Cloister Commentary, Day 119: Candles

Yesterday was a trying day, but I managed to vanquish the stress and arrest a darkening mood by focusing on the blessings I was fortunate to be provided by the cosmos, luck, proximity, curiosity, whatever:

A fresh and local cucumber, onion, and tomato salad. Nicole augmented it from an old favorite recipe of Jane’s.

A terrific essay on Halsey’s new album by my oldest freshman (24), who has grown so much as a writer in so little time.

A compilation of the diverse, lively, and clarion-calling songs of Texas singer and picker Blind Lemon Jefferson (I’m listening to it all over again as I thumb this out; also, see below).

A pair of books that made me forget everything but their worlds, one by the underrated Texas music writer Michael Corcoran, entitled Ghost Notes, which explores the work of such Lone Star masters as Arizona Dranes, Joyce Harris, Kenny Dorham, and The D.O.C., the other by multiple-award winner James McBride, Deacon King Kong, which traces the repercussions of a single hazily-conceived violent action on a Brooklyn day in ’69.

A candle. Yes, a candle. I like candles, what of it? This one emitted a ginger scent and it relaxed me while I graded papers. I’m thankful for the chandler who had the idea.

A trip to pick up pet food, groceries, and fresh produce–and drop of three of my mom’s homemade masks, two of her patterns, and three jars of Blue Plate mayonnaise to our friends named Ruffin.

A terrific meal from my former student Sonny Singh’s always-reliable restaurant India’s House. Their cuisine has been a weekly pleasure for us lately.

A simple change in routine: morning in the front room, with the sun coming up through the windows, evening in the “living room,” with a splendid nature video mirrored to the TV and neighborhood fools out of earshot.

A soul mate who kept calm when I was about to go volcanic.

I encourage you to stop today and count the ways you’re lucky if you’re hitting a snag. I concede that some readers may find it more difficult than I did yesterday, but I’m confident some crack in your life is letting light in.

Streaming for survivors:

This music is best appreciated leaning forward just a bit (speaking mentally, at least).

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