Friday, August 5, 2011


“Do we know within us
the call to change our heart?
If we do,
the Spirit is alive in us.”

~ The Monks of Weston Priory, New Life, New Creation

This time, knowing time has passed is a matter of profound gratitude. Rather than being swept by puzzlements past, my thoughts are set at ease that today is not last month. On an afternoon of subsided summer heat, suddenly cognizant of oceanic east winds, my steps drew me to the water’s edge. Although the ocean is daily within view, it is quite another thing to make the crags, waves, and sands into a destination. The soul must find its rest. Those sea-spiced winds called to remembrance a consolation that rises above circumstance.

Leaving aside confining walls and words, paved roads revealed rock ledges and large skies. Vastness changes context, removing constraints and thus subverting contained thoughts. Details lose their prominence beneath ceilingless celestial heights. It suffices simply to sit, aperch on a jutted emergence. Nothing else needed and no demands made. My eyes had only to behold, and take stock of my refuge. And with eyes closed, the Divine reassures by air current, spray, and seabird song.

Yes, I wrote a few words- a notebook being something of an appendage- but they did not amount to much. As sensible as it was to write, it did not matter whether the words made any sense. Just as it mattered less what I saw than it did to simply gaze seaward. All was in motion, save for my rocky perch. Watching tidal pools, pondering my own depletion brought to mind the prospect of passing into something new. Inlets need not strive to collect living water. They have only to behold.

Openness to replenishment is far more perception than action. It may be alighting by the ocean, unarmed by agenda. Or, as on a recent evening, it may be setting a chair into a library aisle of choice and reading portions of books. Phrased insights swirled to shore. Just enough to set forth again. Between work shifts and city errands, skies provide reference to the expanse I beheld above the waves. The seascape formed a kind of musical chord that conveyed an assuring grandeur. Added to this are wise words read and heard. The sum of the parts is brought together at the shores around my steps. Making note of the heavens, I ply the waters.


  1. Hello, over there ...
    I stumbled over your web logbook a couple of months ago when searching for information on the subjects of (hand-)writing, notebooks, writing instruments, and the like. I am in fact not exactly the type of person who is in the habit of making up his mind in public, and so I had initially intended to just "passively" keep on reading your blog.
    And I must say I do appreciate it, both for the subjects treated, for the style employed in doing so, and - last but not least - for the marvellous photographs accompanying and inspiring (?) the text.
    The reason why I have finally brought myself to step over your virtual threshold nevertheless is that I somehow felt invited to: in your 5th anniversary blog entry you included several photographs of various different items in relation with the number five. Amongst them, there were a couple of stamps disposed on your typewriter including, to my great surprise, an old Austrian stamp, with a value of "5" groschen.
    Still wondering how on earth you may have come into the possession of this stamp, I suddenly felt my mind wandering back into the remote depths of my early boyhood. At that time, I used to have a small collection of stamps. The red stamp with the mountain on it which you show in your photo used to be one of my favourites. I particularly cherished it for its beautiful red colour as compared with most of my other stamps, which were much more sober in tone - grey, blue, or pale green.
    In my childhood I was pleased to have such a nice stamp and didn't care to know more about it. Meanwhile, I have become more curious, and the unexpected second encounter with the stamp thanks to your blog entry made me want to know more about the matter. In a detective-like manner and search-engine assisted, I soon found out that the mountain represented on the stamp was the "Leopoldsberg".
    Now, since geography is not really one of my strong points, I also had to google for Leopoldsberg and found it to be a mountain close to Vienna, Austria. Together with a second mountain, Bisamberg, it forms a kind of gate through which the river Danube passes before entering the Vienna Basin and subsequently running through the city of Vienna.
    Eventually, I came to understand that the mountain on the red stamp was in fact the mountain which, having chosen to live in Vienna, I have so often been looking at in the course of the last 30 years, without knowing that it was the very same mountain my boy's eyes had been gazing upon for many an hour, some 40 years earlier, in the secluded Upper Austrian village of my early childhood. To understand, I needed that unintentional hint from so far away.
    The strangest and the most puzzling thing about all this, however, is that thanks to certain reminders or stimuli, the mind seems to be capable, even after a great number of years, of recapturing long bygone sensations and emotions. Forgotten things may drift back within reach. A past state of mind may revive any moment, broadening up our present consciousness, elation capable of taking away depression, the child deep down in ourselves assuming the role of a guardian angel, taking the adult we've become by the hand and showing a path over "troubled water" ...
    So I'd like to finish by expressing my congratulations on your blog's fifth anniversary. Take this as an encouragement to go on for at least another five years. And thank you again for the philatelic stimulus you provided for my own private path. After all, I find it encouraging to take note of the fact that after so many years I am still capable of recognising the boy I used to be, and that a simple glance at this well-known stamp in your photograph has filled me with a sensation of plenitude and gratitude at feeling that time past and time present may merge - in some rare, privileged moments - in an intimation of grace,
    which is what I wanted to communicate to you.
    Greetings from Europe

  2. Dear Anonymous-
    Enormous thanks to you for this wonderful comment! I'm so very grateful that you are reading.
    The Austrian stamps I have are from my mother; she most likely bought them in Innsbruck.

  3. the wide open sky versus the sea - great photos, makes one feel at rest and perhaps wanting to rest