Archive for 30 October 2011

“But ask the animals …”

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you” — Job 12:7-8.

Mourning doves at the feeder this morning, blue jays squabbling on our standing-seam metal roof, shortly before dawn a fox leaping through the snow nearby, mice in the garage foraging on birdseed I spilled and haven’t yet swept up, a few geese lingering and looking forlorn as they forage in the dark water of a lake, made darker by contrast with the surrounding snows.

Visible kin, feathered and furred.  Beneath the surface of the pond, a few salamanders who haven’t yet burrowed into the mud to winter there.  Scaled kin.

And golden till the end — leafy kin — a young maple in our back yard, shouldering its way up among larger pines.

What can I ask, and what will they teach, tell and declare?

Isn’t everything open and shut at the same time, the glory and the wretched side by side, the fox killing the hare, the wonder of sunrise, a birth and a death both?

But what of the between, where we all live, where it is often neither?  The third way we pass over, because it constantly moves with us, never stopping to be wholly seen or felt, a shadow at our backs, a light in front of us, a suspicion of beauty and the marvelous: peering through the grime and fog of a dirty window, a commuter on the way to work, waving; a bare branch with exactly seven sparrows wing to wing, puffed against the cold; the surprise of light on water, perfect mirror; a child’s unflinching gaze.  O my world, altar of how many things to see and know and suffer and enjoy and give up and welcome again, how can I do anything else than love you, in the end?

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