The Lapidary View

The Lapidary View

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    My dear Colin Wilson, a brilliant surveyor of human possibility, often speaks of the exhilarating ‘hawk’s eye view’ which liberates us to our purposeful strengths. For myself, I have settled upon the Lapidary View. I like to treat everything as if it were a jewel. Or rather more shockedly, sudden, surprised – everything as geode.

   The first time I saw a geode, I fainted. The idea that in that apparently dreary rock gleamed this staggering dazzle of crystals like a cave a wizard must live in goaded my heart and brain to permanent agog. I knew at once that the geode was one of these ravishing runes the multiverse loves to spring on you. “Dja get it? Did you get it?” Well, it’d be tough to miss the delectable pagan message of the burning geode. “Everything is jeweled inside, dumbbell, if you crack it open and notice.”

    The second factor for sustainable surprise is the necessary separation of the dependable, the trustworthy, the adorable world from the traitorous tho (sometimes often occasionally) interesting realm of people. The world, grokked, cannot be boring – only people and their hideous and petty betrayals, the dread thereof or the breath-taken recovery from.

    I am happy to shapeshiftilly fling my perception into the dangerous brute beauty of a hawk, as <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Hopkins might have it, but the littler attention is essential for daily and constant surprise.

                flowerphotographer roth

The druid secret is to read all those darn oak leaves, a true unlieable text with their audio book of whispered gossip, zephyr-flung. We are immersed in the 3-D, 10-D runes of the great immersion language of the universe.

   I prefer to call the uni-verse, the multi-verse, the many-poem place.  This poetical existence, this living devotedly, deftly alert, tigerfirefierce within the daring, darling poem is untarnishable delight. Very merry. One herein lives on dappled glory – you have the companionship of the whole world.

    This deep sustenance allows forays into the treacherous Land of People as subjects. (People as objets are a whirl & blur, a fine ballet.) What protects you in this plutonium-fraught people environment is the animist strength of the very dust and the languor of the willow, ever faithful, thy sword obsidian humor, your armor the affection of all your utter pals, like Air who never entertains despair.

   The difference between people and the Radiant Daily is that the Radiant is always pure of intent. If it is a sabertooth tiger from the night forest, it may eat you, but it doesn’t deceive you. It is what it is and you can discern it, learn it. People, on the other hand, may pretend to be a lamb when they are really a sabertooth. You pat the soft fleece, sweet and trusting of heart, humming a lullaby, and, crunch, you are become lunch in the sabertooth jaws. You writhe in psychic agony from the slavered pain of unspeakable betrayal.

   You say a preserving detachment is unnatural, blasphemous to the normanrockwellian creed of sentimentality, that fraudulent charade we ought in hallmarkian duty parade. Nay, chivalry itself suggested a preserving distance which allowed an amusing artifice to overlay with pearl of poetry the gruesome cruelty that deceit, if  they even bother to bother, that the beloveds will otherwise wield. Homo &/or homa deceptiens.

     I must hasten to insist that I am the last to allow least of all laud the cynical view. I am daffily baffled at the torrential antics of the human. I am fond but wary.

    Being a poeticist takes some heat off the relationship melon. Like a scientist, a poeticist discovers, studies, researches.

    So we have the untarnishable searing little joys of the lapidary view and the courteous separation of persons and naïve trust. This existential combination makes for a wildly happy and hilarious life.

    The deft attention I refer to in the sustainable surprise part of your perception life is magical in the sense of how many fascinations can be writ on the head of a pin. When you pay deft attention, you are magnemagically drawn to what you see/touch etc.  Consider dear Blake’s ‘universe in a grain of sand.’ Consider Borges’ Funes’ stark and ennui-shattering dog named Spot, named Speck, named Spark. Consider the 25 different words for snow that the Eskimos discern. Consider Keats’ wild surmise.

    Let’s start with attention itself, this precious elixir that makes you an artist in your life. Attention is a substance. You can send it out to touch apparently external objects in the way that an amoeba sends out a pseudopod or false foot. Next time you are deftly intent in noticing something, observe how your attention caresses the tree trunk or flower petals or kitten or whatever. This zephyr attention or deft attention can be sustained all of your life lucidly waking or lucidly musing or lucidly dreaming. This attention is not quite effortless – it requires just the amount of energy that keeps a butterfly from crashing into the flower it’s landing on. When you know that you can be limitlessly devout to this artistry of appreciation of the non-people world, you can, using Beauty, the 8th sense, grokkedly gaze upon your life’s scene with “wild surmise” as Keats has Cortez and his men seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time – your heart becomes indigo, glistening, and oceanic.

    The aleph immensity and intensity of each ‘grain of geode sand’ ignites a tenderness and wonder that cannot be tarnished unless your inner hohum imbecile sets out perversely and deliberately to poison your experience with petty and putrid cynicism. Cry “Piffle” unto that lowlife thief and have the discipline to remind it that you have not yet begun to see the sea or whatever you’re perusing.

    It is very important to me to remind us that, with the slightest practice, this deft attention can be as constant as breathing and as given as breathing. Every darn thing which dwells in the many-poem place wants to preen for you. Masterpiece things like trash and topazes and all else are so used to being ignored by the semi-comatose herd that when someone notices in a lively way, it all wakes up and chatters at you like bright green parrots in the rain forest. Anyone who isn’t an animist just isn’t paying attention. It’s all chortling, clucking, caterwauling, whispering. Oh the sly gossip of the wall and of your dirty dishes.

   Certainly the great perception story of all time is Borges’ Funes the Memorious. Funes is shocked that the dog sleeping in the road at 2:15 in the sun-hot afternoon has only one name. It should have a new name at 2:14 pm and at 2:16 pm. It is this Spot Speck Spark dog that makes you sheepish that you thought you’d seen anything and could file it way as ‘seen.’

    Deft attention is the Celtic druid secret. Attention is the treasure. You always carry it with you. You are always rich beyond measure.

    We can name a few kinds of snow if  bestirred, but the Eskimos have twenty-five words for snow because they have seen it more intently and reverently.

    You learn to levitate by being besotted with the masterpiece of reality engineering in which you are immersed. You get so pleased and startled that you simply find yourself rising.



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4 thoughts on “The Lapidary View

  1. Ah, so it is true. You have rocks in your head.
    I've never been sure about the Eskimos having all those words for snow. First, we have a fair number of words for snow too-powder, sleet, corn, hail, flakes, drifts….well you get the idea. Second, no one's ever listed all the Eskimo words for snow, the number keeps changing….because people love the point it makes, but I'm not sure it's actually true. I know one linguist said they didn't really have 25, 32, or whatever the claim is.
    Thanks for taking the time to make me think about how I relate to the “real” vs. the “human”.

  2. It actually doesn't matter if the Eskimos literally have 25 words for snow tho I suspect they do. Go to an art store sometime and look at the tubes of paint. Your idea of colors will radically and rapidly expand.
    The point is that the Eskimos or we should have 2500 words for snow. We need to learn to re-see snow & not be blinded or made complacent by having a word or 25 for something, anything. How do we keep being startled is the epistemological adventure.
    (Epistemology is the study of How do we know?)

  3. I like the idea of 'the sly gossip.' Taking heed of your advice, I've begun to admire my surrounds with a more personal and courtly attention. And you're absolutely right, it definitely does preen.

  4. It's amazing the relief or breather from the human soap opera that heeding all the rest of the world can be.
    It restores the necessary level of wry to take on the dumber aspects of the human hallucination like religion, war, and massive taxes for the uberrich.

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