Great Question

solitude,wonder

…the world did not have to be
beautiful to work.
But it is.
What does that mean?

~Mary Oliver, in an NPR Interview – A Thousand Mornings


Notes:

The Caring Hand

tree-hand-sculpture

The Caring Hand” is a sculpture located in Glarus, Switzerland.


Source: Splitterherzen

 

Come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?

earth

I so was fascinated by this opinion piece in yesterday’s paper that I have shared all but a few sentences from the article by Eric Metaxas, Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God:

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 21 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon…As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing.

What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed….Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.
[Read more…]

No stopping it now

black and white

I once read of a climber who, while clinging to the face of a climb thousands of feet above an alpine valley, said he could feel the earth turn under his hands. And I have read that a person with patience could move an aircraft carrier tied at a dock by leaning long enough against its side to get it started, knowing that once it began to move there’d be no bringing it back, and it came to me that the earth behaves like that, steadily moving out into time under the common pressure of billions of hands.

No stopping it now.

~ Ted Kooser, December. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Credits: Photograph – boulderporn

 

Sunday Morning: Clouds

photography

I’ve always loved looking at clouds. Nothing in nature rivals their variety and drama; nothing matches their sublime, ephemeral beauty. If a glorious sunset of Altocumulus clouds were to spread across the heavens only once in a generation, it would surely be amongst the principal legends of our time. Yet most people barely seem to notice the clouds, or see them simply as impediments to the “perfect” summer’s day, an excuse to feel “under the weather.”

Gavin Pretor-PinneyThe Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds


Notes:
  • Photograph: Photograph taken by William Eggleston. During a 1978 road trip from Georgia to Tennessee, Eggleston photographed the sky from the car window using an early instant camera. The resulting images evoked small fragments of classical frescoes. The following day, he lay on the ground and continued to shoot the sky above. “At Zenith” brings together fifteen pigment prints from the Wedgwood Blue cloud series, in which Eggleston takes celestial zenith—the point of sky directly overhead—as his exclusive subject. These meditative images of wispy clouds interspersed with cerulean blue are painterly variations on a universal theme that has inspired artists from John Constable to Gerhard Richter. The photographs represent a broadening of Eggleston’s quotidian subjects—an exploratory, sky-gazing caesura within the lush panorama of his oeuvre.
  • Sources: Photo: Time Lightbox via Radiating Blossom. (Thank you Carol.) Quote Source – Brainpickings

You don’t believe? Not possible.

sequoia-tree-light-sunrise

We live on a blue planet
that circles around a ball of fire
next to a moon that moves the sea,
and you don’t believe in miracles?

~ bohemian-vibes


Photograph: From the Land of Giants. The early morning air in the Grant Grove of giant sequoias in Kings Canyon National Park on Sequoia Road. Photographer: larrygerbrandt. Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom.

Put it back. Put it back.

quartz-arrowhead-rock

By the toe of my boot,
a pebble of quartz,
one drop of the earth’s milk,
dirty and cold.
I held it to the light
and could almost see through it
into the grand explanation.
Put it back, something told me,
put it back and keep walking.

~ Ted Kooser, “On the Road.” Delights & Shadows


 Image Source: Rockpiles

 

Silence of the morning rain

rain

After a long absence,
I put on a record of Bach,
inhale the fragrant earth in the garden,
I think again of poems and novels to be written
and I return to the silence of the morning rain.

— Pier Paolo Pasolini

 


Notes: Pier Paolo Pasolini Bio. Poem Source: YourEyesBlazeOut. Photograph: Jordi Gual via Yama-bato

Ungraspable

galaxy-universe-travel-light


I’m outside with Zeke.
It’s dark. Still. Quiet.
We’re both calm.
I look up.
He’s sniffing.
Yes, I sense it too.
Something bigger, much bigger here.


In quietness,
the sound of eternity
can at times be heard—
the stars somehow closer and
a sense of the earth’s moving.

~ Michael Boiano


Milky Way Fact Source: Thank you Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers

Sunday Morning: The Human


There are places in and around our great cities, where the natural world has all but disappeared. You can make out streets and sidewalks, autos, parking garages, advertising billboards, monuments of glass and steel. But not a tree, or a blade of grass or any animal, besides of course, the Humans. There are lot’s of Humans. Only when you look up straight up through the skyscraper canyons, can you make out a star or a patch of blue. Reminders of what was there long before humans came to be. It’s not hard going to work every day in such a place to be impressed with ourselves. How we’ve transformed the earth for our benefit and convenience. But a few hundred miles up or down, there are no humans, our impact on the universe is nil. In the last 10,000 years, an instant in our long history, we’ve abandoned the nomadic life. We’ve domesticated the plants and animals. Why chase the food, when you can make it come to you? For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. There are now people on every continent and the remotest islands. From pole to pole. From Mount Everest to the Dead Sea. On the ocean bottoms, and even, occasionally in residence two miles up. Humans, like the Gods of old, living in the sky. These days there seems no where left to explore. Victims of their very success, the explorers now, pretty much, stay home.