You are company, you red-cheeked spitz, or you salmon-fleshed greening!
I toy with you; press your face to mine, toss you in the air, roll you on the ground,
see you shine out where you lie amid the moss and dry leaves and sticks.
You are so alive! You glow like a ruddy flower.
You look so animated I almost expect to see you move.
How compact; how exquisitely tinted!
Stained by the sun and varnished against the rains.
An independent vegetable existence, alive and vascular as my own flesh;
capable of being wounded, bleeding, wasting away, and almost of repairing damages!
I think if I could subsist on you or the like of you,
I should never have an intemperate or ignoble thought,
never be feverish or despondent.
So far as I could absorb or transmute your quality
I should be cheerful, continent, equitable, sweet-blooded,
long-lived, and should shed warmth and contentment around.
~from John Burrough’s essay on “The Apple”
Lo! sweetened with the summer light,
The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow,
Drops in a silent autumn night.
~Lord Alfred Tennyson
The moon now rises to her absolute rule,
And the husbandman and hunter
Acknowledge her for their mistress.
Asters and golden reign in the fields
And the life everlasting withers not.
The fields are reaped and shorn of their pride
But an inward verdure still crowns them;
The thistle scatters its down on the pool
And yellow leaves clothe the river—
And nought disturbs the serious life of men.
But behind the sheaves and under the sod
There lurks a ripe fruit which the reapers have not gathered,
The true harvest of the year—the boreal fruit
Which it bears forever,
With fondness annually watering and maturing it.
But man never severs the stalk
Which bears this palatable fruit.
~Henry David Thoreau
So many eyes turned skyward last night
to witness the shadowing of the moon,
its large unblinking eye turned bloodshot.
The wonder is that we are mere witness
to something beyond our reach,
trying our best to harvest, record and keep it.
This morning the moon sets,
bright and cheerful,
as it always does,
and we go about our daily lives
oblivious that it will continue to do so
long after we ourselves are harvested.
To be a witness
does not consist in engaging in propaganda
or even in stirring people up,
but in being a living mystery:
it means to live in such a way
that one’s life would not make sense
if God did not exist.
~ Emmanuel Cardinal Suhard of Paris
I’m not sure how much a mystery I am;
I feel transparent as glass most days.
But I make no sense at all,
I could not be seen or seen through
without God’s mystery
creating me and all that exists.
His mystery has lived and breathed
alongside us —
we cannot deny our witness of Him.
There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.
We are given the option to notice
We are given reason to rejoice
We are given a rain-bowed promise to witness
So why ever not?
Time is a tick, a purr, a drop. The spider
on the dining-room window has fallen asleep
among complexities as I will once
the doors are bolted and the keys tested
and the switch turned up of the kitchen light
which made outside in the back garden
an electric room-a domestication
of closed daisies, an architecture
instant and improbable.
~Eavan Boland from “Nocturne”
As each day blurs so quickly into the next,
I try to lock it up, throw away the key,
preserve them on a shelf like so many jars of fruit
to sample when I’m starving to remember.
Each night suspends
as I turn out the light,
a moment of sighs and murmurs
in gratitude for another day
brief as a daisy
that fades away.
I went out to cut a last batch of zinnias this
morning from the back fencerow and got my shanks
chilled for sure: furrowy dark gray clouds with
separating fringes of blue sky-grass: and the dew
beaded up heavier than the left-overs of the rain:
in the zinnias, in each of two, a bumblebee
stirring in slow motion. Trying to unwind
the webbed drug of cold, buzzing occasionally but
with a dry rattle: bees die with the burnt honey
at their mouths, at least: the fact’s established:
it is not summer now and the simmering buzz is out of
heat: the zucchini blossoms falling show squash
overgreen with stunted growth: the snapdragons have
suckered down into a blossom or so: we passed
into dark last week the even mark of day and night
and what we hoped would stay we yield to change.
~A.R. Ammons “Equinox”
We yield now
to the heaviness of the change,
the slowing of our walk
and the darkening of our days.
It is time;
when day and night compete
and neither wins.
“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams
Time lurches ahead in imprecisely measured chunks. Sometimes the beginning and ending of seasons are the yardstick, or celebrating a holiday or a birthday. Memories tend to be stickiest surrounding a milestone event: a graduation, a move, a wedding, a birth, a road trip, a funeral.
But Summer needs nothing so remarkable to be memorable. It simply stands on its own in all its extravagant abundance of light and warmth and growth and color stretching deep within the rising and setting horizons. Each long day can feel like it must last forever, never ending, yet it does eventually wind down, spin itself out, darkening gradually into shadow. We let go with reluctance; we feel as if no summer like it will ever come again.
Yet another will, somehow, somewhere, someday. Surely a never-ending summer is what heaven itself will be.
Perfectly delightful and delightfully perfect. We’ve already had a taste.
It is a fault of infinity to be too small to find.
It is a fault of eternity to be crowded out by time.
Before our eyes we see an unbroken sheath of colors.
We walk amid a congeries of colored things that part before our steps
to reveal more colored things.
Above us hurtle more things, which fill the universe.
There is no crack.
Where, then, is the gap through which eternity streams?
It is our lives we love, our times, our generation, our pursuits.
And are we called to forsake these vivid and palpable goods
for an idea of which we experience not one trace?
Am I to believe eternity outranks my child’s finger?
Annie Dillard from Teaching a Stone to Talk
If we look closely enough
we see farthest
with eyes closed
to the distraction of life’s colored things,
real and imagined.
Eternity — beyond what we can know
Infinity — beyond what we can conjure
We reach for it
because we are told
it is within our grasp.