Summer seems to have come suddenly this year. I've not even had time to
forget my New Year's resolutions, and the summer months are already here.
This time of year always seems to offer a much needed opportunity to slow
down, take stock, and listen to what your life may be trying to tell you.
It's also a good time to catch up on reading, which, incidentally, was
one of my resolutions.
Three things in my "to be read or re-read" pile on the outer
reaches of my desk drew my attention recently. The first is from Walt
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of
And the tree-toad is a chief-d'oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue,
And the mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.
is a portion of a book review by Fran Shaw, Ph.D., that appeared in the
magazine Parabola...Myth, Tradition, and the Search for Meaning.
The book, Singing to the Sound: Visions of Nature, Animals and Spirit,
was written by Brenda Peterson. Commenting on Peterson's keen love for
all created life, Shaw writes:
"We feel remorse for a kind of blind arrogance with which we live.
So when, occasionally, the author lapses into anthropomorphizing animals--
sea lions barking 'like a chorus of mourners' after the kill -- we excuse
the excesses. Other forms of life may not have human feelings, but then,
apparently, neither do we-- until we feel with our whole being the interconnectedness
of all life. Peterson's compassion is not just for the animals but for
us as well...."
Finally, the third excerpt is from writer and theologian Frederick Buechner
in his book Wishful Thinking...A Theological ABC. What follows
is his definition for "life":
"The temptation is always to reduce it to size. A bowl of cherries.
A rat race. Amino acids. Even to call it a mystery smacks of reductionism.
It is THE mystery.
As far as anybody seems to know, the vast majority of things in the universe
do not have whatever life is. Sticks, stones, stars, space - they simply
are. A few things are and are somehow aware of it. They have broken through
into Something, or Something has broken through into them. Even a jellyfish,
a butternut squash. They're in it with us. We're all in it together, or
it is in us. Life is it. Life is with.
After lecturing learnedly on miracles, a great theologian was asked to
give a specific example of one. 'There is only one miracle,' he answered.
'It is life.'"
Whatever you find yourself doing with your life this summer, take some
time to find your Self doing it. And, take some time to be with, to listen
to, the larger whole -- the blades of grass, the crunching cow, the tree
toad, the sea lions, a butternut squash, young beauty -- your own beauty...
Enjoy your summer.
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