Here’s a few thoughts, pix, memes, poems and such concerning God’s natural world for your consideration, starting with this wonderful word about the four seasons from Wumen Huikai, a 12th century Zen master:
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
That’s the kind of stuff that makes me go “Wow!” in such a way I want to get outdoors and never go back indoors again.
And now for a poem–“Thirst”–from that great God-loving child of nature and poet Mary Oliver:
Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past the hour
and the bell; grant me, in your mercy,
a little more time. Love for the earth
and love for you are having such a long
conversation in my heart. Who knows what
will finally happen or where I will be sent,
yet already I have given a great many things
away, expecting to be told to pack nothing,
except the prayers which, with this thirst,
I am slowly learning.
Enlightenment comes from looking at the wilderness, the creation, with eyes of awe. It is a change in perspective. Wilderness is not an enemy to be conquered, but a gift to be loved.
— George Grinnell, “A Death on the Barrens”
“What does it feel like to be alive?
“Living, you stand under a waterfall. You leave the sleeping shore deliberately; you shed your dusty clothes, pick your barefoot way over the high, slippery rocks, hold your breath, choose your footing, and step into the waterfall. The hard water pelts your skull, bangs in bits on your shoulders and arms. The strong water dashes down beside you and you feel it along your calves and thighs rising roughly backup, up to the roiling surface, full of bubbles that slide up your skin or break on you at full speed. Can you breathe here? Here where the force is the greatest and only the strength of your neck holds the river out of your face. Yes, you can breathe even here. You could learn to live like this. And you can, if you concentrate, even look out at the peaceful far bank where you try to raise your arms. What a racket in your ears, what a scattershot pummeling!
It is time pounding at you, time. Knowing you are alive is watching on every side your generation’s short time falling away as fast as rivers drop through air, and feeling it hit.”
― Annie Dillard, An American Childhood
In my storehouse file of old articles, essays, interviews with interesting people I came across this gem of a quote about birds from a “Parabola” interview with Peter Kinsley:
“The famous mystic Rudolph Steiner has said that for the agricultural process to happen, for seeds and plants, and trees to grow, birdsong is absolutely essential. This is a beautiful truth that very few people know.
But we also need to take what he said one stage further, because birds call and sing not only to quicken plants: they also call to awaken the human seed that we are. They are actually singing for our sake as well.
“If we can start to listen to them, really listen, they will draw us into this greater consciousness I have been talking about. They will be our teachers, because nature is able to point us to our inner nature. …
“We are called to be there. When we can listen to what the birds have to say, to what nature has to say, and when we perceive the beauty of nature, then we are completing the circle and returning this physical world to its source through our own consciousness.”
— Peter Kingsley, an excerpt from our interview with him entitled “Common Sense,” Parabola, Spring 2006: ‘Coming To Our Senses.”