Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mycology


On the day I took this photo, I was using my new smartphone. Taking it on a test run before a big trip coming up. 
  
As you see, the sun was bright (unlike today, which began with rain and then stopped raining and began to sullenly "gray" at us instead).  

But the screen was so reflective and dark that I couldn't even see the image in it. I just hoped I was framing this sole oak leaf caught in a net of pale grass. 

That's what much of life is like—like those blind photos I was taking, I mean—you can't see ahead of time what the outcome will be. You just line up your shot, click the shutter and hope for the best. 




Look at that moss growing greenly! It does my curmudgeon heart good to consider it today, even at a remove, through such a poor simulacrum of life as a digital image. 



As usual, the spring rode in on the wings of red-winged blackbirds, and is unfolding in the woodlands, where bloodroot and skunk cabbage now grow. I know because I see others' photos and posts in my Facebook stream, tracing their botanical wanderings. 

I, however, have been indoors all week. Struggling with technology, glued to screens following primaries and caucuses, Netflixing, reading The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin (a novel that's especially interesting now, in light of the stark competition for the soul of America playing out in our national campaigns and among Americans overall). 



This is how I'm feeling: Unsettled, fragmented, restless, dull. Discontented, bored, exasperated, excited, intermittently hopeful; ready to surprise myself. 



Magic's happening somewhere. Maybe like those bloodroots, buried deep beneath the soil, only shyly and slowly emerging into this inhospitable grayness. 

Why do I suddenly have the image of a mushroom in my head? 

I feel more a sort of humble fungi than that invisible leaf caught in grasses. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

So early in the spring


Early in the springtime, my lungs need oceans of air. [an everlasting wash of air.]



A huge expanse of sky, where eagles circle...where human eyes can rest on a vast vault of wind-washed blue softened by cloud.

(Do you see her up there, the glorious winged one? Did she hear me speak to her in praise as I moved below, so small and large-hearted through the wildlands?)



Trammeled by months of dimness, small screens, small rooms, small gaze—so close to warmth of hearth, breathing the small air of home—my mind rests on these broad sweeps of land.

The particular beauty of trees on a rise that I have loved for my whole life without ever tiring of their speaking branches, of their shapes curving against the sky, so individual in their ways, complete in themselves.




Before I am ready, I come up against a boundary. [Then the good minute goes.]

It sends my thoughts racing ahead, worrying against peace's edge. Once the boundary-less becomes bound, my large breath begins to shrink...until the wind rattles the grasses, the red-winged blackbirds chirr, and there I am again, back to where I stand.



If you live in a place where the ground does not freeze, then you miss the pleasure of the thaw—that receptive, bodily feel of the earth under your foot yielding once more to your weight, a sensation you may not have even realized you had lost until it is restored to you. It reminds you that the earth is your beloved.


How fair you are, young birch sisters, I think.


Red-osier dogwood, bright kinnikinnick, you that the native peoples honored, I send you good greetings.


O oak-crowned hill, do you feel the reverence with which I approach you? Maybe the rustle of your leaves as I pass is for me.  



On this day, you feel once again in conversation with this earth, like catching up with a relative you have not spoken with for many months, though you were sometimes lonely.

It is more than walking on. Together you walk, reunited.

[Two in the campagna.]

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