Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.
The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same.
Every wondrous sight will vanish, every sweet word will fade.
But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is eternal, growing,
Branching out, giving new life and new joy.
Why do you weep? –
That Source is within you,
And this whole world is springing up from it.

From A Garden Beyond Paradise
Translated by Andrew Harvey
Excerpt here appears in Soul Food, page 89

A pear

I’ve just eaten a delicious ripe pear for supper. No trace of it left apart from lingering taste, the memory, and the stalk that remained on the side of the plate and – you know how it is – set me wondering.

This little dry stalk began life pushing through the bark of a twig on a branch of a pear tree somewhere in sunshine, and sometimes in rain. Soon a tiny, hard, rounded fruit began to take shape, swelling slowly but surely, drawing nourishment into itself through the little stalk, up through the roots and trunk and branches and twigs of the tree, which were connected with the clouds in the sky above and quite deeply with the crust on the surface of the Earth, which had itself come forth from the Cosmos billions of years earlier, the searching roots reaching down through food sources in the Earth’s rocks and soil and moisture that were the remains of earlier rocks and soil and moisture and roots and trunks and branches and leaves and twigs and stalks that had lived their lives reaching heavenwards towards sunlight, and sometimes rain.

Eventually parted from direct physical connection to the tree that reached into the depths of billions of years, the fruit ripened during the course of the last few days becoming lush and juicy and very, very tasty. And I ate it at supper this evening, half an hour or so ago, and it was very good, and I am deeply thankful for the connection the pear gave me to the stalk, the leaves, the twigs, the branches, the trunk, the roots, the Earth and the sky and the Cosmos and the LIFE that sustains each and all. The little dry stalk – once the all important channel of provision for what was to become a beautiful fruit – will now go on to take its place in the earth and in moisture, and the resurrecting cycle begins all over again. And so I still wonder – and worship.


Lingering in happiness

After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground
where it will disappear — but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;
and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.

Mary Oliver
Why I wake early, page 71

Mary Oliver’s powers of observation are so keen that she, more readily perhaps than most, recognises the hidden universe of the unseen.

What marvellous grace and poise affords such profound contemplation of individual rain drops and their passage from rain cloud to oak root and on to mole tunnel and long dry pebbles?

In such a stillness, cool or dark or dry, one may anticipate vivifying touch. Soon.

Hidden wells

‘What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…’

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince

Thunderously quiet, hot as hell, whipping wind, dry thirst. Desert places haven’t held much appeal for me – coffee shops and familiar home-base my preferred territory.

But life sometimes pushes us onwards and downwards into desert places anyway – and cycling between resentment and acceptance I come to see that there’s beauty to be found there.

Perspective. Silent music. Deep roots. Hidden wells.