Imagination! who can sing thy force? Or who describe the swiftness of thy course? Soaring through air to find the bright abode, Th’ empyreal palace of the thund’ring God, We on thy pinions can surpass the wind, And leave the rolling universe behind: From star to star the mental optics rove, Measure the skies, and range the realms above. There in one view we grasp the mighty whole, Or with new worlds amaze th’ unbounded soul.
~ Phillis Wheatley
Children will draw pictures with everything in them … houses and trees and people and animals … and the sun AND the moon. Grown-up says, “That’s a nice picture, Honey, but you put the moon and the sun in the sky at the same time and that isn’t right.” But the child is right! The sun and moon are in the sky at the same time.
~ R. Buckminster Fuller
(Buckminster Fuller to Children of Earth)
When music is your life, there is a key that gets you to the core. I am so grateful that I still have Crazy Horse, knock on wood. You see, they are my window to the cosmic world where the muse lives and breathes. I can find myself there and go to the special area of my soul where those songs graze like buffalo. The herd is still there, and the plains are endless. Just getting there is the key thing, and Crazy Horse is my way of getting there. That is the place where music lives in my soul. It is not youth, time, or age. I dream of playing those long jams and floating over the herd like a condor. I dream of the changing wind playing on my feathers, my brothers and sisters around me, silently telling their stories and sharing their spirits with the sky. They are my life.
~ Neil Young
(Waging Heavy Peace)
They are not callow like the young of most birds, but more perfectly developed and precocious even than chickens. The remarkably adult yet innocent expression of their open and serene eyes is very memorable. All intelligence seems reflected in them. They suggest not merely the purity of infancy, but a wisdom clarified by experience. Such an eye was not born when the bird was, but is coeval with the sky it reflects. The woods do not yield another such a gem.
~ Henry David Thoreau
One of my dad’s earliest and very special memories was of sitting on his father’s shoulders, watching a New York City ticker tape parade in honor of Charles Lindbergh, who had returned from his historic solo transatlantic flight. Dad was five years old that day, June 13, 1927, and he and his father were among the estimated 3 to 4 million people lined up along Fifth Avenue from Battery Park to Central Park. The New York Times wrote “Never was America prouder of a son.” What a thrill it was for a little fellow to catch a glimpse of his hero!
Today Dad turns 90 and I thought I could honor this milestone with some words from the autobiography written by his childhood hero. I gave Dad a copy of The Spirit of St. Louis a few years ago, and I know he read some of it, even while protesting that he disliked reading. He was never much of a reader – he said all the reading he had to do in college turned him off to it. But he loved to discuss the meanings of words and we both enjoyed looking things up in the dictionary and encyclopedia. Now that he is confined to a wheelchair we do find him reading the books we offer to him from time to time.
On a long flight, after periods of crisis and many hours of fatigue, mind and body may become disunited until at times they seem completely different elements, as though the body were only a home with which the mind has been associated but by no means bound. Consciousness grows independent of the ordinary senses. You see without assistance from the eyes, over distances beyond the visual horizon. There are moments when existence appears independent even of the mind. The importance of physical desire and immediate surroundings is submerged in the apprehension of universal values.
For unmeasurable periods, I seem divorced from my body, as though I were an awareness spreading out through space, over the earth and into the heavens, unhampered by time or substance, free from the gravitation that binds to heavy human problems of the world. My body requires no attention. It’s not hungry. It’s neither warm or cold. It’s resigned to being left undisturbed. Why have I troubled to bring it here? I might better have left it back at Long Island or St. Louis, while the weightless element that has lived within it flashes through the skies and views the planet. This essential consciousness needs no body for its travels. It needs no plane, no engine, no instruments, only the release from flesh which circumstances I’ve gone through make possible.
Then what am I – the body substance which I can see with my eyes and feel with my hands? Or am I this realization, this greater understanding which dwells within it, yet expands through the universe outside; a part of all existence, powerless but without need for power; immersed in solitude, yet in contact with all creation? There are moments when the two appear inseparable, and others when they could be cut apart by the merest flash of light.
While my hand is on the stick, my feet on the rudder, and my eyes on the compass, this consciousness, like a winged messenger, goes out to visit the waves below, testing the warmth of water, the speed of wind, the thickness of intervening clouds. It goes north to the glacial coasts of Greenland, over the horizon to the edge of dawn, ahead to Ireland, England, and the continent of Europe, away through space to the moon and stars, always returning, unwillingly, to the mortal duty of seeing that the limbs and muscles have attended their routine while it was gone.
A lifting gale of sea-gulls followed them; slim yachts of the element, Natural growths of the sky, no wonder Light wings to leave sea; but those grave weights toil, and are powerful.
~ Robinson Jeffers
In this world you’ve a soul for a compass And a heart for a pair of wings There’s a star on the far horizon Rising bright in an azure sky For the rest of the time that you’re given Why walk when you can fly?
~ Mary Chapin Carpenter
♫ (Why Walk When You Can Fly) ♫
in the blue night frost haze, the sky glows with the moon pine tree tops bend snow-blue, fade into sky, frost, starlight. the creak of boots. rabbit tracks, deer tracks, what do we know.
~ Gary Snyder
(Pine Tree Tops)
A few days ago around sunset Tim came charging down the stairs, camera in hand, and bolted out the front door. He had noticed a subtle change in lighting inside and decided to look out the window when he saw these dramatic clouds. So today I’m finally getting around to sharing his pictures! They seem like unusual looking clouds for around these parts…