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Welcome to
Transactions with Beauty.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and relax. 
Thanks for being here.
And remember, 
you are required to make something beautiful.

- Shawna

 

 

Only the Mountain and I

Only the Mountain and I

It might seem glamorous to have traveled to Rome one week, and in the next week go to Banff. And it is? But also: bone wearying. Odds are, I will never be so glamorous again.

Even so, the mountains are beautiful. Who can tire of looking at the mountains?

This is my favourite mountain poem, which I probably quote every time we go to Banff, but still:

Alone Looking at the Mountain

by Li Po

All the birds have flown up and gone;
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by.
We never tire of looking at each other –
Only the mountain and I.

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And now, after the gloriousness of the mountains, regular life resumes. This is fine, though.

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (5.1)

Honestly, some days, I do think I was created to huddle under the blankets. But yes, there is work to do, as a human being.

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There’s something good about feeling small in the mountains for a day or two.

It reminds me of the quotation by Alan Watts:

“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.”

– Alan Watts

We’re just like leaves, we’re like seedlings, planted in at times extraordinary circumstances.

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It’s good to watch the lonely clouds whisper mysterious things to the mountains.

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And to observe the grasses by the river and listen to their quiet song, too.

And then, it’s time to get out of bed, and get to work at being a decent human being, again. To persist in small acts, small kindnesses, and in being open.

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