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Art’s nature versus “real” nature

Art’s nature versus “real” nature.

The beauty and perfection of Nature is in its imperfection. It is asymmetrical. Alfred North Whitehead and Albert Einstein suggested whatever we needed to find was in Nature.

Nature has ways of speaking to us and revealing itself when we are present and attentive. Being awake means encountering Nature as part of it rather than outside of it as virtual observers. When we open up all our senses Nature reveals herself readily.

It is in the ordinary we find the extraordinary. Art is a way of expressing Nature through the sensuousness we feel. When I look at art, it is the less than perfect representation that attracts. There is something in the asymmetry that pulls me deeper into my relationship with the world.

482. Spring flowers are long since gone. Summer’s bloom hangs limp on every terrace. ~Louise Seymour Jones

482. Spring flowers are long since gone. Summer’s bloom hangs limp on every terrace. ~Louise Seymour Jones.

Summer in Alberta took a beating this week. It snowed and in some places along the Eastern Slopes it snowed a lot.

I love the seasons and their change. The cycle of life is visible during the various times of the year in Alberta. We move from summer to fall to winter and Nature reveals herself in Her changes. It is in the cycle that Nature’s creativity is fully revealed.

This is the time of the year that farmers and gardeners harvest. It is a time of celebration, community, and gathering together in thankfulness for the gifts we receive. In a world where global interests prevail over the local, we sometimes forget our closeness to Nature and a need to be thankful through prayers, poetry, and Psalms.

Tree of poems (1)

Tree of poems (1).

This post includes the poem written in three languages, English, Roma, and Italian, along with a graphic. The graphic is fuzzy as it should be. Living is like writing a poem. The space between the words mean something and create a fuzziness that perhaps speaks more clearly than the words spoken.

Similar to writing, living is always a process of editing. The stories we tell and the person we are (our whoness and isness) is not fully describable. Memories are incomplete and fuzzy even the moment we step out of this moment. Moreover, can we even know what we missed and did not understand? Living and reading poetry are always happening in the Now. They always take on new meaning as we listen and act again.

Living is an ongoing conversation in the world and with its phenomena. We live in community where our humanness is what provides the common feature between us and Others we are in relationship with. The world presses in on us and is included in the conversation as it helps us make sense of the journey we are on.

The Path

The Path.

This is a short poem which speaks to the humble beginnings each of us lives. Somehow, we occasionally forget these humble beginnings and the idea that each moment is its own humble re-beginning. We live in the most immediate time possible, now.

Taking time and realizing the path is made with each new step is a humbling experience, sometimes humiliating and always human. All these words, humble, humiliate, and human, share a common root, the word humus.

A path made of humus reminds us that there is a cycle to life. Each moment passes into a never fully retrievable history. In each moment, we live our questions when we are mindful and attentive in the world, not as observers. We live in community with the world and all its phenomena, sentient and non-sentient.

Beachcombing

Beachcombing.

Florence Krall wrote about ecotones, those spaces where tides move back and forth across the shoreline always changing them.

Living is an ecotone where we are undergoing continuous change. This poem uses the word exploration in describing the way the world’s fingers reach in and touch us continuously. What are mindful about, awake to, and aware of us the world makes those contacts on our souls?

Humans live in communities of sentient and non-sentient phenomena. Leading takes on a whole new meaning when we think of ourselves as always touching and being touched by this world. It continuously brings new surprises to the fragile ecotone our skin represents.

Enriching the Earth

I spent a few days with my brother on his farm. He is in a space where satellites and towers seem to miss his place. It was nice to chat, reminisce, and laugh. I was not dressed for the farm, but still helped as best as I could. My brother pointed out several times I was setting a new fashion standard with shorts and sandals. I was careful where I walked.

I introduced Wendell Berry’s writing to my brother. Although he is more high-tech, there are qualities about my brother that remind me of Wendell Berry. They are both relatively low tech and understand the need placed on them when they use technology i.e. a car and airplane to do their work and live their life.

Farmers experience the reality of shipping animals. My brother uses Temple Grandin‘s ideas about humane treatment of animals. Good farmers know they put into and take out of the world. In some ways, we have lost sight of the cycle that we are part of in the world. We are spectators and it is easy to criticize. The cycle of life and death is entangled.

When farmers harvest, they return the parts of the plants, the weeds, and the waste into the ecosystem enriching the Earth. Human treatment of the Earth reflects the character of a person. Humaneness extended to Earth, all sentient beings, and inanimate phenomena is an imperative in enriching the Earth.

To enrich the earth I have sowed clover and grass
to grow and die. I have plowed in the seeds
of winter grains and of various legumes,
their growth to be plowed in to enrich the earth.
I have stirred into the ground the offal
and the decay of the growth of past seasons
and so mended the earth and made its yield increase.
All this serves the dark. I am slowly falling
into the fund of things. And yet to serve the earth,
not knowing what I serve, gives a wideness
and a delight to the air, and my days
do not wholly pass. It is the mind’s service,
for when the will fails so do the hands
and one lives at the expense of life.
After death, willing or not, the body serves,
entering the earth. And so what was heaviest
and most mute is at last raised up into song.

 

Daily Reflection and Peace

Daily Reflection and Peace.

We face an important challenge with mindful practice. The article linked above addresses this challenge with questions. Questions are fundamental to being challenged. When I am challenged, I ask questions. I question what is happening and what is making me feel a particular way.

When I read many articles about mindfulness, I find the articles miss the key underlying aspect of mindfulness, being present in the world in ways that improve one’s life and in that improvement the world is continuously becoming a better place. It is not about a corporate bottom line in the way we understand a corporate bottom line. I guess the bottom line is harder to measure. I cann0t apply a number to it, report it to shareholders, and make a banker satisfied. What I can do is ask, “Did I make the world a better place in some way by becoming a better person?”

Can you imagine if 7 billion plus people worked on making the world a better place through their living? That might be a number that is unmeasurable, but that is OK. It would be so big it would not need to be reported. Its quality would speak for itself.

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