Other people’s words about … the view from the kitchen window
The kitchen window [of the railroad flat] looked into the gray courtyard where, on better days, there would be lines of clothes baking in the sun, although the floor of the deep courtyard, even in the prettiest weather, was a junkyard and a jungle. There were rats and bedsprings and broken crates. A tangle of city-bred vegetation: a sickly tree, black vines, a long-abandoned attempt at a garden.
From ‘The Ninth Hour’
by Alice McDermott
The world can seem very unlovely sometimes, can’t it? Sometimes the unloveliness is of the kind described in the passage above, which comes from poverty and dereliction and is visible from your kitchen window. And sometimes it comes from a more spiritual kind of unloveliness: a human lack of grace.
Shafts of sunlight
There are times when I fret and rail at the unloveliness, times when it is all I can see. And there are other times — for the space of a breath, or a second, or a minute, or an hour — when I am overwhelmed by the loveliness that surrounds me, both within people and without.
Oystercatchers on the reef
I had a week of annual leave from work last week, which I spent by the beach. The weather was dank and damp and (yes) somewhat unlovely, and, at least partly in response, my mood veered up and down erratically.
Autumn in the vineyards
But then, over the week, because I’m on a pause in my running at the moment, I found myself seeking out my bike again, taking myself for long, hypnotic rides along the coast, through hills and paddocks and vineyards. And all around me, amidst the dampness and dankness, there were moments of loveliness, some of which you can see pictured in today’s post.
Rainclouds over the hills
Sometimes, I think, you just have to take moments of loveliness like this and carry them with you, through the unloveliness. Sometimes it’s all you can do.
Lately I’ve been reading …
- … [F]or those steeped in the belief that great calamity should not, cannot, be our lot —- or that, if we work hard enough or try hard enough or hope hard enough or are good or inventive enough, we might be able to outfox it — it can be a relief to admit our folly and rejoin the species, which is defined, as are all forms of life, by a terrible and precious precarity, to which some bodies need no reintroduction: Maggie Nelson, on finding moments of calm during a pandemic.
- … It felt almost like we had travelled back to a pre-pandemic past — except that version is a fantasy that no longer exists: Isabella Kwai on Australia’s ‘escape’ from the pandemic and what living in the post-pandemic world really means.
- … If I’ve realized anything, it’s that everyone has an extremely specific experience of this time of coronavirus: Stacy Ladenburger, offering her response to the post-pandemic world (and a delicious-looking herby pea soup recipe as well!).