nature

A Stillness of Voice and Body

A Stillness of Voice and Body

"This is something you do find in Quaker meetings, actually, and in Buddhist meetings as well. The whole herd, and that may be 50 animals, will suddenly be still, completely still. And it's not just a stillness of voice, it's a stillness of body."

~ Katy Payne

The Important Thing

 Leonard Mlodinow, from "Randomness and Choice," OnBeing with Krista Tippett, April 30, 2014:

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.

Dandelion seeds are dispersed by the wind.


See also: "Stochasticity," Radiolab

Eating Light

Self Help 
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.


See also: Why Not Start Apprenticing Now? and Seattle Woman Naveena Shine Drops Attempt to Live on Light

Astonishing

"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

Yosemite HD II from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

See also: McPherson, A. (2014, March 9). Stunning time-lapse video shows rare views of Yosemite. National Geographic Society

How Little it Takes

Weeping European Beech, Topiary Park, February 9, 2014

Sabbaths 1999, VII
by Wendell Berry, from Given 

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.

The sky
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
not quite.

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

Green River, Utah (August 2013) by Paul Kolesnickoff

It is Enough
by Anne Alexander Bingham

To know that the atoms
of my body
will remain

to think of them rising
through the roots of a great oak
to live in
leaves, branches, twigs

perhaps to feed the
crimson peony
the blue iris
the broccoli

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.

Questions

Topiary Park, January 11, 2014

Topiary Park, January 11, 2014

Sometimes
by David Whyte

Sometimes
if you move carefully
through the forest,

breathing
like the ones
in the old stories,

who could cross
a shimmering bed of leaves
without a sound,

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests,

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
and

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

questions
that can make
or unmake
a life,

questions
that have patiently
waited for you,

questions
that have no right
to go away.


Signpost

Field Guide
Ballets, Erica Braumby 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.
That's all.

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.