Winter: Tonight: Sunset
by David Budbill
Tonight at sunset walking on the snowy road,
my shoes crunching on the frozen gravel, first
through the woods, then out into the open fields
past a couple of trailers and some pickup trucks, I stop
and look at the sky. Suddenly: orange, red, pink, blue,
green, purple, yellow, gray, all at once and everywhere.
I pause in this moment at the beginning of my old age
and I say a prayer of gratitude for getting to this evening
a prayer for being here, today, now, alive
in this life, in this evening, under this sky.
(“Winter: Tonight: Sunset” by David Budbill, from While We’ve Still Got Feet. © Copper Canyon Press, 2005.)
The most important hour is always the present; the most significant person is precisely the one who is sitting across from you right now; the most necessary work is always love.
~ Meister Eckhart
Life is political, not because the world cares about how you feel, but because the world reacts to what you do. The minor choices we make are a kind of vote, making it more or less likely that free and fair elections will be held in the future. In the politics of the everyday, our words and gestures, or their absence, count very much.
~ Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
I have come to understand my spirituality as an ongoing internal lyrical state of consciousness, semi-consciousness and unconsciousness in which I find meaning, comfort, refuge, inspiration, mystery and strength.
It seems more like the dreaming of my inner child’s creaturely heart than my rational mind – although they are both interwoven. It is somewhat like music. It is like nature. It offsets the influence of my worried contemporary self or the hard speedy material world that would overwhelm me if it were not for this nourishing sense of otherworldliness, and the lyrical wisdom and feeling that arises there in my spiritual self.
With spirit, one is able to have and hold many feelings, and live a felt life. The spirit supports and negotiates between our feelings, instincts and intuitions. It is good at conflict resolution. It supports our prophetic vision and our creativity. With spirit and feeling we may find a way through the darkness.
~ Michael Leunig, Spirituality, Art & Innocence
Like leaves in the autumn or wood in the fire, all things pass. But, there is a moment in which we can see things as they are.
~ Sandra Hannebohm
IT IS EASY to dismiss the magical world as just a fairy tale belonging to childhood or old tales, to maintain that what we need at this moment more than ever is hard science, that carbon reduction and loss of biodiversity are our most pressing concerns. And yes, there is important work to be done reducing our industrial imprint, restoring wetlands and wild places. But if we do not remove the rational blinkers from our consciousness, how can we respond to the deeper need of the moment and recognize that we are part of a fully animate world? If we are to become partners with the Earth, living our shared journey, we have to once again speak the same language, listen with our senses attuned not just to the physical world but also to its inner dimension. We cannot afford to continue to dismiss so much of our heritage—the thousands of years we were awake to an environment both seen and unseen.
~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Emergence Magazine, excerpted from Where the Horses Sing
Joanna Macy writes that until we can grieve for our planet we cannot love it—grieving is a sign of spiritual health. But it is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
by Burton D. Carley
I do not know if the seasons remember their history or if the days and
nights by which we count time remember their own passing.
I do not know if the oak tree remembers its planting or if the pine
remembers its slow climb toward sun and stars.
I do not know if the squirrel remembers last fall’s gathering or if the
bluejay remembers the meaning of snow.
I do not know if the air remembers September or if the night remembers
I do not know if the earth remembers the flowers from last spring or if
the evergreen remembers that it shall stay so.
Perhaps that is the reason for our births—to be the memory for
Perhaps salvation is something very different than anyone ever expected.
Perhaps this will be the only question we will have to answer:
“What can you tell me about September?”
…And, gratitude is the same thing as not taking for granted. Really it’s all part of the via positiva that the mystics talk about. Awe, wonder, gratitude. And, I think we as a species today, we have to ingest this in a deeper way. I think during previous moments in history or eras of history, we were more grateful. I think our secularizing of life has taken things for granted. However, science and the new creation story from science — I mean, 13.8 billion years has brought us here, each of us and all the species that we know — ups the ante on gratitude to know that this is a pretty surprising event that we call the Earth, and the human species, and the rest.
So, yeah, I think when that really seeps in, the new creation story from science, I think a lot of awe, wonder, and gratitude will rise. But we don’t have much time for that seeping to happen. So I think that’s part of the rattling of the cages we have to do today is to take in the new creation story and then draw conclusions from that about how fragile and special this Earth is and our species is.
~ Matthew Fox