Sunday Morning

First blossoms.

Seeing them extends my life seventy-five more years.

~Matsuo Bashō, “haiku 96”, from “Reading Basho with My Ten Year Old” in Paris Review, April 29, 2020


Notes:

  • Photo: DK on Run This morning. 6:11 am.
  • Matsuo Bashō, born 松尾 金作, was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. He is recognized as the greatest master of haiku. He was born in 1644 and died in 1694

Spring

And the scent of mock orange
drifts through the window.

How can I rest?
How can I be content
when there is still
that odor in the world?

Louise Glück, from “Mock Orange” in The Triumph of Achilles 


Notes:

One Tiny Beautiful Thing

Paying attention to what is happening in Washington is a form of self-torment so reality altering that it should be regulated as a Schedule IV drug. I pay attention because that’s what responsible people do, but I sometimes wonder how much longer I can continue to follow the national news and not descend into a kind of despair that might as well be called madness. Already there are days when I’m one click away from becoming Lear on the heath, raging into the storm. There are days when it feels like the apocalypse is already here.

Except it isn’t, not really. Not yet. One day when the relentless rains let up for a bit, I went to the park an hour before sunset to walk on the muddy trails and take a break from the bad news. The woods were as lovely as they ever are after a rain: the creeks full of rushing water, the gray bark of the fallen trees slick with moss. Above the trail, the limbs of the living trees creaked in the rising wind, the kind of sound that makes your heart ache for reasons too far beyond words to explain. Though the forest understory is already beginning to green up, weeks too soon, the towhees scratching for insects stirring in what’s left of last fall’s leaves were not in any way sorry about the early arrival of spring.

A few hundred yards on, my eyes caught on a tree I hadn’t noticed when I was walking in the other direction. About seven feet up the trunk was a knothole, a place where a limb had long ago broken off and let water in to rot the wood. Perhaps a woodpecker had helped to deepen it, too, and given the water more purchase over time. The hole was small, a dark grotto in the thickly grooved bark of the stalwart oak, a hiding place that reached far into the mass of that old tree, and the failing light deepened its darkness. Who knows how many miniature woodland creatures have crept into its crevice over the years to nest, to shelter from the wind and rain, to hide from predators — or to wait for prey.

But a creature lurking inside it is not what singled this knothole out among the hundreds, even thousands, I had passed on the path as night came on. What caught my eye was a cluster of tiny seedlings colored the bright new green of springtime, so bright it seemed to glow in the gloaming. The tender plants were growing in the loam inside the knothole. Far above the ground, a hole made by decay in a living tree had become a cold frame, a natural greenhouse that lets in light and keeps out frost. Life in death in life…

Instead of giving up something for Lent, I’m planning to make a heartfelt offering. In times like these, it makes more sense to seek out daily causes for praise than daily reminders of lack. So here is my resolution: to find as many ordinary miracles as a waterlogged winter can put forth, as many resurrections as an eerily early springtime will allow. Tiny beautiful things are bursting forth in the darkest places, in the smallest nooks and deepest cracks of the hidden world, and I am going to keep looking every single day until I find one.

~ Margaret Renkl, from “One Tiny Beautiful Thing” (NY Times, Feb 23, 2020)


Photo: Mohan Bhat

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Outside I could hear a spring robin, a melancholy sound more searching than song to me.

~ Jessica Francis Kane, Rules for Visiting 


Photo: Robin singing

Truth

This is the blessing for the first garden tomato:
Those green boxes of tasteless acid the store
sells in January, those red things with the savor
of wet chalk, they mock your fragrant name.
How fat and sweet you are weighing down my palm,
warm as the flank of a cow in the sun.
You are the savor of summer in a thin red skin.

Marge Piercy, from “The Art of Blessing the Day” in The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme. © Knopf, 1999.


Notes: Photo – Katharine Hanna with Organic vine-ripened tomatoes. Poem – A Year of Being Here

If it rains, carry an umbrella, if it’s cold, wear a jacket.

As soon as the snow melts the grass begins to grow. Even
though the daytime high is barely above freezing, even
though May is very like November, marsh marigolds bloom
in the swamp and the popple trees produce a faint green
that hangs under the low clouds like a haze over the valley.
This is the way the saints live, no complaints, no suspicion,
no surprise. If it rains, carry an umbrella, if it’s cold, wear
a jacket.

~ Louis Jenkins, “Saints” from “Just Above Water: Prose Poems


Notes: Poem: Thank you Beth @ Alive on all Channels.  Photo: Marsh Marigold in Swamp via nature preserves

Saturday Morning

I am going to try to pay attention to the spring.

I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees.

I am going to close my eyes and listen.

~ Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith


Notes: Quote via risky wiver. Photo: By our very own Kiki! Taken on 10 years ago on this day on May 4th, 2009. What a coincidence!

Miracle. All of it.

Spring has finally arrived, and it makes me smile every time I step outside. New green leaves are pushing themselves into the sunlight as plants build the solar panels that will fuel them throughout the year. The first spring flowers are already in bloom, and a bright showcase of cheerful rainbow color is rapidly replacing the gray-brown palette of late winter.

I love the constant small surprises as new flowers appear. But each new sighting makes me wish for a superpower: the sort of expanded vision that could show me all the colors these flowers have to offer. Human beings can see some of them, and birds and bees can see a little more. But the potential range of invisible colors is mind-boggling, and science is only just starting to get a grip on it.

Our color vision is neatly summed up in our perception of a rainbow, sweeping from red, the longest wavelength of light that our eyes can detect, to violet, the shortest. But we can’t detect each shade individually; in order to make sense of this continuous spectrum of colors, we use a clever shortcut. Our eyes have three types of cone cell that respond to different colors—red, green and blue. Our brain figures out how much of the light that we see falls into each category, and it recombines that information to construct the myriad colors that we register. It is both beautifully efficient and frustratingly crude…

~Helen Czerski, from Colors That Only Bees and Birds Can See


Notes:

  • Photo: Spring Flowers by Paul.
  • 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.”

Spring

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

E. E. Cummingsfrom “Spring is like a perhaps hand” in The Complete Poems: 1904-1962


Notes: Poem – Thank you Whiskey River. Photo: Floating by Chris A (Ain, Rhone-Alpes, France)

Saturday Morning

Many an hour I spent there lying in the grass; it was so quiet and mysterious—the only voices were those of the leaves and the birds. But I never saw the place clothed in such beauty as I did that spring. Like me, the bees had already gone out into the meadow, and now they wove and hummed in and out of the myriad violet flowers which burst open in a blue lustre from grass and moss. I gathered them and filled my pocket handkerchief; it was as if I was enchanted, in the midst of the fragrance and sunlight.

Theodor Storm, (1817-1888) from A Quiet Musician, The Lake of the Bees


Notes: Quote via a-quiet-green-agreement. Photo: Chris A with Field.Always ( Ain, Rhone-Alpes, France)

%d bloggers like this: