Picking a World

One world
Includes airplanes and power plants,
All the machinery that surrounds us,
The metallic odor that has entered words.

The other world waits
In the cold rain
That soaks the hours one by one
All through the night
When the woods come so close
you can hear them breathing like wet dogs.

~ Tom Hennen, “Picking a World” in Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New Poems 


Poem: via See More. Photo by Aleksi Tikka titled Hazy Moonlight (Harinjärvi, Lake in Finland)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

When the night slides under with the last dimming star
and the red sky lightens between the trees,
and the heron glides tipping heavy wings in the river,
when crows stir and cry out their harsh joy,
and swift creatures of the night run toward their burrows,
and the deer raises her head and sniffs the freshening air,
and the shadows grow more distinct and then shorten,
then we rise into the day still clean as new snow.
The cat washes its paw and greets the day with gratitude.
Every day we find a new sky and a new earth
with which we are trusted like a perfect toy…

We are given the wind within us, the breath
to shape into words that steal time…
Yet holy breath still stretches our lungs to sing.
We are lent for a time these minerals in water
and a morning every day, a morning to wake up,
rejoice and praise life in our spines, our throats,
our knees, our genitals, our brains, our tongues…

We are given passion to rise
like the sun in our minds with the new day
and burn the debris of habit and greed and fear.
We stand in the midst of the burning world
primed to burn with compassionate love and justice,
to turn inward and find holy fire at the core,
to turn outward and see the world that is all
of one flesh with us, see under the trash, through
the smog, the furry bee in the apple blossom,
the trout leaping, the candles our ancestors lit for us…

Let silence still us so you may show us your shining
and we can out of that stillness rise and praise.

~ Marge Piercy, from “Nishmat in “Available Light


Notes: Poem – Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: Marta Navarro

Let’s just say…Wow. (28 sec)


Back story here: How Drones Are Helping Scientists Study and Protect Endangered Whales (Thank you Christie!)

 

Sunday Morning

Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and
makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
spirit, some small god, who abides there.

If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
continuously.
I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this
holiness, which is why I’m so often late coming
back from wherever I went.

Forgive me.

~ Mary Oliver, “Forgive Me” in Blue Horses


Sources: Poem – Thank you Whiskey River. Photo – Lichen by Mathieu Noël

Sunday Morning

Sunday was another fine clear day. No wind to speak of, and the fall colors in the valley sparkling in the sunlight. Small white-breasted birds hopped from one branch to the next, deftly pecking the red berries. I sat on the terrace, soaking it all in. Nature grants its beauty to us all, drawing no line between rich and poor. Like time—no, scratch that, time could be a different story. Money may help us buy a little extra of that.”

~ Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore: A Novel. (October 9, 2018)


Photo: Paula W with chaffinch

SuperPod! (80 sec)

Patrick Webster, who has lived near Monterey Bay for 11 years, is no stranger to sea creatures. But this week was the first time he saw the ocean “come alive,” he said.  About 1,000 dolphins were racing along the shore in a “superpod,” jumping in and out of the water while chasing baitfish. “It was one of the most amazing experiences to see the water be alive with squeaking and splashing dolphins,” Webster said. “They’ll hop up and take a look at you, and you can see they’re checking you out.” The dolphins led the boat to several whales that were lunge feeding and bubble netting, which occurs when whales blow bubbles around a school of fish to trap them. The dolphins swam in and out of the whales’ feeding area, picking up their leftovers, making for a spectacular show that Webster captured on video. “They were just going to town,” Webster said. “It’s a super big deal to see so much wildlife all in the same spot…. For the animals, it’s probably just a regular day.”

(Source: Hundreds of dolphins race along Monterey Bay in ‘superpod’, Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2018)

When Eve walked (among them)

When Eve walked among
the animals and named them –
nightingale, red-shouldered hawk,
fiddler crab, fallow deer –
I wonder if she ever wanted
them to speak back, looked into
their wide wonderful eyes and
whispered, Name me, name me.

Ada Limón, “A Name” in The Carrying: Poems (August 14, 2018)


Ada Limón, 42, is an American poet. She was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry.  In an interview by Suzannah Windsor in April 21, 2014 in Compose Journal, Ada Limón: “My grandfather on my father’s side was from San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico. He crossed the border as a child in 1917 after his family’s land was confiscated by Pancho Villa’s troops during the Mexican revolution. I was not raised in a bilingual family. My grandfather rarely spoke Spanish even. He worked hard to assimilate into U.S. culture, growing up in a foster family, and eventually graduating from college. I have always identified with Mexican culture, but like many of us, I am not only one thing. I’m many things. I’m Irish, and Scottish, and German too. Part lion. Part dragon. Depending on the day…My confession: most of my poems are autobiographical. The strange, twisty narrative of the inner voice, the voice underneath the voice, is always what fascinates me and keeps me writing… I suppose, in my life, I’ve never done things the ordinary way. I’m either deep in the bottom of the well or nowhere near water.”  Her new book, The Carrying: Poems was published this month. (Unrelated Photo above by Yishuwang)

Miracle. All of it.

The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale. It weighs more than seven tons. It’s as big as a room. It is a room, with four chambers. A child could walk around it, head high, bending only to step through the valves. The valves are as big as the swinging doors in a saloon. This house of a heart drives a creature a hundred feet long. When this creature is born it is twenty feet long and weighs four tons. It is waaaaay bigger than your car. It drinks a hundred gallons of milk from its mama every day and gains two hundred pounds a day, and when it is seven or eight years old it endures an unimaginable puberty and then it essentially disappears from human ken, for next to nothing is known of the the mating habits, travel patterns, diet, social life, language, social structure, diseases, spirituality, wars, stories, despairs and arts of the blue whale. There are perhaps ten thousand blue whales in the world, living in every ocean on earth, and of the largest animal who ever lived we know nearly nothing. But we know this: the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs, and their penetrating moaning cries, their piercing yearning tongue, can be heard underwater for miles and miles.

Brian Doyle, from “Joyas Voladoras


Notes:

  • Photo: Frank Brennan with “Blue whale nursing its calf just off Dana Point” via Orange County Register
  • 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.

Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird’s heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird’s heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladoras, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.

Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come close to death: on frigid nights, or when they are starving, they retreat into torpor, their metabolic rate slowing to a fifteenth of their normal sleep rate, their hearts sludging nearly to a halt, barely beating, and if they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be. Consider for a moment those hummingbirds who did not open their eyes again today, this very day, in the Americas: bearded helmet-crests and booted racket-tails, violet-tailed sylphs and violet-capped woodnymphs, crimson topazes and purple-crowned fairies, red-tailed comets and amethyst woodstars, rainbow-bearded thornbills and glittering-bellied emeralds, velvet-purple coronets and golden-bellied star-frontlets, fiery-tailed awlbills and Andean hillstars, spatuletails and pufflegs, each the most amazing thing you have never seen, each thunderous wild heart the size of an infant’s fingernail, each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled.

Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles—anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer more heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures than any other living creature. It’s expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.

Brian Doyle, from “Joyas Voladoras


Notes:

  • Photo:Beth with Hummingbird
  • 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.”

 

Lightly Child, Lightly

When I first came out to the country
I knew nothing. I watched
as people planted, harvested, picked
the berries, explained
the weather, tended the ducks and horses.

When I first came out to the country
my mind emptied and I
liked it that way. My mind was like a sky
without clouds, a summer sky
with several birds flapping across a field
on the eastern horizon.

I liked the slowness of things. The empty
town, the lake stillness,
the man I met who seemed contented, who
sat and talked in the dusk
about why he had chosen this long ago.

I did better dreaming then. the colors
were clear. I found something
important in myself: capacity for renewal.
And at night, the sky so intense.
Clear incredible stars! Almost another earth…

~ Lou Lipsitz, from “Blackberry Authorities” in Seeking the Hook


Notes:

  • Photograph: (via Maybe You Need This). Poem via 3 Quarks Daily
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

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