I visit him a few times downtown
while he paints.
We talk about how he’s going to Spain
for the fall semester
and he shows me a painting he did
and points to this one part,
a bridge, and tells me he thought of me
when he painted it.
It is so sad
how knowing something
can make me so happy.
― Samantha Schutz, I Don’t Want To Be Crazy
Fireworks, Vernon Bridge, Theodore Earl Butler, 1908
I thought of that lost book and all the memories it held and how it was just one of millions of objects in the world loaded with secret history which pass hands until eventually they excite nothing more than mild curiosity or, often, complete apathy. It was like all the sadness and loneliness of life resided in these objects. I realised the moment anything loses its context it becomes a husk.
“The shoes always tell the story,” said the shoe poet.
“Not always,” I countered.
“Yes, always. Your boots, they are expensive, well made. That tells me that you come from a wealthy family. But the style is one made for and older woman. That tells me they probably belong to your mother. A mother sacrificed her boots for her daughter. That tells me you are loved, my dear. And your mother is not here, so that tells me that you are sad, my dear. The shoes tell the story.”
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
The moment you realize that life will hurt more than your death. While existing, we’re forced to become acquainted with sadness. There’s no antibiotic for the ridding of distress, and no alleviation of these intervals of pain we must encounter. Behind our eyes, are all these things: our stories, our dreams, our deficiencies, and our scars.
―Crystal Woods, Write like no one is reading
When gorillas smell danger, they run around and call out to the rest of the primates in the jungle to warn them something evil is coming. And when one of their own dies, they mourn for days while beating themselves up in sadness for failing to save that gorilla, even if the cause of death was natural. And when one colony is mourning, their chilling echoes migrate to other colonies — and those neighbors, even if they are territorial rivals, will also grieve with them. When faced with a common danger, rivals turn into allies. And when faced with death, the loss of just one gorilla becomes the loss of the entire jungle.
–Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
Dedicated to the memory of Chris Welsh, a dear friend and brilliant thinker. Our jungle is filled with howls tonight as you embark on to that journey into the deep unknown. I hope you are delighted as you flow with the current of the universe into mysteries we do not yet understand. Love always.
The Abbey in the Oakwood, Caspar David Friedrich, 1808-1810
Are the days of winter sunshine just as sad for you, too? When it is misty, in the evenings, and I am out walking by myself, it seems to me that the rain is falling through my heart and causing it to crumble into ruins.
“My life is very monotonous,” the fox said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .”
A magpie can be happy or sad: sometimes so happy that he sits on a high, high gum tree and rolls the sunrise around in his throat like beads of pink sunlight; and sometimes so sad that you would expect the tears to drip off his beak.
This magpie was like that.
― Colin Thiele, Magpie Island