Orioles live in the elms, and in classical verse the length of the vowels alone determines the measure. Once and once only a year nature knows quantity stretched to the limit, as in Homer’s meter. O this is a day that yawns like a caesura: serene from the start, almost painfully slowed. Oxen browse in the field, and a golden languor keeps me from drawing a rich, whole note from my reed. ~Osip Mandelstam “Summer Solstice” translated from Russian by Stanley Kunitz
Summer is a pause calculated carefully by the Creator — a caesura of daylight so long drawn out, luxurious and indulgent, we forget our need for darkness.
To sleep these short warm nights, we curve inward just as we curled in the womb, floating on the hope and relief cool mornings bring, a rebirth into light.
This love is like the jade flower, A perfect, waxen curl, Embalmed by the sea, Blue-green, Succulent, Arrested in time and space, A swollen cesura Of hope curved back on itself Into fetal consolation. ~Serena J. Fox, “Jade Flower” from Night Shift
On pretty weekends in the summer, the riverbank is the very verge of the modern world… On those weekends, the river is disquieted from morning to night by people resting from their work.This resting involves traveling at great speed, first on the road and then on the river. The people are in an emergency to relax. They long for the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. Their eyes are hungry for the scenes of nature. They go very fast in their boats. They stir the river like a spoon in a cup of coffee. They play their radios loud enough to hear above the noise of their motors. They look neither left nor right. They don’t slow down for – or maybe even see – an old man in a rowboat raising his lines… Wendell Berry in Jayber Crow
I sometimes feel a desperate urgency to relax, the need to get away from every day troubles sticking to me like velcro. But my agenda-filled escape would be too loud, too fast, too contrived instead of a time of winding down, slowing, quieting, observing and wondering.
Life is not an emergency so I must stop reacting as if someone just pulled an alarm. I seek the peace and quiet of nature, settling myself into rhythms of daylight and nightfall, awake and asleep, hungry and filled, thirsty and sated.
So I breathe deeply, and remember in my bones:
a pause to rest is gift enough. It is up to me to make it so, and so then it goes.