There is a Thich Nhat Hanh quality in this Walt Whitman poem. We find the extraordinary in the ordinary, what we often overlook and take-for-granted in our daily lives. When we open our senses more fully, we take in the world we live in in more intimate and sensous ways.
Monthly Archives: July 2018
David shared a wonderful poem by Mark Nepo. It reminds us life is not something to plan. Life is something we live. We exist in a state of flux and float in the breeze like a bird trusting the currents of the stream.
We took these pictures in Glacier National Park. It reminds me how nature just exists. There are no plan as such and no purpose than to be in a paricular moment. The waterfall does not care that we build roads and drive on them. It just flows.
Kindness is something we can give without expectation of return.
Wendell Berry is one of my favourite poems. Today, I began reading Alan Watts’ The Wisdom of Insecurity, which was published in 1951. It could just have easily been published today and for today’s world. In the poem, Berry suggests nature is a place where we can find some solace. Here, we can live in the moment and find peace. Watts makes a similar case for living in the moment. It is there we fcan discover wisdom and insights into the world.
Wendell Berry, as do many other poets, understand nature as a place to dwell and be. This does not mean we have to leave in the country. There is beauty that surrounds us in large cities. Sometimes, we take that beauty for granted, but it is in the ordinary we discover the extraordinary.
“The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
― Wendell Berry, The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry
The other night, we watched a re-run of the Montana episode of Parts Unknown hosted by the late Anthony Bourdain. I enjoy watching the series and this episdoe about Montana drew to it as we have visited Montana several times.
Bourdain ate with a poet I had not heard of before: Jim Harrison. He spoke about being part of nature and how he feels small under the big sky of Montana. I looked him up and felt I should have heard of him before. He was a celebrated and well-published poet.
I chose this poem as it speaks to how we create binary choices in a complex world and universe filled with a myriad of choices that we follow depending on the spirit. For example, we often think we have to separate the economy and the environment.
The etymology of economy is from the Greek, oikos, meaning household and suggests keeping a good house. We only have to think about animals and how they do not soil their living quarters to understand how economy and ecology are related.
Harrison created wonderful imagery about the sky being a door never closed, but the sun and moon are not doorknobs. He lived in Montana for years where the sky is big and stretches on, as does the land.
I had to look up Dersu Uzala. It was a movie made about a man who lived his life integrated with nature and the universe, who dies when he moves inside.
I’m trying to create an option for all
these doors in life. You’re inside
or out, outside or in. Of late, doors
have failed us more than the two-party system
or marriages comprising only one person.
We’ve been fooled into thousands of dualisms
which the Buddha says is a bad idea.
Nature has portals rather than doors.
There are two vast cottonwoods near a creek
and when I walk between them I shiver.
Winding through my field of seventy-seven
large white pine stumps from about 1903
I take various paths depending on spirit.
The sky is a door never closed to us.
The sun and moon aren’t doorknobs.
Dersu Uzala slept outside for forty-five years.
When he finally moved inside he died.
I took this picture several years ago as I looked from Alberta towards Montana across the field, with fresh bales of hay in the forefront and the mountains and sky forming the backdrop.