Natural

 

Beautiful, mesmerizing hyper-lapse images of nature and civilization.  I don’t agree with filmmaker Reid Gower’s argument that because people are part of the natural order everything we make is part of nature.  This film speaks more to me of how fast and out of touch current western civilization is with the larger whole, fast yet dangerously enticing.

Loving the World

Pasture, Conestoga, Ontario

Messenger    by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Universe Is One Place

A little late for a Monday meditation but this is one of my favourite poems by American poet William Stafford.

Universe Is One Place

Crisis they call it? – when
when the gentle wheat leans at the combine and
and the farm girl brings cool jugs wrapped in burlap
slapping at her legs?

We think -drinking cold water
water looking at the sky-
Sky is home, universe is one place.
Crisis?  City folk make

Make such a stir.
Farm girl away through the wheat.

On the Hills

The sunset caught me, turned the brush to copp...

Today I walked on the lion-coloured hills
with only cypresses for company,
until the sunset caught me, turned the brush
to copper
set the clouds
to one great roof of flame
above the earth,
so that I walk through fire, beneath fire,
and all in beauty.
Being alone
I could not be alone, but felt
(closer than flesh) the presence of those
who once had burned in such transfigurations.
My happiness ran through the centuries
in one continual brightness.  Looking down,
I saw the earth beneath me like a rose
petaled with mountains,
fragrant with deep peace.
–  Elizabeth Coatsworth, On the Hills, 1924

Summer Sabbath

These are words from a prose poem from Rev. Kathleen McTigue, minister to the Unitarian Society of New Haven, Connecticut.

Summer Sabbath

Go someplace you haven’t seen before,
where no one knows you, where you don’t think twice
about what to wear, how you look, or who might be watching
as you let your body ease out into the sun and bask, lazy as a cat.

Untether yourself from the engines of busyness, one by one —
laptop, desktop, wristwatch, scribbled lists,
even the telephone,
especially the one you carry everywhere,
the little tyrant.
This will all feel unnatural
but it’s not.
*

Go and don’t think about time:
how much you’ve got left,
how to pass, fill, use or spend it,
whether you might accidentally lose or waste it…

Instead, consider your life —
who you love and why,
how blessed you are to be here, resting
under a shower of birdsong…

You might ponder these things, but you could also let
the whole creaking apparatus of thought come to a halt.
You might surrender, and let the world spill in
through the five gates,
no sentry standing watch,
no one left to resist or defend.

The innermost courtyard stands empty…
a clear fountain singing at the centre.

Scott Fountain Detail

Scott Fountain Detail (Photo credit: Maia C)

The Silence is All There Is

At a certain point you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world’s word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum in the silence…

The silence is all there is. It is the alpha and the omega. It is God’s brooding over the face of the waters; it is the blended note of the ten thousand things, the whine of wings. You take a step in the right direction to pray to this silence, and even to address the prayer to “World.” Distinctions blur. Quit your tents. Pray without ceasing.

Annie Dillard from Teaching a Stone to Talk

The Immense Vocabulary

Being Still by Margaret Hasse

She’s a quiet clapper in the bell of the prairie,
a girl who likes to be alone.
Today, she’s hiked four miles down
ravines’ low cool blueness.
Bending under a barbed wire, she’s in grass fields.
She’s at the edge of the great plains.
Wise to openness, she finds it a familiar place.
Her clothes swell like wheat bread.

When she returns to her parents house,
the foxtails and burrs have come home, too.
The plants seem intent on living in new ground.
She’s the carrier.  “Carrier” is a precision
learned in summer’s biology class.
She likes to think of ripening seeds,
a cargo inside the bellies of flying birds.
Birds like the red-winged blackbirds who skim the air
and land, alert on their cattail stalks.
They allow her a silent manner.
They go about their red-winged business
of crying to each other, dipping their beaks
into the swampy stand of ditch water,
full of the phantom of green.
The stiller she is, the more everything moves
in the immense vocabulary of being.