss, is slow agreeing to what the soul knows however ready to move on what it must. How none do believe in ghosts and yet still tremble at darkened corners with absurd apprehensions that cannot be dismantled by reason or logic. It is an endless string with various knots of degrees of distress over undone things, that threads every fibre and drop of your urgency racked organism. A deafening pulse. An anxious futility. An inborn desperation, unsatisfiable. An expanse of void and vast oceans of endless time about which you dart and deplete and frantically strike at walls imagined. It had been discussed how you hastened from the womb, fled as you flee now all environs of comfort and light, stillness and silence, beyond the pace of your own maturating, wherein your cells contemplated before it was ever contemplatable, what fireflies and other wonders in the shadows and hidden places may lurk that most fear. The good duty to which you would commit, the strength that was to be within your sphere to offer, and the holy chasm that ultimately would be you’re doing being done. You did not hit the ground running but leaped and let the fall advise. The things you approach are already memories, the present is a constant déjà vu, the past is too far to recall or hold significance.

It is Natural ordinance that grim spurns and explosive energies soonest tire. The patience needed to sustain is not yet and can never be known to you, for the very thirst of it only time informs, and for you there is no time. You will go wider and farther than any and will be barely any motion perceive and will arrive at the end just the same as you began, all of suddenly.
With speed and all ones might, or dust. Reign upon reign of dust, O slow world, stand not tall upon nothing and by nothing buried be, but for something fall and be depleted utterly. It will all be returned to dirt and myth at some point or other, and soon after, the very notion of it all, is gone as well. You cannot stand it.

Soul?

Soul you know well, you know not how to release without struggle what must go, or leaves things lie that best unperturbed. However, touch, that sweeter means of discourse between the better, most secret angels of our Nature, has a live and thrilling effect beyond the intellects pace or reach of understanding. A detached openness immeasurably heightens a primal sensitivity to the woven stories and immediacy of ones surroundings. Our nerves violently, delightedly bristle at a whispers echo, a brush can rupture the Universe and obliterate the history on which we stand. Shadows blind. Skin reflects and winds scream. Warm words inflict like ice and leave burns you carry to new lifetimes. Pupils dilate and dart to capture the dazzling scene and read the moments magnitude. Images peal open as flowers and colours vivify the spirit, coursing, colliding blessing and illuminating through and out of you again. Impressions form and blend views and expressions, reversing and returning in toppled over enmeshments of sublime realisations. It unfolds connections and relation of disparates and opposites, – dependency within individual elements and outcomes, timelessness and unseparableness – sparks bursting alive and intimate, soaring and sincere, threading bonds of affection and meaning through all things. To be simply overwhelmed would be mercy for this is existentially suffocating and excruciating exquisite all at once. The splitting commixture of how in love with living one can be, and how fleeting the act of being and experiencing actually is, expands the loving to a new stratum of torment. Every now hurts for it is already a memory that will devastate for a longer period than which it was enjoyed. How fortunate to know ones debt, and how much better to not care? Though you tried, you are of age where wandering is no longer your default, being irreversibly re-wired with purpose and set to the task, your deep gifts rage unstoppable, and whether you know, you are hurdling to your perfecting so very loved, the planets groan your going. Stars go out by their own tears, the comets are beside themselves, dispersing separate and off-curve to break up and die alone.

The sun… The poor sun looks lower, sadder. Lonely even; it’s lost much of its glow now.

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Once in a while expose your bones to cold weather, and take with a break-away suddenness, a walk into the Winter morning to exhilarate your torpid nerves before you perpend yourself out of the experience. Let lead for once the thrill of sensation. The speed of touch and affect over bracing. Bracing means a gap of preparations, and I am calling for an instance free of the constructions and mental entanglements we’ve spun to hold on and make it through what’s yet to arrive and may never, and so make it rather difficult to just. Let. Go.
And exist. Right where you are, as you are and not between points or making ground. Connected and attuned. We’re too oft in our heads and not enough in the pulse. We read terrain and trajectory of obstacles like puddles and misremember the lawless joy of our childhoods when kicking Autumn leaves and standing in the grass with no shoes on our feet was as natural as smiling, and we’ve forgotten too; that smiling can in fact precede the feeling it represents.

I went out so this morning near as blank and perfect as when I was born, as the last of the blue-dark sky paled and revealed to me a restlessness in the horizon toward which I went unguarded and presenting the senses bare to the rush of impressions all. You forget, how an Arctic air can quicken the spirits, and silence the mind. You forget.

It helps if there is little sun, or none to spoil the honest intimacy with its bursts of cosy cheerfulness, but above all, be absorbed, and let that be all then. Depart from your schedule with zeal into an engagement with your surroundings and open entirely to the emotional resonance with which the Universe reaches you. Receive the scene and its vastness for what it is. Embrace the rain of innervation. Permit the air to bite your lungs and tighten your flesh. Your muscles to contract and shudder, and to shake your speculating loose of taking root. A keen awareness will awaken, dilate, and throb in you, coursing your halls, weaving and electrifying, threading you back into a supernal fold, to which you belong. You are an organic being. Not simply the sum of the things that you’ve done, will do or concentrate on. It is not so much what you feel that counts, but what you think about how you feel, when you do.

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How simply a cold breeze unexpected, can impel the senses and freshen the debt. Exact and rarely received with accord.

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It has been a strangely pleasant Winter this year with very little of the usual Polar qualities experienced as in earlier Seasons. As though not content with her reputation for cold has Nature adopted a more affable temperament. And from a light rail bound for Newcastle, enjoying the features of an afternoon entify into evening, and a city incrementally disappear under backcountry, I caught the pierce of a mans reflection illuminated in the window by carriage lights against a background night. Had he a look of a course wondering. A tournament was occurring behind the eyes, to which he committed his durance. He was avoiding people, and grew uncomfortable as they near for it perturbed his wrestle for balance though there seemed no malice in his attitude, as much as he liked the distance so as to maintain for them a strained compassion, while he was rather struggling with his own awkwardness, and working hard to bury an habitual belligerence. I too should like to be like that Winter that can change myself to the contrast of what has of my Nature become. How some would be perfectly what they seem and alone, rather than revealed and loved.

Danny James blog Train

309: Patagonia part 4

No matter now in what city I find myself, when a cold wind is such that it penetrates to the marrow, and scatters the rain into a melee of fine mist-fall visible under a street light, I can’t help but peering up at the brume be lulled smiling into memories den; down the burning corridors of the years winding and strange with yet an air of curiously warm familiarity, as an about-face that points you home after a spell adrift in the world gathering the lessons you needed to have. And I go on though wearily, knowing, towards what light I can see where glowing sits my arrival awaiting, that there is nothing expected of me there and something benign, inviting as a cabin wood-fire, easing as the welcome of a dear friend whose love by absence appreciates to a quality such as decades could not overthrow; images past of cold shining skies and golden smiles that with one look breaches the cocoon that since entombed the heart and with an alchemy of dazzling joviality encircles it. Activation! Roots are agitated. A network, from its periphery to the core engages with a dusty preparatory hum. The spaces flood with a gladdening anaesthesia and that good hibernating heart looking out with puzzled alarm, realising liberty is confirmed and at hand sighs at last a long-smothered rejoicing. The mind out of the static isolates a decibel of laughter saved, the eyes glaze a recollection. A spark catches! Sensitivity swells again, surging an affection spent. Sharp and vivid pictures of captivating scenes and painfully poignant encounters with adorable people, all hauntingly mislaid and lost to the din of fumbling busyness, come rushing now back to me but in fragments of delightfulness burgeoning, and flashes of forgotten insight like a flickering of sunlight through the dusky woods in Autumn. A story emerges out of the stuttering. A frayed slide show of a life lived so far. And it’s a glorious thing being alive and young. Perhaps more so to have been young, when you can finally figure what gift you had, and what you have now. Nature is aware the astounding splendour is, all at once too unbearable and so unfurls it she carefully, so as not to sink the senses unprepared into that seductive lower-most layer of liquid reverie from which the traveller there absorbed might not recover. With the heaping of irreplaceable love and impassable loss revisited, falling resembles flying and visa versa, and tardily will follow the relief that ever the things that took, shook you, and changed you so profoundly even happened at all, and slow to ripen is the emotional stability to stand it. These are the very things that being young, both marvellous and more difficult make: Risk without reservation, for the years ahead are many that you have to get over anything, and the soul here stands at a greater hazard by its own fearing. You leapt more. Antagonized the dangers and considered less the consequences of an etherial trusting of greater things. Divine and battered, by god, by Nature, by whatever you lived! Forget me not.
Once in a lifetime friendships made in an instant and achingly touching moments that tattoo the heart and can never last. Soaring highs and crushing lows, such as you will never entirely overcome, and so you find the percepts a place of safe-keeping for the days when strength is enough. Or you will be twenty or thirty years from here standing in a room wondering why you came there because by some skip in the consciousness, your automation of thought had broken up and you forgot your reasons. Your staring out of the window now, groping in the vacancy trying to place your steps, all of them up to this point, beginning at the last time you were surprised like that, though you’ve woken with a start it seems each morning ever since. Somewhere on the other side of a deep fog where lost things dwell, and scattered like a whisper on the wind, a cry paled at a divide, faint as an angles feather falling on a cloud; an echo of a ghost trying to reach you through the noise. What to do? There is the panic and pandemonium of a siren wailing but you don’t hear a sound. And at nexus of halls are you compelled, drawn like a canary down a hole, down a passage unlit, scared and helpless, in which appears at the far off nethermost middle, at a mere bend perchance in a Labyrinthine weave of memories, a frantic, pleading, limping dot, that recedes the more with your apprehension to approach. You are afraid of course, of what might reflection find, until above all pervades a sudden understanding of a broad and foreboding necessity to resuscitate this failing glimmer in the randomness, the trying pulse of some gravely important and completed sensory brush grasped by the psyche and secured away to the recesses on purpose. Your guardians last attempt.
Just as your daring rises to plenitude and looks your Goliath surmountable, you are about to lunge into the abyss of its jaws when suddenly there is a noiseless flash you can’t compute that engulfs the entire in a white wave, and in the next second your blinking up at a sun so bright and tranquillising as will appear in a dream, and it is the most breathtaking and magnificent vision of effulgence you have ever seen. You swim in the daze and drench of satisfying light beaming out over a glacial wall so mammoth and crystal-blue that can’t the eyes read a cease of its largess, nor the mind fathom a more beguiling allure. All tension melts away in that swoon, all regard for time and presence softly detaches and disperses, for here you are amid the ongoing and unbelievable that is Patagonia. It locks you up in a silence and furious bewilderment. Your smallness and responsibility moves you to tears as well a feeling of overwhelming gratefulness that you and all your disgraces should have happened upon this hallowed place in this coming together of moments perfect, and are not at all dispossessed but essential. While gazing out over the spires of those gargantuan curtains of ice, vast uninhabitable meadows of snow and water suspended, frozen in a pause for all time, glistening in the sun like dunes of diamonds and glass, in your periphery Amy is watching your watch. Smiling with a forlorn tenderness and uttering nothing because cometh the hour you’ll be too soon and forever separated in the world, she would later confess in a letter not sent. You offer no response or acknowledgement of her pensive and doting intrigue but look right on ahead, deeper into anything else as though you didn’t notice and know exactly where you’re headed but you do not, and you are just as adrift as anyone though increasingly here you are warming to the fact if by cruel expense. You don’t know why you did that, but maybe you needed to focus on yourself for a change, than rather what somebody else was focusing in on, about you. Just now a cold snap for which the faculties were not braced whips at your skin and threads the ribs. Fibres twitch involuntarily and immediately are you seized by your own constricting humanness. A glaze of frost is thrust over your nerves sending a biting shudder through your being like the cold steel of blade pushed into the chest; an ominous déjà vu which you have endured with a fright at intervals now and then for centuries. So now you look.

And kneeling there in the dark by the failing embers with a curious wondering piecing together the shards of recaptured frames of my sweet Patagonian experience can I enjoy the adventure again. All the thrills of moment-to-moment living where the weeks become fortified in legend, with all the significant constellations and heroism of a lifetime thoroughly lived. From being born erratic through the journey of ‘unheavening’ right up to a dispersal composed and sublime, enhanced and hemmed into 23 days like an eon in a snow dome. A solar system within a marble sitting on the ocean floor rolling with the beckon of an undertow. As well there were exams that revealed him, who I was most proud to have become that I had until then not discovered the amounting to were at all possible. To reminded be that still he is not done, nor to be restrained any more in luxury, and too of a time in my life that I think shall ever unsurpassed remain as the very best that I had lived.
When, however cutting and inclement, and no place more so than exists I’m sure, there was always close at hand the warm heart of a friend who two weeks before, you never knew or cared to know existed. Who would offer their only jacket because yours was an inappropriate match for such climates, all the while reminding the group with a stuttered yet indomitable cheer as we traversed terrain and conditions could no supposition have equaled, that somebody else whose birth place or last name you can’t recall had rushed on against the gales to prepare a fire and raise our tents before supper and storm.

Those rare and special people you’ll find dotted across the globe in corners hidden and places hard, like flowers in a cave. Where scarcely known are the comforts that fatigue and drive us further from ourselves and from one another. These very much-mattering, endearing acts of unhesitating consideration you can come to expect on the road from strangers who would rather be family. And as much as I’ve wandered from shore to shore, through valleys low and stark not within lights reach where prevails still a most fascinatingly and animated little civilisation you’ll not find anywhere else that one dare not profane to long step there, – and there’s such a place for us all; among grand and agleam peaks of powerful majesty weeping into lakes of the purest blue that arrest the tiny looker into a sudden compulsion for silent propriety: More than any mountain, the human phenomena of immediate unreproach and dependable tenderness never ceases to fire me to new incentives for compassion and service, always bringing me home a better man, and upon me after the hardest days, bestowing a far better rest than I could have hoped for. To see it, be touched, punctured and set loose by it is a wrath of pleasantness intensely I pray for and to what I know not. Perhaps to the Cosmos which inform with its patterns of seeming disarray and yet precision of order and celestial fairness. If it can pull planets, kill stars and toss fire like missiles across an infinity and still find occasion to mystify us with a drifters faith and the honest goodness of foreign folk, music, love, drunken sunrise pacts with new friends and pretty smiles in passing, surely can it inspire us to consider less ourselves as a disconnected self and more as a part of an order serene, that we may then tirelessly to the work of prospering an entire people to a standard of aversion to such separateness, and encourage by bitter example the kind of society we would all admire, and for which would one tilt to all the winds and blades of a thousand Siberian assaults for. Finding in our unity, a strength not stirred without, we can exhilarate that which sorely requires the present wide world through which we stumble: that is, dissolution of that indifference, that, until recently I had championed for too long and thought to be a trait of the strong, which I know now of course to be untrue.

Passing through the tunnel of a curative meditation are you restored. A buoyancy finds again the space beneath your feet, careening within and through you. Things are far gentler than you imagined. There is breadth at last, for all the things that you would feel, and the few things of which reason guides you need think. It is not as much a vacation as we need so much as an hour quiet and sincere with the soul, where your work will become known to you, to be taken up in earnest for all the days of your glorious tenure until it descends upon you to sleep and take your leave.

Danny James blog Patagonia 4 pics

Danny James blog Patagonia 4 pic 2

217: Patagonia part 3 (Amy, somewhere)

Strange it now seems that it bothered me how she would always dawdle behind while there was so much to see, and I’d never notice at the time that she was happy enough just watching me. Heading toward wherever I was, to end a searching in my arms that were never open.

I recall with fondness her poise and determined gait, and private strength of wherewithal that sometimes did take leave of its throne and put to helm a smile acting with not falsehood enough to cover over the deeper melancholy in her world, but a smile anyway. Amy disliked her pronounced calves and yet wore tights, no matter how thoroughly the Patagonian gusts would blow and yet often complained hilariously indignantly and unnecessarily of observed human errors of judgement and the like, long after the affray upon her dignity subsided and the offender, stooped and cloaking his villainy with shame had departed, sullen and regret addled. Amy’s relentlessness was tiring, to many if not all of them, but not to me. And often while they leered at her would I leer at them, more perplexed about them than disliking, for at last here was a little storm of transparency rare as the breathtaking within her berating into correctness or exhaustion a person failing, – that ushers away sun-shower pretensions with her brooding cloudburst veracity.

And I liked her calves too, looking furtively on their contours and contractions during the conquering of an incline. I said as much though little more, and it still seemed to matter immensely. I liked them best when ahead of me they brushed through grass and brambles on a hill-side meadow saturated by cold, dying daylight one December afternoon in some place, the name of which I can’t recall and made no effort to remember, by a highway remote in South America. You get tired of making plans and keeping notes. Abiding schedules and hitching your time and cares to duty and a whereabouts. We just walked, talked nonsense for once and wondered what were in the ovens of all the homes that blinked across the plains under perhaps the most magnificent dispersal of dusk cloud, the likes of which had never the skies before bestowed upon us we awed, in the end resigning to the fact that it was no different from any other as much as we were here with new eyes. Bursting apart with our pent-up hopes and anxieties, like the first Spring flowers through melting snow. Sometimes Amy would quietly look away and slump into a sigh that halted the planets in their cycles and cast suddenly over the hissing prairies of my heart a shadow crawling. Then, she would look back over her shoulder with a smile that betrayed an arrived at relief I knew only too well, and immediately a solitary lance of light shot out across the slopes from a source unknown yet knowing all. The Earth and all things resumed their movements and I could breathe again at ease, that all is indeed well, if she is well.
We were happy here with each other just as incomplete as ever, hidden in an interval of our lives and free to entertain the ecstasies of our wildest wonderings. I’m willing to wager, being years from these events that you will not have known a happiness like waking up face down on your cold tent floor without an air-mat, and with no shirt on in near-zero temperatures, with her cheek on your shoulder-blade and fingers clutching your lat because she loves your back even in her sleep, and her warm flesh against yours is keeping the world holy though she has three-fourths of the tent and all the sleep sack. You can hear the morning campfire and some of the group is awake and huddled around staring. The smell of instant coffee is utterly arresting and who knows what’s for breakfast or when it doesn’t matter. For a moment you forgot to remember that you can’t bear the thought of going home again, to describe so desperately these things that severely matter with people to whom they do not. It doesn’t even cross your mind that one day we would all be gone and that for many years before, we would all be looking back on these days from our separate and lonely corners of the world with a sad impossible longing to hold them all again and do absolutely nothing differently. You are too busy trying to recollect what it was that you were both laughing about so fervently before you fell asleep in each other’s arms with nothing and nowhere to be in the morning.

Somewhere in Patagonia, December 2013

Somewhere in Patagonia, December 2013

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Seems to me that people are only too eager to pass around and openly share the bleakness of their fears and prejudices with the world until nobody can stand anybody and yet everybody is the same. And most of the time am I no different in my hesitation to close the door no matter how cold it has become in here, because if we’re all uncomfortable then in fact nobody is uncomfortable.