not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

i dream of absolution


it can not be given.  it must be earned.  the work is our own.






There appears to be a law that when creatures have reached the level of consciousness, as men have, they must become conscious of the creation; they must learn how they fit into it and what its needs are and what it requires of them, or else pay a terrible penalty: the spirit of the creation will go out of them, and they will become destructive; the very earth will depart from them and go where they cannot follow...

We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world.  And this has been based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us.  We have fulfilled the danger of this by making our personal pride and greed the standard of our behavior toward the world - to the incalculable disadvantage of the world and every living thing in it.  And now, perhaps very close to too late, our great error has become clear.  It is not only our own creativity - our own capacity for life - that is stifled by our arrogant assumption; the creation itself is stifled.

We have been wrong.  We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us.  And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it.  We must learn to cooperate in its processes, and to yield to its limits.  But even more important, we must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it.  We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe.  We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence.  For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.

Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace

16 comments:

  1. I am moved, deeply moved, but these congruencies we experience.

    But Erin, these photos. Are they photos? Are they really? How is it that you breathe into being creations like your images, that are neither film nor anything else one can hold, but they are as substantial as the water, the heron, the light?

    I have read these words of his before. But today they mean something more, something profoundly more. This arrogance we have been speaking of (I answered you at washed stones before your email came), have I simply been trying to imbue the word with meaning it does not own? Do I want our arrogance, MY arrogance, to be redeemed, and so I use the word as something more like pride? I should not do this, I think, for the word means what it means. Yet ... the questions it raises in its very being are good questions.

    I wonder if what I mean (I am still digging for it) is the awe of what is in me, as well as in all things. That Life that drives us, that you and I try to let be, speak, move, is above all, in all, through all. That is not arrogance, I think, but it is perfection, fullness.

    I don't know what I say, but I know what I want. The words are just little footprints.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I meant "by" these congruencies ...

    ReplyDelete
  3. "But even more important, we must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence..." What an amazing statement and so true! Your photos are pure magic, dearest Erin.

    I go outside every day and converse with dragonflies. They follow me around the yard, I turn on the hose and they drink from the water, then buzz around my head. Some of them follow me around the entire block, then I put out my finger and they land and look at me with their giant plaid orb/eyes. The mystery of it astounds me. I have loved dragonflies since I was a small child. I am known as the crazy sister/aunt who talks to dragonflies and grows night-blooming flowers to attract pink moths. Why this makes me crazy, I don't know.

    It might be the books I read every day or the poetry I write/read/collect. Only my children and grandchildren are voracious readers like me. Nobody else in my family reads/writes. I've been harassed since I can remember for being a bookworm...but books have saved my life and given me pure joy. To have a book to escape into when you're a child living in the midst of horrifying poverty & abuse is a gift. Like I said, books have saved my life and maybe the dragonflies did, too. The mystery makes me want to stay here and seek more mystery. xo

    "Browsing the dim back corner
    Of a musty antique shop
    Opened an old book of poetry
    Angels flew out from the pages
    I caught the whiff of a soul
    The ink seemed fresh as today
    Was that voices whispering?
    The tree of the paper still grows."
    ~Terri Guillemets

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am in chills after Marion's comment. I didn't think this page could get any better. I'm brimming over ...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gracias for re-inspiring me with this. I try to be present in the moment, try to be in awe of what is around me with my total sensoria. Sometimes I forget the moment by becoming 'selfish'. Must be cognizant of the 'selfless'. When I exit from 'here' I hope to be sated with the beauty of the 'here'.

    Gracias mi amiga

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ohhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Beauty speaks volumes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. can i please be quiet with all of you? this desire is exhausting and yet refueled daily in the form of a mouth.

    you're beautiful. and thank you))))

    xo
    erin

    ReplyDelete
  8. where? how?

    these images inspire such richness of spirit i don't know where to start - except to ask:

    where? how?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this is quite simply, amanda, what the world looked like. can you imagine?!!

      xo
      erin

      Delete
  9. yes, you may be quiet...what's good for the world,,yes,,absolutely good for each,,,maintain that balance? yes,,,but to protect from the other's inverse concept,,,yes, I must do that too. I too have been quiet,,,and that is in part due to your pure and honest words...I read more than I talk,,,and I must again thank you... how have you been, Tiny Leaf?

    ReplyDelete
  10. glenn)))) i am...complicated:) the most alive ever. (this is no easy task.) well so well and otherwise sometimes. would not change a thing. at odds with the world.

    and you?

    xo
    erin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I THINK you are less at odds than you think,,,perhaps the world is about a half bubble off plumb..reckon? :)

      Delete
  11. Beautiful, hooray for cameras lol :)

    ReplyDelete

"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))