Monday, June 23, 2014

Word of the Week - 16

Art, The Whale, by Terry Fan, works found here.
Word of the Week:  UNSEEN

In his short story, "The Night the Bed Fell on Father," James Thurber wrote of a character who piled her belongings outside the bedroom door at night with instructions that any burglars take what they wanted and not use their chloroform on her.  We are fragile vessels on endless, unknowable seas taking what precautions we can and hoping for the best.  Such a grain, a particle of what exists falls within our scope, so much is unseen.

On a solo Alaskan hunting trip in what I imagine to be a vast snowy wasteland, my uncle Ray was, after a number of days, picked up as had been arranged.  When the pilot landed, he told Ray that he could see from the air what Ray could not have known: that he was being stalked by a polar bear.  This may be family myth, I may have misremembered all or part of it, but the whale painting called it to mind.

I experience life as an act of faith, an unspooling continuum in which what we must know next somehow finds us, steps forward, states its name.  So much of the unseen is the good, which may leave itself like notes written in a spidery and nearly illegible hand tucked under a corner of the doormat.  A whiff of night-blooming jasmine, possibly imagined for the plant is no longer there, drifting through the second floor window.  Our sight is enhanced by distance of time and space.  I've heard often in 12-step meetings, "More will be revealed."  And it will, it is.  Meanwhile, unless we wish to suffer needlessly, we operate as advised by Rainer Maria Rilke:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Note to self: befriend the unseen.  Think of ways in which to do this. 



12 comments:

toomuchaugust said...

xo

susan t. landry said...

interesting. i like the idea of the polar bear stalking, but it was outside uncle ray's reference point, and thus not a threat. best to pay attention to what we can control, and deal with the other stuff when the time comes?

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sherry - Hello, thank you, xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Which is all we can do, otherwise it becomes worry, the chloroform and all other unknowns, unseens. As I looked at Terry Fan's illustration, I did not think the whale devoured the sailing ship, just that it was there. We are strange creatures, the ways in which we seem to enjoy frightening ourselves, and yet find comfort in the thought of silently hovering benevolence. Or shall I say, I am a strange creature. Whatever it is, until it is here, we press on. xo

Melissa Green said...

'Befriend the unseen'. Ah, yes. That is what's needed, surely. And yet you are a braver soul than I, Marylinn. But I will attempt it, to befriend the unseen, and put away my anticipatory shriek for it may not be required. xo

Elizabeth said...

This reminder of Rilke's words and the rest of your post -- the painting and your own thoughts -- is the perfect accompaniment to my own throwing of the iChing today. Thank you for everything!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - We can always bring the shrieks out later when they prove appropriate. Oh, my friend, you are plenty brave. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Elizabeth - Thank you, and for affirming that sometimes what arrives may really be the universe's message and not stuff I make up. I believe we know when something is afoot. xo

Arlynda Lea Beuterbaugh said...

"Marylinn Kelly" has been included in our Arlynda Lea's Sites to See #6. We hope this helps to call more attention to your efforts.

http://arlyndalea.blogspot.com/2014/06/arlynda-leas-sites-to-see-6.html

Marylinn Kelly said...

Arlynda Lea - Any sharing such as yours does widen an audience for us fellow bloggers. Thank you for this generous gesture. I appreciate it very much. xo

Gabrielle Panckhurst said...

I love the Rilke quote. Thank you and very appropriate for uncertain times.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Gabrielle - Hello and thank you. Nice to see you here. And...times which only became more uncertain overnight. Whew. xo