Delight Springs

Friday, July 29, 2016

The dailiness of life

"It is out of the dailiness of life that one is driven into the deepest recesses of the self," said Stanley Kunitz, who once had the great satisfaction of tossing a potted plant in the face of his college president. That must have been a revealing moment of self-recognition for him, though it can't have been a daily sort of occurrence.

The "dailiness of life" is habitual, repetitive, ordinary, familiar, a surface phenomenon. It takes a poet, perhaps, fully to experience and chart its corresponding depth. Most of us lose ourselves, our selves, in everydayness. But I think of my daily round of routine as a canvas inviting and awaiting creative response. A page a day, as they say, is a book a year. The creative selves I admire most have submitted and then reveled in the dailiness of life.
Charles Darwin planted a 1.5 acre strip of land with hazel, birch, privet, and dogwood, and ordered a wide gravel path built around the edge. Called Sand-walk, this became Darwin’s ‘thinking path’ where he roamed every morning and afternoon with his white fox-terrier. Of Bertrand Russell, long-time friend Miles Malleson has written: “Every morning Bertie would go for an hour’s walk by himself, composing and thinking out his work for that day. He would then come back and write for the rest of the morning, smoothly, easily and without a single correction.” Gymnasiums of the Mind
Dailiness frees minds and extends lives. "An hour a day keeps death away. An analysis of data from a million people has found that an hour of moderate physical activity a day is enough to cancel out the deadly effect of working at a desk all day."

Stanley Kunitz, philosopher-poet of dailiness, lived for a century. No surprise.

7 am/5:54, 77/83/70, 7:53

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