Live for the moment, they say. I do try, but spend my time wondering What’s gonna be. It’s not that I worry about the future. Well, not so very much. For me, it’s more about wanting to know how current actions will play out. Waiting is difficult. It must be very much the same for her for we have always recognized that the precepts of the phrase Patience and Perseverance, are wearisome.

No so for nature. Nature cares not about time. Although natural phenomena occur over time horizons spanning many orders of magnitude, I’m not sure that has significance. Some say the Inflationary Era of the Big Bang occurred in 10-43 seconds. Others tell us that the universe continues to expand some 1017 seconds later. Atoms collide, molecules interact, organelles coalesce, cells grow and divide, organisms live and die, populations expand and contract, and ecosystems flourish and decay. Is there any meaningful significance, as far as nature is concerned, between and among the time scales upon which these phenomena occur? No. And it does not matter.

We wandered past a low spot where leaves settled last autumn. Snow and ice had accumulated there. Cold nights and mild days drive a seemingly unending cycle of freeze, thaw, and around again. When it is warm, and without a frame of reference, recession can be mistaken for its opposite. Leaves, further down, provide background of muted mosaic. Once alive, the leaves now wait, to be colonized by bacteria and by fungi. To decay and to be metabolized. To then be reconstituted. Incorporated into living tissue once again. Do molecules concern themselves with such closed loops? Do trees and microbes wait for What’s gonna be? No. That concern remains mine alone. Our specific epithet means wise. Perhaps it would be better otherwise.


24 thoughts on “Untitled

  1. Persevere–one of my favourite words; an encouragement when times are tough and a cautionary tone when they are not. Just yesterday the sun “crossed the line” and the days have becoming noticeably longer and longer. It’s still a cold March (after a very mild feb) but it’s only a matter of time now.

    • Let us both hope for an early spring. We are preparing to demolish the dwelling within which we are currently living. After that, and until the new structure is complete, we’ll be living in an RV which is currently parked in the drive. I’m not sure that would be very much fun at 13F which we had overnight. Brrrr.

    • Thank you so much Elke for a comment which is meaningful on several levels. As I’ve told others here recently, I enjoy the writing but have very, very, little confidence in it.

      • I think the internet is a curse and a blessing as on the one hand we can ‘reach out’ to a large audience (and get unexpected postive feedback), but on the other hand for every idea / project / accomplishment / article … of your own you will find somebody else who did the same, just better, earlier, based on more experience or more impressive credentials etc. I tend to think about it the way that these two effects just compensate each other, and I believe one should simply not google too much and compare with others 🙂 And I think your writing is great 🙂

  2. I continue to be amazed by your images. You find a way to make a degraded leaf look beautiful! It’s so architectural and geometric. The leaf actually reminds me of an arrow head. The ice provides a beautiful muted covering. Really lovely. And yes. Patience has never been one of my strong suits either. Would be nice to turn off my mind and not always be wondering about the what ifs in life. Must be nice to just “go with the flow”….

  3. Consciousness is a double-edged quality. It allows us to appreciate what we experience, to think on it, to come to conclusions and to take it all personally. But it also gives us the sense of time and the realization that our time is short and that nature isn’t at all personal. So we place significance on things…things that are not significant to time. Life on our particular orb exists in cycles. Life forms and unforms. Life feeds and feeds. Non-life is solid and dissolves over time. Land forms move incrementally over periods of time that are hard to grok. We come and go never to return.
    There was a time when I believed that all of this, earth and universe, millions of people, was my imagination and it ended when I did. I know there is a philosophical term for that concept but I cannot recall it. Maybe someone can help me out with that. As conscious humans we tend to place all of creation in a box that we think we understand. The box is non-existent and we are limited in our understanding by our intellect’s abilities and our willingness to accept.
    I have no idea about the meaning of life and no real sense of loss for that lack.

    This is indeed a lovely image. Eventually the ice will melt and the leaf will float away, or sink, and become something else.

    • You’ve touched on so many points here Steve. And done a good job talking about a number of things that are pretty-darn-difficult to put into words. You are correct when you say that ‘nature isn’t personal.’ And then, ‘ … we place significance on things that have none.’ That, in a nutshell, is what consciousness has done for us … for better or worse (read … your double-edged quality). I’m not sure why we place such importance on our place in all of this. I believe it is a false notion and one which has caused its share of trouble, down through the ages. What is so remarkable, is that we exist at all.

  4. Patience and perseverance: qualities I aspire to, and love, to the degree that I’ve acquired them. Is nature patient? Does she persevere? I think so. But nature lives by kairos, not chronos. When the time is right, the leaf falls, the ice thaws, the bird takes wing. Mary Oliver gets it right, I think:

    “And what else can we do when the mysteries present themselves
    but hope to pluck from the basket the brisk words
    that will applaud them,

    the heron, the turtle, the catbird, the seed-grain
    kneeling in the dark earth, its body
    opening into the golden world?”

    • I like the dichotomy between kairos and chronos. You have taught me something today, and for that I thank you. If I had known of the distinction before. I would have used it to good advantage here as part of this post. And, of course, you are right … nature lives by kairos.

  5. I love the soft watercolor quality you have achieved with this shot. Beautiful. Creating compositions like this is probably more productive and satisfying than worry. At least we get to enjoy the results.

  6. That’s an excellent picture. The leaf seems to have a subtle glow.

    There’s room to quibble about sapiens meaning ‘wise.’ The word is the present participle of the Latin verb sapere, which meant literally ‘to taste, to savor’ (and note that savor is a derivative of that Latin root). By extension, the Romans came to use their verb in the sense ‘to know.’ As a result, sapiens might be translated as ‘knowing.’ The Romans did sometimes use sapiens to mean ‘wise,’ but we can know many things without acquiring wisdom. The older I’ve gotten, the more I know, but I often have the feeling that I don’t understand the world, and especially the people in it.

    By the way, compare savor, which is grounded in the physical sense of taste, with its close relative savant, which has moved along into the more abstract realm of knowing. (French turned the original Latin p into a v.)

    • Thanks for the etymological dissection. I’m always up for learning something so thank you for taking the time to teach. Thanks also for the thumbs up on the image. D

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