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.”

 

Where she goes, they follow. All 76 of them… She’s the Mom of the Year.

Where she goes, they follow. All 76 of them. A female duck in Minnesota has about six dozen ducklings in her care, a remarkable image that an amateur wildlife photographer captured on a recent trip to Lake Bemidji, about 150 miles northwest of Duluth, Minn.

“It was mind blowing,” the photographer, Brent Cizek, said in an interview. “I didn’t know that a duck could care for that many chicks.” It’s not unusual to see many ducklings gathered together. Some 20 or 30 have been reported with a single hen. But 70-plus? “It’s an extraordinary sighting,” said Richard O. Prum, an ornithologist at Yale University…

Mr. Cizek said he first stumbled upon the brood in late June, when he headed out to the local lake in an eight-foot plastic boat he bought to fuel his outdoor photography. He said he wasn’t expecting to take many pictures that day — he brought one camera and one lens — but then he saw the duck and her babies.

He began snapping photos while trying to steer in choppy water. He rushed home to look at his camera roll, he said, and found that only one image turned out: the duck, who is being called Mama, blazing the way for the long line of ducklings in her wake.

“It kind of compels you just to look and wonder: How?” Mr. Cizek said. “How did this happen? How is this mom taking care of all of these ducklings? She just looks really proud and stoic in the photo.” [Read more…]

Lightly Child, Lightly

“Living in the forest, I feel the presence of many ‘treasures’ breathing quietly in nature. I call this presence ‘Shizuka.‘ ‘Shizuka‘ means cleansed, pure, clear, and untainted. I walk around the forest and harvest my ‘Shizuka’ treasures from soil. I try to catch the faint light radiated by these treasures with both my eyes and my camera.

In Tao Te Ching , an ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu wrote, ‘A great presence is hard to see. A great sound is hard to hear. A great figure has no form.’ What he means is that the world is full of noises that we humans are not capable of hearing. For example, we cannot hear the noises created by the movement of the universe. Although these sounds exist, we ignore them altogether and act as if only what we can hear exists. Lao-tzu teaches us to humbly accept that we only play a small part in the grand scheme of the universe.

I feel connected to his words. I have always sensed that there is something precious in nature. I have an impression that something very vague and large might exist beyond the small things I can feel. This is why I started collecting ‘Shizuka’ treasures. ‘Shizuka’ transmits itself through the delicate movement of air, the smell of the earth, the faint noises of the environment, and rays of light. ‘Shizuka‘ sends messages to all five of my senses.

Capturing light is the essence of photography. I am convinced more than ever that photography was created when humans wished to capture light.”

~ Masao Yamamoto, “Shizuka (Cleanse)


Notes:

  • Masao Yamamoto (61), is a Japanese freelance photographer, who blurs the border between painting and photography, by experimenting with printing surfaces. He dyes, tones (with tea), paints on, and tears his photographs. His subjects include still-lives, nudes, and landscapes. He also makes installation art with his small photographs to show how each print is part of a larger reality.
  • Photographs by Masao Yamamoto with “unknown” and “untitled” via the Artstack.com
  • Quote via Memorylandscape
  • 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.”

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.”

She addresses the cedar

She addresses the cedar, using words of the forest’s first humans. “Long Life Maker. I’m here. Down here.” She feels foolish, at first. But each word is a little easier than the next. “Thank you for the baskets and the boxes. Thank you for the capes and hats and skirts. Thank you for the cradles. The beds. The diapers. Canoes. Paddles, harpoons, and nets. Poles, logs, posts. The rot-proof shakes and shingles. The kindling that will always light.” Each new item is release and relief. Finding no good reason to quit now, she lets the gratitude spill out. “Thank you for the tools. The chests. The decking. The clothes closets. The paneling. I forget. . . . Thank you,” she says, following the ancient formula. “For all these gifts that you have given.” And still not knowing how to stop, she adds, “We’re sorry. We didn’t know how hard it is for you to grow back.”

~ Richard Powers, from “Patricia Westerford” in The Overstory: A Novel (April 3, 2018)


Notes:

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