Settle into autumn (39.20)

This week I learned to pay attention to what time I choose to walk through the park. If I walk through at 8am, we are entering peak school drop off time and the streets around the park are very busy and the narrow paths in the park are crowded with parents and children. I’m not used to this. Normally I’m in the park for running by 7:15am and out by 7:45/7:50am so I miss this. And I’m certainly going to take care to miss it in future.

This week I ran only once. But I did push myself while running (thanks to a couple of key songs at key moments that propelled me to a faster speed than usual) and I got to 4.35k. I can’t let these darker autumn mornings beat me, I can’t keep thinking “I deserve a sleep in”, I need to get back on my running track next week.

This week’s music I’ve been listening a lot to my Beethoven “Pastorale” playlist. Lots of different versions of Beethoven’s Pastorale symphony and a few other bits of Beethoven in between. This also means I was thinking a lot about Beethoven. He always seems to be portrayed as a grumpy bugger, and a lot of his music is very moody, but the Pastorale is so calming, so peaceful. You can picture the rural tranquillity in the music and that’s what’s so soothing about it. And he must have had moments of spiritual illumination – how else could he have written that amazing Ode to Joy from the 9th/Choral symphony? And Beethoven must have had a sense of humour – how else could he have written the melodic and lighthearted Rage over a lost penny – a piece which always sounds like Mozart to me, but no, it’s Beethoven.

Pastoral, Frederick Cayley Robinson. Photo (c) Tate. This image came up when I searched “Pastoral” but this is not what Beethoven’s music sounds like. All the same, I really like this painting.

This week’s night out: We went to the cinema! We sat in a room with strangers, and watched a film. We kept our masks on throughout, I can’t vouch the same for the others. We saw the film Tenet, which has a confusing time-travel type plot, made more confusing by director Christopher Nolan having a ‘special’ way of approaching the sound mix in his films. He believes people don’t need to hear the dialogue clearly, they can just get the vibe of the film from the visuals. In a normal film, maybe, although it would still annoy me. But when you’ve got a convoluted plot involving time travel and alternate worlds, it would really help to hear the words the characters are saying when they’re explaining what goes on. But the film was entertaining and if I even get the chance to watch it at home, I’ll do it with subtitles on.

This week’s exciting arrival in the post: Yes, I bought the pricey ticket for the Julia Cameron webinar last week, and that comes with a book. I haven’t read more than the first page yet, but I’m looking forward to eventually getting around to reading it and learning from it.

This week’s Meditation – I have got sick of lying in bed at night with my mind racing around 100 different thoughts. I need to calm down. So this week I tuned in to Niall Breslin’s Wake Up/Wind down meditations as they were released. In the evening I sat down with my journal and did five minutes of brain dumping before I did the meditation. This week he talked about the changing of the seasons, and why we shouldn’t be sad about autumn, why we should embrace it, why all seasons have their place, why this is a good time to be out in nature. He said something about how this is the time when nature casts off what it doesn’t need any more; and maybe we should also be looking at our lives and thinking about what we should be casting off.

I’ve started by casting off a pile of clothes as I put my summer stuff away.

This week’s recommendation of a great song about autumn: The Birds are leaving by Boo Hewerdine.

This week’s uplifting poem: What? Yes, poetry. I found this poem by Elizabeth Bishop this week: Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore. And for anyone who is feeling down, I invite you to please come flying. “We can sit down and weep; we can go shopping, or play at a game of constantly being wrong with a priceless set of vocabularies, or we can bravely deplore, but please, please come flying.”

From Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge, on this fine morning,
please come flying.
In a cloud of fiery pale chemicals,
please come flying,
to the rapid rolling of thousands of small blue drums
descending out of the mackerel sky
over the glittering grandstand of harbor-water,
please come flying.
Whistles, pennants and smoke are blowing. The ships
are signaling cordially with multitudes of flags
rising and falling like birds all over the harbor.
Enter: two rivers, gracefully bearing
countless little pellucid jellies
in cut-glass epergnes dragging with silver chains.
The flight is safe; the weather is all arranged.
The waves are running in verses this fine morning.
Please come flying.

Come with the pointed toe of each black shoe
trailing a sapphire highlight,
with a black capeful of butterfly wings and bon-mots,
with heaven knows how many angels all riding
on the broad black brim of your hat,
please come flying.

Bearing a musical inaudible abacus,
a slight censorious frown, and blue ribbons,
please come flying.
Facts and skyscrapers glint in the tide; Manhattan
is all awash with morals this fine morning,
so please come flying.

Mounting the sky with natural heroism,
above the accidents, above the malignant movies,
the taxicabs and injustices at large,
while horns are resounding in your beautiful ears
that simultaneously listen to
a soft uninvented music, fit for the musk deer,
please come flying.

For whom the grim museums will behave
like courteous male bower-birds,
for whom the agreeable lions lie in wait
on the steps of the Public Library,
eager to rise and follow through the doors
up into the reading rooms,
please come flying.
We can sit down and weep; we can go shopping,
or play at a game of constantly being wrong
with a priceless set of vocabularies,
or we can bravely deplore, but please
please come flying.

With dynasties of negative constructions
darkening and dying around you,
with grammar that suddenly turns and shines
like flocks of sandpipers flying,
please come flying.

Come like a light in the white mackerel sky,
come like a daytime comet
with a long unnebulous train of words,
from Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge, on this fine morning,
please come flying.

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