Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wild Geese and Snowy Peaks

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver

It was cold and cloudy the other evening while I was walking across campus. I heard something faint and distant. Was it the call of geese in flight? Or was it the rhythmic complaint of an HVAC compressor needing maintenance?

For a moment, I wasn’t sure. So I stopped to listen and to watch. Gradually, the sound got louder, and I saw emerging from the clouds a double-vee of wild geese. There must have been two dozen in the formation. I was spellbound...while a busy world continued with its business all around me.

Sometimes, the absurdity of what passes for "normal life" is just too much. Waiting in line at the dollar store today, I saw a display for…get this…Hannah Montana Hand Sanitizer. That’s almost as funny as the Barack Obama Commemorative Plate they’re hawking on the tele:

His confident smile and kind eyes are an inspiration to us all.

I'll buy that, but my favorite part of the commercial is when the announcer assures us:

YES YOU CAN…own a piece of history.


By the way, if you’re looking for a gift idea this Christmas you could do worse than logging on to http://www.victoryplate.com/

Beats the hell out of Hannah Montana Hand Sanitizer!

Anyhow, before I got distracted, I was trying to say how easy it is to get distracted.

Take, for instance, this shot of Main Street. Aesthetically, it’s not much, but I do think it illustrates the challenge of finding our place in the family of things. It's easy to muddle along in the mainstream and fail to see the treasures right in front of us.

Even if normal life doesn't leave much room for them, even if they're easy to ignore in this busy, busy world...

...here's to wild geese and snowy peaks.

Beats the hell out of Hannah Montana Hand Sanitizer!

The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see.
-Edward Abbey


Richard said...

Excellent site. Well done. I'm taking notes.


Christopher C. NC said...

Having the "eyes" to see is often the only thing that maintains my sanity.

James Golden said...

Hard to go wrong with Mary Oliver. Thanks for what you're doing.