Monday, December 4, 2017

No further evidence

This morning, as I was crossing a little footbridge, I saw a wet feather lying on the creek bank.

About 30 yards down the trail, I saw another feather.

And a little farther along, yet another.

Finally, underneath a tall pine tree, there were many feathers scattered all around.

I looked up and about, but there was no further evidence.

This is the poem of death.
There is only one
and no other.

Every one is an occasion,
one way or another,
and the last poem is this poem of death.

~ from "The Poem of Death" by Michael Gessner

Photos by BitterGrace

Monday, November 13, 2017


Back again, a full year later. Seems like a century ago. A lot can happen in a year. Or an hour.

Anyhow, I still walk in the woods. It still keeps me as sane as I am capable of being. Yesterday was a somber, gray November Sunday, mild enough for the frogs to be out. Such days always bring back a moment from my childhood—I was about 11, walking by myself along the sidewalk near our house. It was overcast and warm, and I could smell the scent of the fallen leaves that littered the walk. Nothing happened, except that I felt entirely alive. There was no particular ecstasy in the moment, but I was filled with a tranquil sort of wonder.

It occurred to me yesterday that these times are deeply hostile to wonder. Cynicism and righteous anger seem to be the favored states of mind at present. Perhaps they need to be. The trouble is that no one can be an angry cynic and at the same time nurture wonder. The mind is a marvel, but some things are beyond its powers. Entering a state of wonder means stepping away from everything in you that insists on being right, or clever, or injured. It's hard. Or it's as easy as walking along, looking at the leaves.

*Stephen Lyn Bales's collection of essays, Ephemeral by Nature, makes a case for wonder in spite of all the bad news for the planet. You can read my review here.

Photo by BitterGrace