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QUINTESSENCE

Some Things


Going into the Quintessence archives, I wanted to repost this essay from four years ago. It feels timeless to me, and appropriate to the season and events of history, both personal and within the world. As you gather at Thanksgiving tables, please know what matters is here, in your heart. I send you my very warmest blessings and love.

Simple Truth
November 25, 2012

Some things
you know all your life. They are simple and true
they must be said without elegance, meter, and rhyme,
they must be laid on the table beside the salt shaker,
the glass of water, the absence of light gathering
in the shadows of picture frames, they must be
naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.


- from "The Simple Truth," Philip Levine

The beauty of love is that it is capable of great patience, tremendous tenacity, it stretches, it attaches, it slowly builds like bone in the body. It has been a journey, for me, this life. And in the becoming there is miracle. The gestation of new forms of connection and partnership, of family. Evolving into new ways of being, grafting new shapes onto the lives we lead. It is the simple truth to say living is a cycle of ever-becoming. And while neither easy, nor pristinely beautiful, nor perfect in process, this becoming is perfect in intent. It carries the seed of joy, grounded in the earth, the heavens, and self.

The human heart is a warrior and a monk. And it speaks a simple truth. Belong.
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Lean on Art

Blue Lagoon, Capri

I'VE BROUGHT TO ART
by C.P. Cavafy

I sit here, yielding to reverie. I've brought to Art
desires and notions: certain things half-seen -
countenances or figures; certain vague recollections
of loves unfinished. Allow me to lean on Art;
Art knows how to fashion an image of Beauty,
doing so subtly, completing life
by blending impressions, mingling together the days.



My refuge is in words. So too, for many of you. Or perhaps for you it is the workshop behind the house, the camera in your hand, the yarn in your fingers, the land you till, music after dark, the lyrics in your thoughts, spices simmering on the stove. Art offers us the way through, and I find myself at her doorstep these days, knocking lightly.

I have a friend who is a painter. Her easel stands in the corner of her kitchen. When the light hits a certain way, she stops and paints. These last few weeks she has been passing her easel, searching. Searching for the light. Finally, she began to paint anyway, remembering what she needed to see.

Go walk through the last days of fall, my friends. Stack the firewood you will need in December. Send coats and sweaters to charity. Unpack the old movies. Bake that pumpkin bread. Pen the poem that has echoed in your dreams and carve the totem from the wood. Now are the dark days. We feed ourselves with light, serendipitous and imagined. Let Art lead you, as 19th century poet Constantine Cavafy so beautifully expressed. Lean on Art. Mingle the days.

Gather in the light.

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