Life is a beautiful thing.
Just take it all in and breathe,
~ Creola Johnson
"Bird sounds captured using a digital audio recorder and fed into a computer to activate particle effects."
Someone explained once how the pieces of what we are
fall downwards at the same rate
as the Universe.
The atoms of us, falling towards the center
of whatever everything is. And we don't see it.
We only sense their slight drag in the lifting hand.
That's what weight is, that communal process of falling.
~ John Glenday
When you look at your life, if you had to sit down and think about, and I'm talking about in detail, not just the headlines, if you think about all the details of what happened to you, you will find that there was a time where you had the extra cup of coffee, where if you hadn't, you wouldn't have met Person A.
When I look back in my life, I could find so many instances like that. And I had fun tracing some of them. And the course of your life depends on how you react to those opportunities and challenges that the randomness presents to you.
If you're awake and paying attention, you will find that things happen. They might seem good, they might seem bad but the important thing is how you reacted to it.
See also: "Stochasticity," Radiolab,
by Katie Peterson, from T Magazine, April 3, 2014 (read by the poet)
The eye is the lamp of the body so I tried
to make a world where all I ate was light. Butterflies
complete a similar labor in the summer
garden, beating their wings slowly like a healthy
person, the kind of person who runs for fun, could
run from an attacker, eats greens in the same
quantity as the salty meats the storytelling part
of us appears to favor. I couldn’t decide
whether I wanted to stay alive or wanted to go
faster, they appeared to contradict each other, I tried
in all I did to eat light. I left the argument
about the difference between a slave and a servant
on the table though I think what I think is that
consent to servitude is as much a fiction as a butterfly
having a nervous breakdown because of the beauty
of the lavender. The longer your hunger takes
to find a shape the longer you can hold it. Consider the butterfly,
only at rest in the middle of consumption, but even
then practicing for departure, for disappearance,
closing in the middle of the landscape.
Trying to manage a world in which all you eat
is light is difficult. Labor, and the lungs should be like wings
of the butterfly beating, closing, slowly, the moonlight
tensing the edge of each, almost lifting the edge of each
towards the middle distance. So all that I consume
can make me healthy, illuminate my throat
and the interstate of my digestive tract
with what a butterfly’s been swimming in.
"The world—whatever we might think when terrified by its vastness and our own impotence, or embittered by its indifference to individual suffering—of people, animals, and perhaps even plants, for why are we so sure that plants feel no pain; whatever we might think of its expanses pierced by the rays of stars surrounded by planets we've just begun to discover, planets already dead? still dead?—we just don't know; whatever we might think of this measureless theater to which we've got reserved tickets, but tickets whose lifespan is laughably short, bounded as it is by two arbitrary dates; whatever else we might think of this world—it is astonishing."
~ Wisława Szymborska, from "The Poet and the World," Nobel Lecture, December 7, 1996
See also: McPherson, A. (2014, March 9). Stunning time-lapse video shows rare views of Yosemite. National Geographic Society.
Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.
With the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowlyfalling, and is pleased.
It is Enough
by Anne Alexander Bingham
To know that the atoms
of my body
to think of them rising
through the roots of a great oak
to live in
leaves, branches, twigs
perhaps to feed the
the blue iris
or rest on water
freeze and thaw
with the seasons
some atoms might become a
bit of fluff on the wing
of a chickadee
to feel the breeze
know the support of air
and some might drift
up and up into space
star dust returning from
whence it came
it is enough to know that
as long as there is a universe
I am a part of it.
by David Whyte
if you move carefully
through the forest,
like the ones
in the old stories,
who could cross
a shimmering bed of leaves
without a sound,
to a place
whose only task
is to trouble you
but frightening requests,
conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.
Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
to stop what you
while you do it,
that can make
that have patiently
waited for you,
that have no right
to go away.
by Tony Hoagland, from Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty
Once, in the cool blue middle of a lake,
up to my neck in the most precious element of all,
I found a pale-gray, curled-upwards pigeon feather
floating on the tension of the water
at the very instant when a dragonfly,
like a blue-green iridescent bobby pin,
hovered over it, then lit, then rested.
I mention this in the same way
that I fold the corner of a page
in certain library books,
so the the next reader will know
where to look for the good parts.
"Beauty and seduction are nature's tools for survival, because we protect what we fall in love with. It opens our hears and makes us realize we are part of nature and that we're not separate from it."
~ Louie Schwartzberg