Tuesday, November 28


The life we forget to live is our own. The craft most urgently needed is to attend life's unfolding with the same care as one has for the borrowed lamp on the living room table. It is priceless and must be returned in a while. It is a beauty (born the same day love was conceived) that stops the eye, even as nicks of time appear--a devil wind spilling it, overzealous polishing, a child's ball. That craft finds a way to love what comes, with joy or sorrow. Never forced or contrived, it remains in a fluid state. Never consumed, it is deprived of nothing, but rather increased, by its object. It remains forever in the background, a penumbral glow to the dawn and dusk of experience.

This craft, of love, of urgency, is that of real desire. Desire lives in the absence of its fulfillment and grows fuller. Since what it seeks can never be won, desire moves restlessly about, "a mighty hunter, and a master of device and artifice" (Plato, Symposium). Most energetic in a still moment of existence, its ceaseless pursuit of that which lives beyond--Life--nourishes the world. Its transit of the space of its longing opens a heart to what there is. A faintest glimpse of its object intensifies yearning, loosening bonds of petty thoughts and vain appetites. What is this craft, and how does a householder practice it? He carefully wipes dust from the window each morning to let the sun in. Shining through, the sun illuminates the care with which the home is kept.

-- David Appelbaum Everyday Spirits