what is joy? perhaps it starts in the irrational? the sensuous?

dionysis and his world we describe as irrational, which we usually take to be a negative term. we generally think of an irrational person as strange, offbeat, or insane; and of an irrational statement as incorrect. but the original meaning of irrational knowledge is simply knowledge gained through our senses rather than through our rational thought processes. the dionysian way is to see the world instinctively, on a sensuous, intuitive level rather than in an abstract, logical, once-removed way.

a.a. johnson


oh love and freedom of youth, can you last forever?


she saw a dust bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. so this was a marriage!

nora neale hurston


it seems that all of the leaves dropped at once in the past few days. beautiful.

because it is halloween, i thought i would post some information on the original holiday on which it is based. from wikipedia:

according to celtic lore, samhain is a time when the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead become thinner, allowing spirits and other supernatural entities to pass between the worlds to socialize with humans. it is the time of the year when ancestors and other departed souls are especially honored. ... samhain in particular is a time when more elaborate offerings are made to specific ancestors. often a meal will be prepared of favorite foods of the family's and community's beloved dead, a place set for them at the table, and traditional songs, poetry and dances performed to entertain them. a door or window may be opened to the west and the beloved dead specifically invited to attend. many leave a candle or other light burning in a western window to guide the dead home.


although i didn't take this picture, i witnessed something similar while i was at the beach this week. we were in the ocean when it started raining really large drops of rain, which hit the surface of the water in a million tiny plops. the drops were so fat that they caused a splatter back upward, like the water was sticky and someone was stretching it up. the waves were soft and gentle, with no white water--just a big, smooth surface rising and falling with these little water extensions jumping upward. it was one of the most beautiful things i've ever seen.


for this meeting was not a continuation of their erotic rendezvous, each of which had been an opportunity to think up some new little vice; it was a recapitulation of time, a hymn to their common past, a sentimental summary of an unsentimental story that was disappearing in the distance.

the bowler hat was a motif in the musical composition that was sabina's life. it returned again and again, each time with a different meaning, and all the meanings flowed through the bowler hat like water through a riverbed. i might call it heraclitus' ("you can't step twice into the same river") riverbed: the bowler hat was a bed through which each time sabina saw another river flow, another semantic river: each time the same object would give rise to a new meaning, though all former meanings would resonate (like an echo, like a parade of echoes) together with the new ones. each new experience would resound, each time enriching the harmony. ...

now, perhaps, we are in a better position to understand the abyss separating sabina and franz: he listened eagerly to the story of her life and she was equally eager to hear the story of his, but although they had a clear understanding of the logical meaning of the words they exchanged, they failed to hear the semantic susurrus of the river flowing through them.

and so when she put on the bowler hat in his presence, franz felt uncomfortable, as if someone had spoken to him in a language he did not know. it was neither obscene nor sentimental, merely an incomprehensible gesture. what made him uncomfortable was its very lack of meaning.

when people are fairly young and the musical composition of their lives is still in its opening bars, they can go about writing it together and exchange motifs (the way tomas and sabina exchanged the motif of the bowler hat), but if they meet when they are older, like franz and sabina, their musical compositions are more or less complete, and every motif, every object, every word means something different to each of them.

if i were to make a record of all sabina and franz's conversations, i could compile a long lexicon of their misunderstandings.

milan kundera


thank you rain for everything you have done for us in the last fifteen minutes. the oppressive heat that we experience every day, the heat that plagues us from the minute we wake up sweating, stuck to the sheets all the way through the day as we try to survive the still humid air then further even into our dreams, a presence that is always there, momentarily lifted for a short but sweet minute of my life. the cool breath of air that floats through my window, caressing my back and drying my sweat, was just what i needed. thank you rain for showing me that even though life is hard, it is also beautiful at the times when we need it most.


to measure time by how little we change is to find how little we've lived; but to measure time by how much we've lost is to wish we hadn't changed at all. there are ledgers that stay open all life, there are scores we'll never re-pay ... it is the insoluble knot we can't leave behind but bring with us wherever we go, it is who we are when we are alone and no one else is looking; it is our tussle with one person we can never outgrow but fear we'll never become. it is, in the end, how we make sense of our lives when we know there is no sense to be made.

andre aciman


as we age, we carry more and more weight on our shoulders. can we ever be so curious and innocent again as we were when we were children? i'd like to think so.


the reform of consciousness consists only in enabling the world to clarify its consciousness, in waking it from its dream about itself, in explaining to it the meaning of its own actions.

karl marx

maybe he was dancing for a reason--to show that dance can be done anywhere, anyplace, by anyone. perhaps he knew that people would stare and probably laugh at him, but some of those who watched would feel a little part of their heart open up to the beauty of the world. or maybe he lives in his own world. it makes me happy either way.


the truest expression of a people is its dances and its music. bodies never lie.

agnes de mille

once upon a time, i, chang tzu, dreamt i was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. i was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was conscious of my individuality as a man. suddenly, i awoke, and there i lay, myself again. now i do not know whether i was then a man dreaming i was a butterfly, or whether i am now a butterfly dreaming i am a man.

chang tzu

my great-grandmother, my mom, and i