The nicest states have no name…

and trying to pin such contentment down one usually wanders into negation – not so much what it is felt as what isn’t felt. What on earth do we mean when we say what a nice day? It would take years to say – or maybe nice is nothing unpleasant.

Nice states are full of emptiness,like vacations. Nothing is missing. Nothingness becomes a presence. Get trapped into wanting it to go on forever – and it vanishes! Niceness short-circuits the passage of time, but only briefly and most discreetly.

The absence of desire is peace, said the philosopher. Needn’t assume the lotus position either to get the message: be here now. Went out of fashion, I know. Goes to show how dumb fashion is.

Stretched out with one hand behind my head, I am very very much here and it’s definitely now. I can just make out the crinkly cracks in the ceiling, that strange overhead floor, that other world where, in dreams, we walk upside down – no particular odors, no sacred sounds: no birds or crickets or beloved music.

I am not imagining that I am lying on the bank of some lazy river of summer holiday, gazing up through the green lacework of some willow…yet I feel just as peaceful, just as pleased just as nice. True, there is the question of light. There is always the question of light. Crates are magical in the right light. My favorite is the one I have time to enjoy on weekends: illumination on the threshold of color seen through a partially open door floating in from the hall, soft and gentle.

I have always liked being in rooms lit not at all from within. Not just a matter of degree of brightness, but of its source. I’ve never liked night lights; they compound the surrounding darkness rather than alleviate it. What I am liking is just lying dressed on a made bed in a light that would permit me to sleep or allow my thoughts to wander at least half awake.

What I like is hall light, a light that in its slants seems almost to be in motion, as if the light from the next room were on its way to this one, were coming to visit. Sometimes it seems to be – perpetually – just arriving on the doorsill. Not timid exactly. Let’s say unassuming yet friendly. How nice.

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