“Earth has not anything to show more fair,
and you’d have to be dead inside not to feel something—
but what, exactly? There are scholars who could tell me
about the walls, arches, baths and temples, and
it’s not that I’m indifferent to such knowledge,
but long ago I learned to follow beauty.
The city lies flushed by sunset in its bowl,
the snow mountains on the far horizon like a dream,
as runnels of violet invade each street,
and what is left, on a winter afternoon,
is a feeling of joy so closely followed by grief
you might almost miss the moment of tenderness
in which both resolve, as if toward something vulnerable:
though the city does not have you, has never had you, in mind.”
— Giovanni Giudici, “On the Janiculum, January 7, 2012,” tr. by Karl Kirchwey
Two January walks around Kezar Lake in Sutton, NH, one on New Year’s Day and one near the end of the month; high/low temperatures for the dates were 47F/23F on the 1st and 35F/3F on the 27th.
The lake was well iced over, fishing huts and skaters adorning it. Dirt roads were muddy and icy, afternoon skies dark but with that winter quality of light that makes everything magic. Especially on the first day of the year, joy and grief, or gratitude and, yes, grief, mingling and resolving, standing stark and then blurring, heart and body bursting with clean winter air.
“… long ago I learned to follow beauty.”
New Year’s Day
Featured image: another view on New Year’s Day
One in a series of posts revisiting field trips taken from January to June 2019, as described here.