Standing in a Stream of Timelessness

Issue 5 | The Summer of The Pause

“Rather than going for the high moment of drama, the high moment of the erotic, the high moment of the extraordinary, poetry will choose the small moment of pause just to look at what’s really happening, to look at a few layers deep and to let that small pause, that ordinary moment, open up with all the fullness of its being to us.”

Pádraig Ó Tuama

Each day, we move through a landscape threaded with “streams of timelessness” — portals that transport us to a quality of aliveness that is quieting and yet bubbling with vitality. On Being guest James Prosek finds his entry through fly fishing. Even if you’ve never cast a line yourself, you may recognize this stream as James describes it in this week’s offering, in how it washes all else away. Here are just some of the ways it’s entered by a few of the humans behind The Summer of The Pause:

Our editor, Amy, slips in through the familiar gait of a long run along the Mississippi River, a stillness inhabited through motion. Lilian, our art director, finds it in her ritual of brewing coffee — the smells, sounds, precision of measurement, and literal flow pauses everything around her. And our production assistant, Kayla, discovers this in reading as the lines between reality and fiction melt away and subconscious worries find ease through a fresh plot line and pacing.

Whether your own entry is an accidental stumble or a disciplined step, may it carry you to a source that replenishes, and returns you to the fullness of your being.


Generative Question
Inspired by James Prosek

What activity gives you the sense of “standing in a stream of timelessness”?


However you experience this in summer months — as a hobby, a ritual, a project — invite us in with a short video or photo. If you’re on Instagram, post a glimpse into your world — mentioning @onbeing and using #StreamOfTimelessness.

Then meet us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter next week, where we’ll share back some of these moments.

Go Deeper: A playlist for your week

Listen to the full episode with James Prosek as part of your weekly pause, and dive in with more immersive voices from On Being and Poetry Unbound. Click here to save these episodes and listen later.

James Prosek is an artist, fly-fisher, author, and environmental activist who has always, as he puts it, found God “through the theater of nature.” From a young age he has been fascinated by trout and now eel – which he sees as “mystical creatures” – and he’s captured them literally and artistically, by way of both angling and paint. We explore the sense of meaning and mystery he has developed along the way, including his concern with how we humans limit our sense of other creatures by the names we give them.

In this unsettled moment, we’re returning to the shows we’re longing to hear again. Among them is this 2019 conversation with writer Ross Gay. The ephemeral nature of our being allows him to find delight in all sorts of places (especially his community garden). To be with Gay is to train your gaze to see the wonderful alongside the terrible; to attend to and meditate on what you love, even in the midst of difficult realities and as part of working for justice.

A poem about blossoms that is not only about blossoms. Li-Young Lee remembers a glorious day when he and a companion bought peaches; peaches that had come from blossoms. And in the taste of peaches, the brown paper bag they came in, sold by a boy at a bend in a road, the poem tells us — again and again — that sweetness, yearning and generosity is possible, on all kinds of days.

Letterpress art by Myrna Keliher.

We explore a topic our listeners have called out as a passionate force and a connector across all kinds of boundaries in American culture: running. Not just as exercise, or as a merely physical pursuit, but running as a source of bonding between parents and children and friends; running as an interplay between competition and contemplation; running and body image and survival and healing.

Be sure to meet us here next week for a telescopic view to end our summer series (with a peek at what lies beyond…). See you then ✨

From all of us at On Being, with love.




Illustrations by Stephanie DeAngelis


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