During the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens, intense heat melted away the soil. leaving bare rock coated with a thickened mantle of ash. Naturalists of the Forest Service wondered how much time must pass before any living thing could grown there. Then one day a park employee stumbled across a lush patch of wildflowers, ferns, and grasses rooted tenaciously to a strip of the desolation. It took a few seconds for him to notice an eerie fact: this particular vegetation formed to the shape of an elk. Plants had sprouted from the organic material that lay where an elk had been buried by ash. From then on, the naturalists look for such patches of luxuriance as an aid in calculating the loss of wildlife.

— Philip Yancey.

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a·bun·dance  (-bndns) n.

  1. Perennial gardens
  2. Neighbours that are friends
  3. Harvest dinners
  4. Bike repair
  5. Fullness to overflowing

 

 

The last time I had a puppy in my life I slept beside it in the barn for a couple of nights. Currently, I do not have a barn, but there might be a similar outpouring of care for this little guy.

Meet my dog Berkeley. He comes home mid October.

yes, establish the work of our hands.

 

I find it fascinating to listen to poets talk, somehow their voices seem to fit just right with their words.

“Writing poetry has, to me, always had something to do with how you want to live.”

http://vimeo.com/19725250

In the beginning

there was a whale in a jar,

content with very little:

size of the emptiness,

size of the jar,

the cold stiff hug of glass.

He would wile away the nothingness

and enjoy the feeling he got from breathing

in and out.

But eventually something cracked.

 

In a single moment of clairvoyance,

the Whale conceived of ocean.

Dissatisfaction sparked, the Whale

moaned and tossed – beleaguered by his

glass confinement.

Discontentment gave birth to ambition

and the Whale began to swell.

 

The jar then snapped and fell away.

The Whale fell away as well

for millions of year through strata by strata

of petrified darkness. He felt defeated.

He couldn’t be sure but he thought he might be growing.

It then occurred to the Whale to give voice to want.

 

“Ocean,” he called out, and splash

boomed the water.

 

“Hunger,” said the Whale, and his mouth

was filled with krill.

 

“Fun,” said the Whale, and the ocean

alight with creatures.

 

That was good enough for Whale

for a long time, a long time.

 

But it wore off and the old ennui returned.

 

“Love,” said the Whale, his voice heavy

with self pity.

 

And there beside him swam his very-joy.

They felt warm inside.

But soon there was not enough krill for both

and she died.

 

“Anger,” said the Whale, and volcanoes

vomiting liquid smoke piled up land

until it broke through the water.

 

Whale tried to find something he could hate

amongst the multitude of creatures

but he could not, he could not.

 

“Enemy,” said the Whale, and Man

appeared on land, crafting boats.

 

Something struck the Whale’s flank.

 

“Pain,” he yelped

but it couldn’t surmount the absence of his warmth.

 

It was no use, the hate. No use.

The Whale felt defeated and bumped the ship

gently, in resingnation.

A jar toppled overboard and plunged into the ocean.

Whale followed it down like a funeral procession

until the jar came to nestle in a submarine crag.

 

My, had he swollen.

 

How visceral the lure of this jar was to the Whale

but for all he did he could not fit inside.

 

“Justice,” he howled, and the Whale

gently died. 

Kinfolk Magazine: today’s delightful discovery!

Kinfolk is a collaborative effort to encourage a more natural approach to entertaining… Mostly this magazine is about inspiring one another to share our tables more often, to open our doors and hearts to family and friends – our Kinfolk.

Jess of La Domestique describes it this way:

With the release of Kinfolk, an online magazine devoted to “small gartherings”, I’ve been inspired by the idea that entertaining is changing. For a long time now I’ve been turned off by the word, “entertaining”, which brings to mind perfect parties, formality, and posturing- keeping up with the Joneses. Entertaining seems dated. Times are changing. We’ve been through a recession. After all the spending of money we don’t have and buying houses we can’t afford, we’ve filled these houses with stuff that hasn’t brought happiness. For many, the reaction is to simplify. Pare back. We’re investing less in material things and more in the things that really fill us- our friendships.

Gathering is different. Gathering evokes a feeling of ease, warmth, and a focus on interacting rather than performing. In this world we’re becoming so insular. We forget the importance of gathering with friends to share stories at a thoughtfully set table with simple, flavorful food. Because of Kinfolk magazine, I want to remember.

 

If I were a knight, I would engrave this poem on my shield.

Every day
I see or hear
something
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

“I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, for all the blood that they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)