“We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.
Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day – the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?
It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.
When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.
In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.”
~ Mark Nepo
“The enchantment of the sky, ever changing beauty almost ignored. Beyond words, without fixed form, not to be understood, or stated. It ravished away dullness, worry, even pain. It graces life when nothing else does. It is the first marvel of the day. Even when leaden grey it is still a friend, withdrawn for a time.”
~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, Measure of My Days
Image Credit: Natgeo
Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in a laboratory with Dr. Boas and he was talking to me and a group of other people about religion, insisting that life must have a meaning, that man couldn’t live without that. Then he made a mass of jelly-like stuff of the most beautiful blue I had ever seen — and he seemed to be asking us all what to do with it. I remember thinking it was very beautiful but wondering helplessly what it was for. People came and went making absurd suggestions. Somehow Dr. Boas tried to carry them out — but always the people went away angry, or disappointed — and finally after we’d been up all night they had all disappeared and there were just the two of us. He looked at me and said, appealingly “Touch it.” I took some of the astonishingly blue beauty in my hand, and felt with a great thrill that it was living matter. I said “Why it’s life — and that’s enough” — and he looked so pleased that I had found the answer — and said yes “It’s life and that is wonder enough.”
~ Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
Quote Source: Brain Pickings - Life Is Like Blue Jelly: Margaret Mead Discovers the Meaning of Existence in a Dream. Image: Unknown.
Don’t fish? Don’t like fishing? Don’t care about fishing? No worries. This short film is so much bigger than that.
…It’s easy to stay inside when the weather isn’t pleasant. Sometimes convincing yourself to get out is the hardest part. And once you’re out, it’d easy to find an excuse to quit. But there are just some things you can’t see from the inside of your house. Some things you can’t feel and experience from the comfort of your warm home. Things your high definition TV can’t give justice to.
The woods are silent. And the water abandoned by the crowds who surrender to the cold. You fully appreciate the stream you fish, when you see it cycle through all its seasons. The dense thick green canopy is gone. And the stream runs crisp clean and bright. The sun touches water it only reaches a few month a year.
The pain of frozen extremities fades fast when you hook that first fish. And all of the sudden, it all seems worth it. You forget about all of your problems. You forget about the ice in your guides. The frozen hands. The problems at home. Troubles at work. It all fades.
At the end of a cold day of fishing you end up much more thankful than when began. Thankful for the motivation to get up and get out. Thankful for the lessons of the day. Thankful for the fish you may have been blessed with. And thankful to return home to the things outside of fishing.”
Still, for whatever reason—
perhaps because the winter is so long
and the sky so black-blue,
or perhaps because the heart narrows
as often as it opens—
I am grateful
that red bird comes all winter
firing up the landscape
as nothing else can do.
—Mary Oliver, closing lines to “Red Bird,” from Red Bird
Six Mile run. Sixty-two minutes.
*Sylvia Plath: I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery— air, mountains, trees…I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
Related Posts: Running Series. Credit: Thank you Susan for photo of Zeke.
And this post was inspired by this “List of Nice Sounds“
“Shirley and Jenny, two former circus elephants who hadn’t seen each other in 22 years were reunited at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. They recognized each other immediately, and their deep attachment is captured in this video of the reunion. The PBS show Nature published an update on Shirley and Jenny’s lives.” While this story is a bit stale, I was moved by the photograph, the video and the PBS update.
Tatsuo Horiuchi, a 73-year-old Japanese man, created this art.
I said: “Nice.”
Then I checked out some of his other creations.
Then I said: “Very Nice.”
Then I learned how he did it.
Then I said: “Really?”
Then I went back and looked more closely.
Then I scratched my head and said: “Amazing.”
See story here on MyModernMet.
Related Post: Look closely at this. (I mean really closely)
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
One minute of Nature inspirited meditation to start your day.
The Mourning Dove is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds. It is also the leading game bird. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure stems from its prolific breeding: in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods a year. Its plaintive woo-OO-oo-oo-oo call gives the bird its name. The wings can make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing. The bird is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to 88 km/h (55 mph). Males and females are similar in appearance. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents incubate and care for the young. Mourning Doves eat almost exclusively seeds, but the young are fed crop milk by their parents.
Source: Thank you korraled
“Nature is pitiless; she never withdraws her flowers, her music, her fragrance and her sunlight, from before human cruelty or suffering. She overwhelms man by the contrast between divine beauty and social hideousness. She spares him nothing of her loveliness, neither wing or butterfly, nor song of bird; in the midst of murder, vengeance, barbarism, he must feel himself watched by holy things; he cannot escape the immense reproach of universal nature and the implacable serenity of the sky. The deformity of human laws is forced to exhibit itself naked amidst the dazzling rays of eternal beauty. Man breaks and destroys; man lays waste; man kills; but the summer remains summer; the lily remains the lily; and the star remains the star.
As though it said to man, ‘Behold my work. And yours.”
Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist. He is considered one of the greatest and best known French writers. In France, Hugo’s literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). He was not only revered as a towering figure in literature, he was a statesman who shaped democracy in France writing and supporting the major political, social and artistic causes at the time. Hugo’s wish was to be buried in a pauper’s coffin. While this wish was granted, he was nevertheless, on his death in 1885, voted a National Funeral and was buried as a national hero in the Panthéon. It is estimated that at least two million people followed the funeral procession.
Hugo left five sentences as his last will to be officially published :
- « Je donne cinquante mille francs aux pauvres.
- Je veux être enterré dans leur corbillard.
- Je refuse l’oraison de toutes les Eglises.
- Je demande une prière à toutes les âmes.
- Je crois en Dieu. »
- (“I leave 50 000 francs to the poor.
- I want to be buried in their hearse.
- I refuse [funeral] orations of all churches.
- I beg a prayer to all souls.
- I believe in God.”)
“A female Amethyst-throated Sunangel (Hummingbird) sleeps in Peru. It’s likely that this bird is in the early stages of arousal from deep torpor after disturbance. The gaping of the bill might be a way to breath deeply and bring in plenty of oxygen. When they are disturbed in torpor, they try to warm up as quickly as possible and that involves intense shivering. But initially, they are too cold for high-speed muscle action so it’s hard to see the shivering movements. The high pitched squeaking sound it is making is likely a cute side-effect of the gaping for oxygen. The noise is actually a lot more quiet than it seems, for whatever reason my camera picked it up and made it sound a lot louder. This experiment was performed with the guidance and supervision of some of the top experts in tropical ornithology. This bird was not harmed whatsoever, it was fed with sugar water throughout the experiment and was released safely. After the experiment was done, I watched the bird fly away myself, it was fine.”
Deep in the belly of these vermillion walls
Our minds open to adventure and experience.
We squint to the back of our lenses
And down to the tips of our fly lines
Crossing paths and coming together to tell a story.
This place is home to the blood of this land.
An emerald green water full of life, and full of hope.
She’s had a long journey.
Thousands of miles she’s travelled.
Veining her way through rock and crevice.
Rugged and raw to bless us with her fertile waters.
A place painted by Gods and carved by time.
A mighty river and a mighty canyon in the land of the Navajo.
Her currents meander over stone and sand
In a rhythm uniquely her own
Her color unlike anything else
Her glimmer, mesmerizing.
She has a heartbeat.
She dances with the winds and the grass.
She dances with life and we’ve come for what’s beneath it all.
In this box of trickery,
a shimmer of gold.
A subtle twist of thread and wire.
The trout we seek are strong and smart.
A worthy test of our skills.
Our tactics and presentations must be perfect.
The throw of our line must gently lay on the waters’ currents.
This is what we’ve come for, and what we live for.
Our search for the perfect riffle.
The rise of a hungry trout.
Friendships and memories.
This is an unforgettable place,
Where the earth and the heavens come together.
There is life, warmth and beauty everywhere up here.
360 degrees of pure magic.
Around every turn our lens capture the light and the dark of it all.
A Father and Son.
A lone fisherman.
The love for nature and art.
And blurring the lines in between.
We now see life, light and shadow
in a different way than we did before.
And we walk away
without leaving a trace of our modern trappings.
While this gold piece of the natural world
has left an indelible mark
on our all of spirits.
Don’t quit on this short film…
Darren Jew: “I’m fortunate enough to have spent the last 30 years of my life capturing and sharing the marine environments of the world. Of the things that I have photographed in my life, I enjoyed photographing the ocean the most. It’s my love. It’s my passion. The creatures within it. The way the light falls within the sea. To be able to capture that and show people what can be achieved with photography under the water is one of the things I love to do. I’ve been in the water with people that have seen whales for the first time, and their mask has been filling up with tears. It’s been that powerful of an experience. Every swim with a whale is different. I’m still in awe of their power and their grace and their acceptance of me when I’m in the water and what they offer up in terms of photographic opportunities. From a young age I’ve wanted to do exactly what I’m doing now. Every time I get in the water, I remember how lucky I am…I am trying to show images of the moments that are most important to me. The ones that have touched me. The ones that I feel are the most descriptive of the experience that I have when under the sea. Whether it’s 8 or 10 animals dancing in the beautiful sunrays. Or intimate moments with a calf interaction. Being able to share intimate moments with these animals is a real privilege…The thing about the Sea is that it is usually pretty silent. So, to have the sea full of whale song is like nothing else. There is no other experience that I could think of that is like it. It vibrates through your body. Literally, you can feel the sound. It is probably one of the most poignant experiences you can have in the ocean. The best encounters with whales are the ones where they are interested, curious about the swimmers in the water. And they’ll come up – look you in the eye. And that’s quite a profound moment. It’s like no other feeling that I’ve had before…Even after 30 years of seeing these amazing creatures in the ocean, sometimes I still have to remember to take pictures because I’m too busy of being in awe of what’s in front of me.”
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration
What’s that coming?
Kingfisher diving for fish from themetapicture.com
From the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel on the west coast of Florida…
Good Sunday Morning
“Meet Jack English, a 93-year-old legend who lives in a cabin isolated deep in the Ventana Wilderness, located in the Santa Lucia Mountains along the Central Coast of California. While on a hunting trip he learned that an old homestead in the Ventana Wilderness was being put up for auction by the estate of a childless heiress. He put a bid on the property and won. On the land he built a small cabin using materials from the land and milling trees by hand. When his wife passed away, Jack effectively left “society” and moved to the cabin full time.”
More on Jack English @ The Santa Barbara Independent: Jack
Good Sunday Morning
*SMWI = Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration with our baby ostriches.
Source: themetapicture. Thank you Susan.
If you missed my post on my first Harris Hawk experience, it’s worth a peak here. I had a similar awe inspiring experience watching this short 80 second clip. Danny Cooke, director and film maker from the UK, produced this short film of his nephew Sam “who has a fascination and colossal knowledge of Birds. On his birthday, he had the chance to fly a Harris Hawk named Sol.”
“Bubbles, 32, was adopted as a ivory orphan by the Myrtle Beach Safari in 1983. As Bubbles grew over the years, from 300 pounds to 9000 pounds, so too did her love of swimming. In 2007, a contractor hired to build Bubbles a swimming pool, abandoned Bella as a puppy at The Preserve. The river presented these two the opportunity to interact in a way that developed a deep and lasting friendship. Today, they are inseparable.
Bubbles’ family was killed in 1981 by ivory poachers. She was one of the fortunate few that survived the slaughter. Today, tens of thousands of elephants are still be illegally poached for their ivory.”
Thank you Janet.
Ostrich marking its territory. Bird’s got style…
When misfortune confounds us
in an instant we are saved
by the humblest actions
of memory or attention:
the taste of fruit, the taste of water,
that face returned to us in dream,
the first jasmine flowers of November,
the infinite yearning of the compass,
a book we thought forever lost,
the pulsing of a hexameter,
the little key that opens a house,
the smell of sandalwood or library,
the ancient name of a street,
the colourations of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date that we were searching for,
counting the twelve dark bell-strokes,
a sudden physical pain.
Eight million the deities of Shinto
who travel the earth, secretly.
Those modest divinities touch us,
touch us, and pass on by.
‘Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people. In general, Shinto is more than a religion and encompasses the ideas, attitudes, and ways of doing things that have become an integral part of the Japanese people for the better part of 2000 years. The ancient Japanese never divided spiritual and material existence, but considered that both were inseparable, seeing everything in a spiritual sense. Shinto, unlike other major religions, does not have a founder, nor does it possess sacred scriptures or texts. Shinto practices can be roughly summed up by the four affirmations:
- Tradition and family
- Love of nature – The kami are an integral part of nature.
- Physical cleanliness – Purification rites are an important part of Shinto
- Festivals and ceremonies – Dedicated to honoring and amusing the kami”
“Sheryl Crow, 51, has sold over 50 million pop and rock albums. She moved across the country from Los Angeles to Nashville, a place that, according to the title of her new album, “Feel’s Like Home.”…Today, Ms. Crow’s own home consists of a spacious stone mansion, a two-story barn and a church that she bought online for $5,000…
…Ms. Crow’s new songs reveal the singer’s search for a home of her own. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was kind of a soul-searching time for me, and I realized the one thing that I didn’t have in my life was roots.”…For the past seven years Ms. Crow has been in Nashville, where she says there are no paparazzi. Her two adopted sons, Levi and Wyatt, aged 3 and 6, can finally go to school without being photographed.
….Her parents, who have been married for nearly 60 years, raised her in a small town of “churchgoing, hardworking people.” Ms. Crow considers herself a Christian, but she doesn’t subscribe to specific religious rules. That didn’t stop her from buying a dilapidated church on the Internet, which she had shipped to her house and restored near the stables on her property, for her personal use. “Since I was 21, I’ve always had a strong relationship and an everyday, ongoing dialogue with a higher power,” she says. “He or She seems to be most evident in nature, which I guess is why I’m so environmentally driven to preserve what we have around here…”
~ Sheryl Crow. Read full interview in wsj.com: Sheryl Crow Goes Country
“As busy as the world gets, there are still times when things move a little slower. When life is a little simpler. When the local color looks good enough to eat. Welcome to Harvest Time. When Mother Nature puts on a whole new wardrobe. And we look at life in a whole new way. So pull out that favorite sweater and grab yourself a little piece, of Pure Michigan.”
Wonderful 30 second clip that captures the feeling and beauty of autumn.
Good Sunday Morning.