Friday, December 5, 2008

What's White, Fairy-like, and Falls from the Sky?

Today is starting out very pleasantly, indeed. I don't have to be at school until noon today, so I slept in, then went to the gym with my friends Diane and Beau. I had an invigorating workout in which I was delighted to see how much my endurance has improved. Feeling invincible, like I usually do after a good workout, I walked outside of the gym and straight into a Korean winter wonderland.

Snow is an infrequent visitor here in Gyeongju, unlike back home where it's more like an intruding in-law that comes for a smothering visit and then never wants to go away until long after everyone is sick of it. Gray skies, another Michigan winter staple, are also infrequent here. For most of my walk home, I was surrounded by large white blossoms, drifting slowly and peacefully around me. Then the sun came out and turned the white fairyland into a sparkling world of miniature rainbows - sorry if my poetic turn nauseates anyone, but it really was spectacular. I don't think I've ever witnessed anything like it.

Sadly, the snow has ceased now, and it's too warm to be hospitable to the flakes that already fell. There is nothing left now of the morning snowfall, other than the memory of it and the peaceful mood it inspired.

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"