Thursday, June 17, 2010

Accept What Comes

Accept what comes from silence.  
Make the best you can of it.

- Wendell Berry 

We moved in silence, my bicycle and I. We accepted what came.

He zigzagged the field with a football. Single handed he kept the game going by scoring as well as guarding the goal. I approached him as I would a deer grazing. Then -
“Did you watch the game between England and USA?
He nodded.
He nodded.
“Which team?” I said, “the US?”
He shook his head. “Wayne Rooney!”
“Me too,” I said. And nodded.

In the Castle grounds I walked among foreign voices. I wanted to be the traveller with new eyes. To see outside of the ordinary.

“Ghee, I can’t stand those cobbled stones!”
A lady with chunky thighs and tiny shoes wobbled through the courtyard.
“Me neither!” Her friend’s face was red and puffy.

“I told you it was this way!”
His voice was high, his body short. He wore a powder blue hat. It made him look just those millimeter taller. Even so, his wife still had to look down at him.

Then, as a dark force, a lanky man with a red scarf and a red umbrella. He rushed past, his overcoat dancing from side to side. I turned just in time to catch him leave into the light of the archway. 

I listened to the sounds of the city. I let the world enter me. The more I opened my eyes, the more the noise disappeared into the silence.

Quote from How to Be a Poet by Wendell Berry
Text and Photos © Grete S. Kempton


  1. What a beautiful post, Grete. I love the photos of the tree reflecting in the puddle. You brought to mind a prayer I read in a book I have called "Psychedelic Prayers" by Timothy Leary. It's overflowing with wisdom. I'll share it here. Blessings!

    By Timothy Leary

    All things pass
    A sunrise does not last all morning
    All things pass
    A cloudburst does not last all day
    All things pass
    Nor a sunset all night

    But Earth… sky… thunder…
    wind… fire… lake…
    mountain… water…
    These always change

    And if these do not last
    Do man’s visions last?
    Do man’s illusions . . . ?

    Take things as they come.

    All things pass.

  2. Grete - You had a wonderful experience, being outside, taking inside absorbing. And did you take these pictures in that dream like state, where the city noise disappeared?

  3. Aah, yes, I see you have experienced the 'bubble'. :)

    It is fascinating how the human mind works, don't you think? Somehow when you've reached a certain peak, you are able to take control of it completely. Or is it the other way around? That state of tranquility takes you to another world inside yourself. Bewildering and yet so satisfying.

    Peace to you, dear Grete.

    Your silent images speak a thousand words...

  4. The noise disappearing into the silence! Wow.

    Felt like Alice a bit reading this. Silly silly people not liking cobblestones.

    Bravest yet, I thought, you talking to a child. (Curious me, upon reflection.)


  5. For some years I lived in Cambridge, England. A beautiful city with it's universities and rich cultural history. Inundated most of the year with tourists though. Some city residents resented these seasonal incomers but I loved to walk amongst them on my way home from work ... to see it all afresh through their eyes. Even the huffing and puffing of the occasional complaint drew my attention. Something new and different every day. Just by looking.

    I love the way that sound disappears when we really look. That one sense can almost literally drown out another.

    Dancing overcoats ... loved the image conjured up with these words. xx Jos

  6. Wow, Grete, your words and images are both amazing. Well done!

  7. Marion -

    Thank you for such a wise poem, all things pass, pass, pass..... Even though we think they don’t, they do. To befriend this quality of life is sometimes easy and can seem like a gift. At other times this is beyond difficult....

    Robert -

    Yes, they were taken in that dream like state, which is not dream like at all, just focused. A lovely place to be...

    Amalia -

    Yes, the bubble :-)

    I’m totally and utterly perplexed and fascinated by the human mind. We are ourselves the conductors of our minds, yet our minds seem to be in charge of us most of the time. I think there is a secret to be discovered here, but I’m still looking for the key....

    And while looking, I take photographs. It makes me forget about the mind and just cooperate with whatever comes....

    Erin -

    I find that while focusing (literally :-) , I forget to listen to noise, Instead all sounds seem to transform into something else.

    Even the silly words of the silly women :-)

    Ah, I love talking to kids.....

    Jos -

    Ahhh, Cambridge! My eldest son went to university there, so we visited a few times. LOVED it. But then I LOVE England, full stop! Lived in Brighton while young, which also had the seasonal invasion of tourists, so I know what you mean. And now I live almost next door to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which is Oslo’s most popular tourist attraction. I walk there every morning, and have come to recognize people from the various nationalities from a long distance. The park changes personality with the seasons, which in itself is an attractive feature.

    Marti -

    Thank you for kind words. And for visiting!