Miracle. All of it.

I used to live in Tucson, Ariz., and like Mr. Atkins I came to love the Sonoran Desert. The magic of the place, for me, is the way its sparsity makes it legible. It’s easy to identify the few shrubs and cactuses and to witness the drama of survival in their struggle to plant roots and retain water. The changes of the seasons are visible in bird migration patterns and the sensational periods of desert flowering. You can always gain your bearings once you know that the saguaro cactus grows more densely on the southern side of the hills and that you can estimate the recent rainfall by studying whether the ocotillo has dropped or regrown its leaves. When the fauna chooses to be visible, you have an unobstructed view. Whereas forests and mountains are overwhelming in their tangled profusion, the desert teaches an elementary class on nature’s rhythms to anybody who cares to attend.

Mr. Atkins communicates some of this in his book’s loveliest episode, when, while living in southeast Arizona, he gets lost on a solitary hike and stumbles into a rare moment of revelation. Anxiously trying to find his way back to the trail, and menaced by a threatening rattlesnake, he suddenly spots a single cottonwood tree beside a small brook—“the place that had been my destination all along, though I hadn’t known it was there.” In silence he watches a “small cyclone of cadmium-yellow butterflies” and a pair of eagles circling overhead. In this place of emptiness, of danger and derangement and death, he has been shown a secret about the miracle of life.

~ Sam Sacks, a Review of ‘The Immeasurable World by William Atkins’ Solitude in the Sand. Journeys in Desert Places. (July 26, 2018, wsj.com)


Notes:

  • Photo: Olivier Reynes Photography with Saguaro
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

 

Sunday Morning

I find myself walking softly on the rich undergrowth beneath the trees, not wanting to crack a twig, to crush or disturb anything in the least — for there is such a sense of stillness and peace that the wrong sort of movement, even one’s very presence, might be felt as an intrusion… The beauty of the forest is extraordinary — but “beauty” is too simple a word, for being here is not just an esthetic experience, but one steeped with mystery, and awe… Standing here…I feel part of a larger, calmer identity; I feel a profound sense of being at home, a sort of companionship with the earth.

~ Oliver SacksThe Island of the Colorblind


Notes:

  • Quote Source: Brainpickings
  • Photo: Pine trees stand forming a forest near Briesen, Germany, on Thursday. Brandenburg’s forests produce sustainable wood resources of roughly a million cubic meters. (Patrick Pleul, wsj.com, January 11, 2018)

What if I were to wish upon a blood moon


The blood moon eclipse, the longest this century, as seen from the eastern Turkish city of Tunceli on Friday. (Bulent Kilic, Agence France-Presse, wsj.com, July 28, 2018).  Post title from: dominic riccitello

 

Miracle. All of it.


It must be a great disappointment to God

if we are not dazzled at least ten times a day.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Good Morning” in Blue Horses


Notes:

  • Photo: good4thesoul (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Who can forget the small, symmetrical thrill


Consider the beer can. It was beautiful – as beautiful as the clothespin, as inevitable as the wine bottle, as dignified and reassuring as the fire hydrant. A tranquil cylinder of delightfully resonant metal, it could be opened in an instant, requiring only the application of a handy gadget freely dispensed by every grocer. Who can forget the small, symmetrical thrill of those two triangular punctures, the dainty pfff, the little crest of suds that foamed eagerly in the exultation of release?

– John Updike, from “Beer Can” in Assorted Prose


Notes: Photo – vinepair. Quote: via Swiss Miss

You suck the slice, toss the rind, skate away.


Notes:

Miracle. All of it.

7:45 am. Yesterday morning. X-ray reviewed. Referral made to Oral Surgeon: “Young guy, really good, my patients really like him.” I return home and wait for phone to ring.

How long has it been? 6 months? 9 months? A year? Same dentist is grinding down the jagged edges of a broken wisdom tooth, bottom left. “You should get it pulled. It’s only going to get worse.” The answer was reflexive: “No.” Somebody wanted it there. It’s been there for more than 50 years. ‘Til death do us part. A small grin builds from left to right, as if to say: “Have it your way.” Yes, your patient is the same guy who refused teeth whitening, the crown-replacement, the mouth guard for night-time teeth grinding and anything but the basic maintenance program.

So it was. My tongue started working on the foreign. The new. The crack. The edges. The gap. Sliding over and around the edges, into the crevice, into a pocket, a repository for nubs of pistachios, bitty kernels of popcorn and hard corners of raisins – working to remove what the brush and floss failed to accomplish.

Months later, this thing turns to a low throb, exacerbated by my latest food obsession, crunchy granola. By the bags. Upper and lower teeth hammering on the hard grains, nerve endings pressure tested.

Then comes the Night. The low throb turns to a searing pain, the left ear aching and can’t bear to hold a 1/2 oz ear bud to pipe in a podcast, a playlist or any form of distraction.

[Read more…]

with no one to tell

Today, from a distance, I saw you,
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.

— Ted Kooser, “After Years,” Solo: A Journal of Poetry, Spring 1996


Photo: Supernova remnant is the spectacular remains of an exploded star, located about 190,000 light-years away. The expanding multimillion degree remnant is about 30 light-years across and contains more than a billion times the oxygen contained in the Earth’s ocean and atmosphere…We see the remnant as it was about 190,000 years ago, around a thousand years after the explosion occurred. The star exploded outward at speeds in excess of 20 million kilometers per hour. (Image Credit – NASA via Anne’s Astronomy News)

Miracle. All of it.

You tell yourself not to build things up, not to expect too much, to be sensible, rational, balanced. But you have never had a talent for those things and, besides, your biology, your body is singing a different song, a distracting, absorbing, joyous tune: your blood capacity rises, pulsing along your veins, your breasts swell, like dough, out of your bras, the muscle and capacity of your heart increases, your appetite hears the call, responds to demand, and you find yourself in the kitchen at midnight, contemplating crackers and fish paste, grapefruit and halloumi.

Your imagination keeps pace with your teeming body: you picture a girl, a boy, perhaps twins, because there are numerous twins in your family, both identical and fraternal— your own father is one. It will be blond, it will be dark, auburn, curly-haired. It will be tall, it will be petite. It will look like its father, you, its brother, a melange of all three. It will love painting, pole-vaulting, trains, cats, puddles, sandboxes, bikes, sticks, the building of towers. You will take it swimming, you will rake leaves and light bonfires, you will push it along the seafront, you will tuck it into the basket its brother used. You tell yourself not to be stupid enough to buy anything, but then you pass, in a shop, a knitted rabbit in soft blue wool, with a yellow ribbon and a startled, quizzical expression. You reverse, you hesitate, you pick it up. Quick, while no one is looking. You picture yourself placing this rabbit inside a hospital crib, for the child to look at. Of course you take it to the till and you hand over the money, hurriedly, furtively. You carry it home, you wrap it in tissue and you hide it at the bottom of a drawer. When you are alone, you take it out and look at it.

You leaf through name books and think: Sylvie, Astrid, Lachlan, Isaac, Rafael? Who will it be? Who will be coming?

~ Maggie O’Farrell, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (Feb 6, 2018)


Notes:

  • Photo – Softmomma
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Miracle. All of it. (100 sec)


Notes:

  • NASAEarthObservatory. Published on Dec 19, 2017. NASA’s Operation IceBridge flew for the ninth year over Antarctica to map the ice. This video features photographs of land ice and sea ice, shot with a handheld camera and with the Digital Mapping System (DMS), during IceBridge flights in November 2017.
  • Post Inspiration: Aruni Nan Futuronsky: “I realize in this moment that there is no deprivation here in my life. This moment of my growth is one of inclusivity. I am old enough now to give myself full permission to integrate it all. To savor, to pick and choose, to put it all together. Not without feelings, not without disappointment and grieving, not without hope and possibility yet it is all sacred. It is all inevitable. All these streams of influence, all these rivers of practices and feelings and perspectives. I get them all. I get to turn; I get to change. I get to continue to choose what touches me and what grows me, continually building on the platform of who I am.” (Thank you makebelieveboutique.com)
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