“So I think about the valley. And it occurs to me more and more that everything I have seen is wholly gratuitous. The giant water bug’s predations, the frog’s croak, the tree with the lights in it are not in any real sense necessary per se to the world or to its creator. Nor am I. The creation in the first place, being itself, is the only necessity, for which I would die, and I shall. The point about that being, as I know it here and see it, is that, as I think about it, it accumulates in my mind as an extravagance of minutiae. The sheer fringe and network of detail assumes primary importance. That there are so many details seems to be the most important and visible fact about the creation. If you can’t see the forest for the trees, then look at the trees; when you’ve looked at enough trees, you’ve seen a forest, you’ve got it. If the world is gratuitous, then the fringe of a goldfish’s fin is a million times more so. The first question—the one crucial one—of the creation of the universe and the existence of something as a sign and an affront to nothing, is a blank one. I can’t think about it. So it is to the fringe of that question that I affix my attention, the fringe of the fish’s fin, the intricacy of the world’s spotted and speckled detail.”
Annie Dillard : from “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”
The past four weeks we have received 4.3 in. of rain. The river through town remains muddy, turbulent as it moves logs and rocks downstream and builds islands upstream . . . well above mean flow. We have had a high of 82˚F and a low of 36˚F. The cottonwood bloomed with the later second cresting of the river, sending their duff over the trails, and the hills are green.
On my run last week I came upon a recently fallen hawk. Still warm and breathing I carried it off the trail and laid it in a bed of grasses. I stopped and sat with it . . . then carefully folded its wings and left it to die in quiet, undisturbed I guess. Suddenly it opened its eyes, large yellow eyes and looked at me, opened its talons. I placed some flowers over it and said a prayer, the hawk had more lifetime left, cut short by a power line. But, not unlike Jefffers hawk, was asking my help to die off the trail, in peace and solitude.
The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,
The wing trails like a banner in defeat,
No more to use the sky forever but live with famine
And pain a few days: cat nor coyote
Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons.
He stands under the oak-bush and waits
The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom
And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it.
He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse.
The curs of the day come and torment him
At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head,
The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes.
The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those
That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.
You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him;
Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him;
Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying, remember him.
I'd sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk;
but the great redtail
Had nothing left but unable misery
From the bone too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved.
We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom,
He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening, asking for death,
Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old
I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.
What fell was relaxed, Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what
Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising
Before it was quite unsheathed from reality.
Robinson Jeffers | The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers: Poetry 1903-1920, Prose, and Unpublished Writings
“Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our private world”
“If you're trying to be miserable, it's important you don't have any goals. No school goals, personal goals, family goals. Your only objective each day should be to inhale and exhale for sixteen hours before you go to bed again. Don't read anything informative, don't listen to anything useful, don't do anything productive. If you start achieving goals, you might start to feel a sense of excitement, then you might want to set another goal, and then your miserable mornings are through. To maintain your misery, the idea of crossing off your goals should never cross your mind.”
John Bytheway : How to Be Totally Miserable
“The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections.”
The moveable feast needed to be fixed to a date and so there are the Meridiana Lines and pinholes in the ceilings of churches like the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice . . . light, the movements of the earth and sun, and spring. It was careful observation of a pinhole of light across a meridian line that allowed Johannes Kepler to understand that the planets in our solar system move in ellipses, not circles.
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
“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.”
Albert Einstein | Unconfirmed
“Geographer Gilbert F. White, according to his biographer in Living with Nature’s Extremes (2006), attributed this to Einstein in his Journal of France and Germany in 1942. Maybe so; but all he does is invoke “Albert Einstein said”. He says nothing about how he knows this, when or where it might have been said, whether he heard it directly or through a friend, or what the context may have been. With the preponderance of misattributions to Einstein being as large as it is, this is not a good sign. There is no striking reason to assert that Einstein couldn’t have said this; but there is also no striking reason to assert that he did.”
Spring flow on Heron’s Island :: Clark’s Fork of the Columbia :: Downtown Missoula, Montana
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
Three Things To Remember
As long as you’re dancing, you can break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending the rules.
Sometimes there are no rules.
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
The view from the east window into the canyon.
“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
Elizabeth Gilbert | Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Sunrise run along the ancient Glacier Lake Missoula shoreline above Missoula.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
out and about by the railroad tracks
our Christmas tree this year
“We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light.”
Hildegard von Bingen l from Selected Writings
Christmas Shirts and Ties
“So this is winter – and what remains of the world now that autumn has left us, gone underground with the once luminous grasses and the husks and seeds of all the left-behinds. This is the cold season. Learn to endure it.”
Laura Lush | “Winter,” The First Day of Winter
“Inside the river there is an unfinishable story and you are somewhere in it and it will never end until all ends.”
Mary Oliver | “What Can I Say,” Swan: Poems and Prose Poems
“What matters is precisely this; the unspoken at the edge of the spoken.”
Virginia Woolf | from a diary entry, 21 July 1912
“Always go too far, because that’s where you’ll find the truth.”
Just a few more times to run in the valley. I made a nice circumambulation this morning, 7 miles and stop’d to watch the mists lifting effortlessly off the fields and dance away. Mid-sixties with little savings and no jobs we are nevertheless blessed with many strengths, even a nice studio space, and faith that the Joy and deLight and the miracle of life and beauty will cary us on.
“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.” Albert Einstein
“At root, there is simply no way of separating self from other, self-love from other-love. All knowledge of self is knowledge of other, and all knowledge of other knowledge of self. I begin to see that self and other, the familiar and the strange, the internal and the external, the predictable and the unpredictable imply each other. One is seek and the other is hide, and the more I become aware of their implying each other, the more I feel them to be one with each other.”
Alan Watts, The Joyous Cosmology
“Love one another or you perish . . . . We have reached a decisive point in human evolution, at which the only way forward is in the direction of a common passion, a ‘conspiration.’” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone." Thomas Merton from Thoughts in Solitude
- alley life
- earth events
- meena the cat
- morning piece
- national park
- open space