June 9th, 2005

cocked and loaded


I'm an addict in search of my next hit. The substance I'm addicted to isn't hard to find, but it can be elusive and you have to keep an eye out for it. I suffer when I can't get me some, and I have been known to spend money and time searching for it. Luckily, there are so many forms of the thing I crave that I don't usually have to go too long inbetween highs. It never gets old, that blast of euphoria that sets me spinning, that raises the hair on the back of my neck, that dilates my pupils and oxygenates my blood with adrenaline.

Beauty. That's my drug.

I look for it. I listen for it. Sometimes I wait for it to come to me and sometimes I seek it out.

They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it? Jeanette Winterson

It can be words. Poetry, essays, short stories, novels, a journal entry (or many), a phrase here, a thought there. Writing that makes me stop and read it twice. Thrice. Snippets I copy into my commonplace books, a selection of passages that stun and hold me, that bring me back, that send a shudder through me.

You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment. Annie Dillard

It can be images. Paintings, sketches, photos, watercolors, collage, illustrations, design, repeating patterns. A movement of chiaroscuro, the play of light and dark, the dance of nuanced shading. Colors that blend and delight. Unexpected juxtapositions. Imagination given form and breath. Curliques and calligraphy.

There was nothing to do but wait. ...All for that one electric, pulse-revving vision when the universe suddenly declares itself. A ravishing tug on the sleeve of our mortality. Diane Ackerman

It can be sound. Music in all its myriad melodies. The singing strings of violins. Intertwining, looping harmony, a soaring soprano. The liquid trill of a blackbird or the hushing lullaby buzz of evening insects. The pounding drum of heavy rain, or the hypnotic rushing of water over edges.

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the unexpressable is music. Aldous Huxley

Often it's something alive, something pulsating with breath and laughter and life. My children's cheeks, their eyelashes, the bridge of a baby's nose. The smooth, mottled bark of a sycamore tree in the rain, its trunk studded with snails. The cloud-baby white-petaled arch of a double row of pear trees in spring. A cat curled in sunlight, a wheeling, shifting flock of birds, the whorled and wonderful architecture of a seashell.

...Miracles occur, if you care to call those spasmodic tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again, the long wait for the angel, for that rare, random descent. Sylvia Plath

It's out there. I can't wait to find it again. I'll greet it with a smile.

A Very Few of the Amazing and Beautiful Things I've Seen in My Life: the Alhambra, the glass flowers at Harvard Museum, the Grand Canyon, the Passion Play in Oberammergau, the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, Michelangelo's Pietà, Chicago's skyline during a lightning storm, Keukenhof in full bloom, sunset over Santorini, Murillo's Immaculate Conception at the Prado in Madrid.

Booty-Shaking Belly-Laughing Bouncing Birthday Wishes to purrthecat!