Precious Light

I am drunk on books lately. I don’t recall such a voracious appetite for reading since I was a kid or in my early 20’s.

It goes in cycles, I suppose….this reading and writing dance.  Contrarily, the writing lately has been slow trickles from a broken faucet. However, the amounts I am reading are outrageous. I am reading several books simultaneously. I am re-reading others.

I distinctly recall a period, right here on this digital shelf of mine, where under some oath of stillness, I proclaimed that I can’t find anything to read, something that truly pokes my attention span and consciousness long enough to force me to pick up a highlighter to box delicious sentences which I want to read and re-read, sometimes aloud and sometimes just whispering to myself, to taste how only language can taste. And here I am now: there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to read everything. I also like to re-read what I enjoy, almost to memory, so I can access it at any given moment even when the book is not there, an amulet of words strung together just for me.

I am reading Xylotheque by Yelizaveta P. Renfrom, which I ordered from University of New Mexico Press.

“How do we treat and interact with these ancient ones, the bristlecone pine? I don’t know. What would we tell the mayfly? Carpe diem? Our time is cosmic to the mayfly, just as the tree’s is cosmic to us. It’s all relative. I only know that we would probably fall in supplication before a human as old as the bristelcone pine, before someone who could tell us so much about the history of the world. The trees could tell us much, in their more subtle tongue, if only we would learn how to listen.” (P.9).

This tree that you see in the photo below is a pure gift of light. It stands alone in one of the most dilapidated parts of California (which is becoming most of the state regardless what you read about Silicon Valley or see in the photos of beautiful sunsets and hence mentioning the precise location is pointless) in an empty parking lot that resembles something out of Brave New World. And what it has to tell me is to always take time to note the light. The story of light is a precious one, indeed. Light illuminates what matters even when nothing resembles good or beautiful.





Then there is Far and Near: On Days Like These by Rush’s world renowned drummer, Neil Peart. The photography is amazing and so are the stories. There is just too much to share just in the interview itself and of course from the book of his travels on the road.  Neil Peart’s words resonated so much with me that I will have to share more from the interview another time. I am grateful to Jamie for sharing the interview with me in the first place since he knows my love of place so well which led to my buying the book.

“I always do feel the human spirits of these places, however seemingly deserted, when I travel through the Mojave Desert for example. And the name desert doesn’t describe the landscape or the weather, it means it’s deserted by people. […] But at the same time there are so many stories that have taken place nearly everywhere you travel around North America, and certainly across Canada, and around Europe, Africa, the stories that came alive to me there…”

My favorite part of the interview was when Peart replies,

“Even on the internet I’m part of what they call the “slow blogger community”, where I take just as much time with my stories there as if I was publishing them and work with an editor and work with a designer and carefully, carefully structure them and go over them to eliminate the errors.”


I don’t know how to share the best snippets from the book; I am no reviewer. There is much to share, the entire book feels like an amazing road trip, but here is one:

“That was a valuable life lesson, among the many I have learned from other people, other cultures, in my travels. That kind of ‘press on regardless’ attitude is not only particular to Britain’s rainy climate, but powerful as a metaphor—about pursuing happiness and enjoying life even when the conditions seem unfavorable.” (P. 29).


And there are three different books by Henry Miller, The Stinging Fly anthology, and The Red Petticoat by an Irish writer named Bryan MacMahon!



Here is to the turns in 2015 bringing more light!