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.)
Nothing can be loved at speed, and I think we might be looking at the loss of love in the world due to the increased velocity of ordinary life; the loss of care, skill and attention enough to ensure the health and happiness of each other and the planet earth. It is a baffling problem and governments seem unable to recognize it, or do much about it at present. To put it as a bleak modern metaphor, there may be moments when we feel we are all aboard an airliner being flown into a mountainside by the unstoppable forces of an incomprehensible madness. Now seems like a good time to talk about spirituality, art and innocence.
~ Michael Leunig, When I Talk to You
by David Wagoner
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
…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
Droughts especially appear to have accompanied the spirits of the dead in bee-form, and for this reason the honey offering was almost always customary in rain-magic, and the power of predicting rain was attributed to the bee.
~ Hilda M. Ransome, The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore
Farmers depend on honey bees to pollinate ninety different fruits and vegetables, from almonds to lettuce to cranberries to blueberries to canola—nearly $15 billion worth of crops a year.
~ Hannah Nordhaus, The Beekeeper’s Lament
It’s not enough to love something–or someone. Of course you love a person or art or music or the theatre. But you have to imagine that this person or this thing is trapped in a house afire, and the fire is apathy, and the fire is ignorance, and you have to go into the house all the time, day after day, year after year, and put out the flames and save the thing you love and rebuild the house in which it lives, and show it to others who will come to the rescue when you no longer can. Love is cheap and silly–a moron can love ice cream–but devotion is something worth talking about.
–Eva Le Gallienne
By opening up our heart then, the blessings come in. If our hearts are closed, then, like they say, like the sun is shining, but if you close all the shutters and the curtains, then the room is dark. If you open it up, then the sun is always there. It will lighten you if we open up to it. So from the Mahayana point of view, the whole universe is filled with blessings. All we have to learn how to do from our side is to learn how to develop that quality of openness and devotion and trust in order for those blessings to percolate into our own heart.
~ Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
To perceive the world through other senses is to find splendor in familiarity, wilderness in one’s backyard, the sacred in the mundane.
~ Ed Yong