Monday, December 24, 2012

impressive and seducive

“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.” 
 ― Rainer Maria Rilke 

There's something manically attractive about a secret. What is more exciting words are there in the world besides: "Can you keep a secret?" Because it means you're about to hear something that the rest of the world doesn't know. And, in the words of Maya Angelou, "there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." There is such a relief in sharing a secret, sharing your story.

I think, in this instance, the world that we know more about than ourselves is a guide to us. Especially trees. Trees are very secretive things indeed. But also the most public. Trees live their lives in plain view. And yet, they are so private.

 If there is magic in the world, surely this is it: the descendants of tiny creatures in leaves, capable of ingesting the sun. If you gather a bouquet of leaves to consider their magic, it is hard to overlook their diversity and, if you are the curious sort, to wonder why there exists such a preponderance of forms. 

Some leaves don’t seem to be leaves at all, having become flower petals, thorns, or the spines on a cactus. But even an ordinary oak leaf, dandelion leaf, and grass blade differ in size, thickness, shape, hue, texture, taste, and nearly every other feature. 

 Not that leaves care whether you notice; the blessing they convey comes each day with the rise of the edible sun. Since they are everywhere, it’s easy to take them for granted. But even when we do, they continue in their one occupation: turning light into life.

--The Glory of Leaves, Rob Dunn

Leaves don't care if you ever take the time to figure out their secret. They share their secret each day with you as they turn light into life. As they bask and dance and glisten in the rays of the sun, they invite us to dive into the mystery of the world without worrying our minds to understand.

Something within me moves// 
 vernal veils like fire

If you climb a tree and lightly touch a living leaf, it feels somehow different than a leaf that falls to the ground in October.
And a brilliant red leaf, glorious in its beauty, is different than one of the poor brown remnants that lingers through November. Mendicant leaves that finally are covered in a gelid frost.

Oh the marvelous overflows of our existence, 
in spite of all fate, in parks, effervescence - 
 But it bore too, it bore, your tree of ecstasis. 
Aren't these your peaceful fruits: the vases striped with ripening, and the riper urn? 

One of the most interesting truths about the world is that we know so very little about it.
The second most interesting truth (or maybe it's the first) is that we know more about the world than we know about ourselves.

But the secret that nature reveals to us without giving anything away is the rhythm it dances to, an impressive, seductive harmony of beauty.
To fall and to rise again.

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