Relationships matter

Relationships matter

Saint-Exupery highlights the essentials of life revealed at the moment of death.  A reminder to be conscious of the mesh of relationships binding us to life, while we live.  And I would expand the notion to include our relationships to places and other species. When...
Life as miracle

Life as miracle

Attributed to Einstein, this gives us two clear-cut approaches to life.  Babies and small children seem more alive to the miraculous but a challenge for adults is that of both seeing the world as it is, tragedy and all, while maintaining that miraculous sense. Or, to...
Life as a reprieve

Life as a reprieve

In the day to day whoosh of things to do and deal with, we may be conscious of our time being limited on a daily or hourly basis, but often forget the bigger time limit, life itself.   The grandmother of the French artist Françoise Gilot reminds us that life is a...
This is my life

This is my life

A succinct testimony to a life aligned with its owner. Rebanks has also spent decades trying to align farming in an industrialised, globalised context with his values and the demands of sustainability.  Despite the pressures, he easily concludes he wouldn’t...
And life is…

And life is…

This poem, ‘Into Battle’, was written in 1915 by an officer serving in the First World War, Julian Grenfell.  It was published in The Times the day after his death from war wounds. The poems draws on different threads of life as providing strength to the...
Man has a long time to go

Man has a long time to go

Some wise words from Aaron Copland to a young Leonard Bernstein.  They maintained a close friendship and correspondence for decades, and I like the advice.  It reminds me of a word from a father to a daughter in an American novel: ‘Slow down, Ivy, slow...
Bursting the boundaries

Bursting the boundaries

A wonderful comment on life – you can come up with as many fine formulae as you like, it will sooner or later defy our clever definitions. Life always bursts the boundaries of formulas. Part of me says, ‘Thank goodness’. For other comments on this...
Leaning into the light

Leaning into the light

The candour of this statement struck me, and also reassured me that my own paltry attempts at living a ‘moral and compassionate existence’ are no worse than can be expected of an average human in a human world.  I accepted very young that questioning is...
Grab hold of life

Grab hold of life

This year has seen a surfeit of old people whose hold on life has slipped.  Hoyle is an ornery character but one who nevertheless has the spirit of nuannaarpoq, partly by turning a health problem to good use: easily out of breath when he walks, he just walks more...
A matter of infinite concern

A matter of infinite concern

As Seamus Heaney describes it, this is a ‘heavenly father’ who makes wonderful use of the quality of omnipotence, by drawing on his boundless attention, energy and bandwidth to cherish every fallen sparrow, egg or other fragile life form, through all...
We are love, we are

We are love, we are

Recently found a scrap of paper with a list of 1960s-1980s progressive rock and similar bands.  I believe I may have jotted them down in a conversation with one of my brothers during which we were revisiting songs we listened to at the time.  To show you how young I...
Young and younger

Young and younger

A wonderful, playful evocation of youth remembered, in heaps and piles, years, decades and even centuries later. But keep in mind one definition of age; that of ‘accumulated youth’. There, don’t you feel younger already? ‘I was very young in...
What’s the point?

What’s the point?

The eternal question. We can’t know what the point is, nor even if there is one.  But in so far as we may need to believe that there is a point to it all, I liked the response given by the writer Philip Pullman: more consciousness, by whatever creative or benign...
Life burning with a free flame

Life burning with a free flame

A marvelous description by Mervyn Peake of a life lived authentically. I see this kind of genuine free flame burning in the lives of people who are working in a field or in a manner attuned to their values and inclinations, rather than being just a means to earn a...
All in one nuannaarpoq description

All in one nuannaarpoq description

In this wish-list John Keats, English poet and nuannaarpoq award winner No. 3 (according to this website), covers quite a few building blocks of happiness. Noteworthy is his mention of ‘health’ early on, given that it was illness that cut short his...
Life!

Life!

This quotation from Thoreau’s journal struck me, particularly as soon after I came across what seemed a perfect riposte to the question it raises, featured here, by a poet writing a few decades earlier, John Keats. ‘Life!  who knows what it is, what it...
A mansion of many apartments

A mansion of many apartments

I found this expansive metaphor for life moving, particularly coming from a man who grabbed as much of it as he could before it was snatched from him by illness and premature death.  It also struck me as a suitable response – or riposte – to a question...
Life as luminous halo

Life as luminous halo

This quotation has haunted me for some time, poetically conveying the numinous thread of life; it’s particularly touching given the mental illness that hounded Virginia Woolf and eventually drove her to suicide. I found some packing tape which has the second...
Of life and the world

Of life and the world

This expansive quotation comes from a wonderful novel by Mia Couto, in which a father tries to escape his past by isolating himself and his children from the world, even when this means brutally clipping their young wings.  Among other things he forbids them to read...
Living a full life

Living a full life

What a wonderful affirmation – and invitation – to start inventing, if you haven’t already. Invent to your heart’s content and may your life be full to the brim, in the best possible way. This line is a reflection on the fully lived nine decade...

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