I’ve been pondering an excellent deal about progress — what it means, what it asks of us, the way it feels when unforced however natural. I’ve been fascinated with progress and decay, the interaction between the 2, the best way all progress requires regeneration, which in flip requires a shedding, a composting, a reconstituting of outdated materials. We don’t at all times know what must be shed, or what the optimum route of progress is. That is the place the “blind optimism” of a tree is useful — there may be comfort in trusting the quiet workings of chemistry and the primal intuition for orienting to the sunshine.
I’ve been fascinated with progress and decay whereas strolling lengthy bundled hours in an old-growth forest.
The forest, with its ceaseless syncopation of technology and decomposition that composes the pulse-beat of complete aliveness.
The forest, this place of fixed change that feels someway atemporal, an eternal Sure! to life echoed by an ungrudging and vibrant Sure! to dying — a spot the place one feels most intimately the fundamental but counterintuitive incontrovertible fact that dying is just not the assailant of life however the final word consecration of its fortunate risk.
Walt Whitman noticed in them fashions for the very best measure of authenticity and why he, in consequence, celebrated the good friend he most liked as “true, trustworthy; stunning as a tree is tall, leafy, wealthy, full, free… [she] is a tree.”
Whitman, who two centuries in the past declared himself to “know the amplitude of time” and “chuckle at what you name dissolution.”
Whitman, whose atoms now belong to some mycelial marvel pushing up the leaves of cemetery grass and nourishing the roots of the 2 towering bushes that stand sentinel on both aspect of his tomb, bushes that have been saplings when he laughed out of life.
Whereas fascinated with life and dying and poetry in an old-growth forest, I considered this immortal line: “The phrase for world is forest” — the title of a novella by Ursula Ok. Le Guin (October 21, 1929–January 22, 2018). I considered the quick, gorgeous tree-poem she wrote on the finish of her life, initially printed on the pages of Orion Journal and just lately included, fittingly, in Previous Development — their splendid anthology of sylvan literature from the journal’s decades-deep archive. Right here it’s, introduced tenderly to life by my tree-loving, poetry-loving, life-and-death-loving good friend and kindred spirit Amanda Palmer, to which I’ve added the proper sonic companionship of an outdated recording of Bach’s Organ Concerto in D Minor.
by Ursula Ok. Le Guin
Very slowly burning, the large forest tree
stands within the slight hole of the snow
melted round it by the gentle, lengthy
warmth of its being and its will to be
root, trunk, department, leaf, and know
earth darkish, solar gentle, wind contact, chook track.
Rootless and stressed and warmblooded, we
blaze within the flare that blinds us to that gradual,
tall, fraternal fireplace of life as sturdy
now as within the seedling two centuries in the past.
Complement with Amanda studying “Once I Am Among the many Bushes” by Mary Oliver and poet Jane Hirshfield studying “In the present day, One other Universe” — her kindred tackle the life and dying of a single tree — then revisit Le Guin on anger, the magic of actual human dialog, the that means of loyalty, attending to the opposite aspect of struggling, and her timeless “Hymn to Time.”