the stones that pilgrims kiss

Student of Theology, New York City.

I long to be free-desperately free. Free as the stillborn are free.

—Emil Cioran, The Trouble with Being Born.

Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple and the Virgin of the Burning Bush, Russian, c. 1598.

Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple and the Virgin of the Burning Bush, Russian, c. 1598.

Hamlet and Ophelia, Mikhail Vrubel, 1883.

Hamlet and Ophelia, Mikhail Vrubel, 1883.

Moses, Mikhail Vrubel, 1884.

Moses, Mikhail Vrubel, 1884.

Madonna and Child, Mikhail Vrubel, 1884.

Madonna and Child, Mikhail Vrubel, 1884.

Six-Winged Seraph, Mikhail Vrubel, 1905.

Six-Winged Seraph, Mikhail Vrubel, 1905.

Demon Seated in a Garden, Mikhail Vrubel, 1890.

Demon Seated in a Garden, Mikhail Vrubel, 1890.

Of my mad years the vanished mirth and laughter
Affect me like a fume-filled morning-after.
Not so past pain-like wine is it to me
That as the years go by gains potency.
Sad is the path before me; toil and sorrow
Lie on the restless seaways of the morrow.

And yet from thought of death, my friends, I shrink;
I want to live - to suffer and to think,
To taste of care and grief and tribulation,
Of rapture and of sweet exhilaration;
Be drunk with harmony; touch fancy’s strings
And freely weep o’er its imaginings…
And love’s last flash, its smile of farewell tender
My sad decline may yet less mournful render.

—Aleksandr Pushkin

India.

India.

Arrangement in Gray: Portrait of the Painter (detail), James Abbott McNeill Whistler, c. 1872.

Arrangement in Gray: Portrait of the Painter (detail), James Abbott McNeill Whistler, c. 1872.

Arrangement in Gray: Portrait of the Painter, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, c. 1872.

Arrangement in Gray: Portrait of the Painter, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, c. 1872.

Breakfast, Édouard Vuillard, 1894.

Breakfast, Édouard Vuillard, 1894.

Colorado.

Colorado.

France.

France.