{simple pleasures} perdu + trouvé: lost + found

I suppose if I thought of a metaphysical element, ‘the Good’ to me is what people mean by God: the existence of, the idea of, good. I think of these philosophies as an enormous lake feeding into this thing called The Good. Literature is also a tributary, a smaller one, in this lake. To participate in it is to be close to God.
— Zadie Smith

perdu + trouvé: getting lost means stumbling upon the unexpected, even while visiting + exploring my hometown of chicago. i happened upon the baha'i temple, a domed structure standing 191 feet tall; from afar, its simple poetry moved me. its milky exterior, made of concrete + quartz, is surrounded by immaculately manicured gardens + blue sparkling fountains. this edifice brings to life a lovely place to meditate, to contemplate + to take in the spellbinding details of an architectural marvel, the oldest surviving temple of the baha'i faith.

{simple pleasures} arbres: réflexions et poèmes

In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; 

but they do not lose themselves there, 

they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only:

to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, 

to build up their own form, to represent themselves.

Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.
— Hermann Hesse

réflexions et poèmes: pondering the great work of swiss poet, painter, novelist + 1946 nobel prize laureate hermann hess who so beautifully articulates my own respect + awe of the noble tree:

for me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. i revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. and even more i revere them when they stand alone. they are like lonely persons. not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like beethoven and nietzsche. in their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. 

trees are sanctuaries. whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. they do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

a tree says: a kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, i am life from eternal life. the attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. i was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

a tree says: my strength is trust. i know nothing about my fathers, i know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. i live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and i care for nothing else. i trust that God is in me. i trust that my labor is holy. out of this trust i live.

when we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: be still! be still! look at me! life is not easy, life is not difficult. those are childish thoughts. let god speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. you are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. but every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. home is neither here nor there. home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

a longing to wander tears my heart when i hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. if one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. it is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. it is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. it leads home. every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

so the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts:  trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. they are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. but when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. he wants to be nothing except what he is. that is home. that is happiness.

{simple pleasures} palais de tokyo: modern + contemporary art

What’s the world for if you can’t make it up the way you want it?
— Toni Morrison

palais de tokyo: the artists i've seen on exhibit at palais de tokyo are truly conjuring new worlds of their own + presenting them through all mediums here. some people admire modern art at arm's length, but i wholeheartedly embrace it. this paris museum houses modern + contemporary art, along with some of the best reading nooks in town for book worms like yours truly {bright, bean bag seating upstairs; comfy couches in a quieter milieu downstairs}. le smack is their vibrant in-house cafe, and the outdoor seating area is the place for a great view of the city {effeil tower included} + pups are allowed on the patio. the great minds behind palais de tokyo are now bringing us a bookstore + a new restaurant. open every day except tuesday from noon until midnight. are you ready to explore these brave new worlds?

check it out!

{simple pleasures} ombres et lumières: shadow + light

I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people’s eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.
— Sylvia Plath

ombres et lumières: while it's true, the architecture + the immaculate unpigmented palette against the deep azure sky captured my attention, it was the shadows cast across the visage of this church that truly captivated me. reflected upon its face were the shapes + forms of the town's aged ferris wheel. i've always thought there was something quite magnificentl about shadows.

{simple pleasures} salon de thé: the tea salon

There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.
— Lin Yutang

salon de thé: the quiet morning hours are my favorite time of the day; i like to head out with my camera, stroll solo + get lost {figuratively + literally}. i stumbled across this quiet + compact tea house: a tea salon, café, and a book shop. my cup of tea has a lovely little top floor for a moment of solitude + a bottom floor packed with shelves of old books + new books.

young + old congregate here {this dear little duck heard the click of my shutter + caught me midshot; he gave me a cordial, sideways smile, his mouth filled with bits of freshly baked croissant}; lots of lively chatter among the locals intermingles with a carefully curated selection of blues + jazz tunes spilling from speakers. what a happy discovery.