from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Wednesday 2 May 2012

what nature manages without effort

High above me the translucent wings of seagulls against blue sky propel their bodies forward with no discernible effort, a rowing movement that seems almost mechanical. They simply move.

The little brook is swollen, pouring over the simple stone dam in a cataract of voices I can hear from the garden. 'The language of the hill country... or of any sacred place, is not the language of pen on paper, or even of the human voice. It is the language of water cutting down through the country's humped chest of granite, cutting down to the heart and soul of the earth, down to a thing that lies far below and beyond our memory.' (Rick Bass)
The dandelions this year are an exuberance, whole fields gilded. On the track I follow neat paired deer hoofprints up to the lane. In the lush Devon verge an early purple orchid has joined the orchestra of bluebell, campion, stitchwort. I rejoice in it, but it is simply being itself, in its beauty but unaware, I assume, of its beauty; swayed by the breeze, in among its 100s of neighbours, flora and fauna.

Jeanette Winterson: 'Very few people ever manage what nature manages without effort and mostly without fail. We don't know who we are or how to function, much less how to bloom. Blind nature. Homo Sapiens. Who's kidding whom?'

How old were we when we forgot that life does not have to be an effort? Or is it inherent in the taking-on of form?

How difficult this practice of stillness, of not striving, of quietude. Always I'm driven by the search for more: mine might not be an appetite for more materially, but it's just as much a craving as any other desire-driven hunger: in my case for more ideas, more experience, more words, more vibrancy, more relationality, more awareness, more moreness...

The challenge for me is to simply sit still, without reaching after anything, even effortlessness. (Today I am going to not try to not try to be effortless...)

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