Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Archive for the ‘Cosmos’ Category

Telling its story against the vanishing

Today a Religious Naturalism email list sent the poem The Enigma We Answer by Living (reprinted at the bottom of this post) by Alison Hawthorne Deming , which was featured on the Panhala website.

What does nature compel you to do?

My father was compelled to chase butterflies, moths, and other insects. As a child, I saw him in the yard, hunting them down with his white net on a pole. I watched them die in his poison jar, fluttering their wings for the last time. I saw them arranged and labeled, a pin through each tiny body, and peered into their display cases at the university where he taught biological sciences.

I am compelled to create winged clothing,  garments of leaves, crowns of berries and thorns, a temple of the cosmos, stories to tell, plantings of herbs, and gatherings of people. Some people are compelled to write poetry.

The Enigma We Answer by Living

Einstein didn’t speak as a child
waiting till a sentence formed and
emerged full-blown from his head.

I do the thing, he later wrote, which
nature drives me to do. Does a fish
know the water in which he swims?

This came up in conversation
with a man I met by chance,
friend of a friend of a friend,

who passed through town carrying
three specimen boxes of insects
he’d collected in the Grand Canyon –

one for mosquitoes, one for honeybees,
one for butterflies and skippers,
each lined up in a row, pinned and labeled,

tiny morphologic differences
revealing how adaptation
happened over time. The deeper down

he hiked, the older the rock
and the younger
the strategy for living in that place.

And in my dining room the universe
found its way into this man
bent on cataloguing each innovation,

though he knows it will all disappear –
the labels, the skippers, the canyon.
We agreed then, the old friends and the new,

that it’s wrong to think people are a thing apart
from the whole, as if we’d sprung
from an idea out in space, rather than emerging

from the sequenced larval mess of creation
that binds us with the others,
all playing the endgame of a beautiful planet

that’s made us want to name
each thing and try to tell
its story against the vanishing.

~ Alison Hawthorne Deming ~

(from the book Genius Loci)

Sense of the Sacred ~ Please help me spread the word!

Only by understanding the Universe as a vast, holistic system and Earth as a unit within it can we help restore balance to that unit.

Only by placing Earth and its ecosystems – about which we now understand so much – at the centre of all our thinking can we avert ecological disaster .

Only by bringing our thinking back into balance with feeling, intuition and awareness and by grounding ourselves in a sense of the sacred in all things can we achieve a new level of consciousness.

Thus says the website of the book GreenSpirit: Path to a new Consciousness. In a couple of weeks the author, Marian Van Eyk McCain, will be speaking about this book upstairs in the Community Room at the Real Food Co-op in Chatham. (Please note that the Co-op is not open for business on Sundays.) I’m very happy that Marian will be here, and I’d like you all to meet her. She is also author of the book Elderwoman: Reap the Wisdom – Feel the Power – Embrace the Joy, which ties in with Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman, a seven-part series beginning in Chatham on September 14th.

Please help me spread the message about her talk at the Co-op on September 12, 2 PM. Thanks!

Here is a poster with the details:

GreenSpirit Poster

Evolutionary Epic

Today I returned from the conference on our energy transition, and this evening I added the book below to the Recommending Reading list on this blog.

There is much that I wish to write about, but it will have to wait until I’m settled in and caught up.

The Evolutionary Epic: Science’s Story and Humanity’s Response, edited by Cheryl Genet, Russell Genet, Brian Swimme, Linda Palmer and Linda Gibler