I look out on a day so beautiful my teeth ache, which might also be the result of the clenching of my jaw at Bush's determination to drill off-shore, to open up the outer continental shelf, or the "O.C.S." as he calls it.
I thought of not mentioning it, and then, realized that it is becoming more and more clear that the environment is "the issue" if we are all planning to leave a planet for future generations of humans.
Drilling off-shore will not solve the problem of the price of gas. Why then propose it? I wonder sometimes if Bush is determined to go down in history as the absolute worst president in every category imaginable. It is an achievement, I suppose, to be the absolute worst, and, of course, he thinks he is going to be lifted right up to heaven, though I think we are doing enough damage to the environment that even heaven might be either wet or on fire.
It is frightening to read in National Geographic this month of the fire danger in the West.
So, well, trying to move on into my day, I offer Jane Kenyon's poem "Happiness."
` Jane Kenyon
There's just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.
No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.
It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a lovely broom, to the child
whose mother had passed out from the drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.
It is time to hammer into Bush's head that he has no power and that he is not going to destroy even more than he already has the environment that we all know is necessary to nourish soul.
I went early to Muir Woods and walked the loop. I saw a young couple ahead hugging, and averted my eyes and then realized she was crying. She then handed me her camera so I could take a picture of them. He had just asked her to marry him and given her a beautiful engagement ring.
Steve and I were married 37 years ago today, so it was a lovely sharing.
He is in NY, so we will spend the weekend in Inverness to celebrate our anniversary. Circumstances get him back at 11 tomorrow night, so the reservations were made and I will have one night in a tree house room alone, and the next night we will share it. It feels right, like marriage, an honoring of togetherness and solitude, the need and desire to share and be apart.
As I left Muir Woods, the tour buses were arriving and lines of people were getting off. It is a cathedral before they come, and then, it is a marathon photo-taking event. There was a baby deer at the entrance to Muir Woods when I arrived, and an owl serenaded me with a whooo as I walked. What a way to begin a day!
Muir Woods is one of the five quietest national parks. They really work to preserve that, and have an area where they request no talking and no cell phone use. The trees need quiet, the birds, and the creek deserves to be heard. It is a spiritual place, and I am grateful to those who saved it and gave it as a gift to us.
It is warm here tonight and nothing compared to the heat of southern California. I think with the flooding in the Midwest and the heat out here, McCain is going to have a tough time getting people to believe there is nothing to worry about climate-wise.
We approach the longest day of the year, always an exciting time for me, as we then start sliding back toward darkness. I am enjoying the extra light on both ends of sleep.
I am reading a wonderful book called Astonishments, Selected Poems of Anna Kamienska.
At the end of the book are excerpts from her notebooks. The following is from 1976. She was born in 1920 and died in 1986.
We talk too much using big words about love for people. Sometimes just a bit of attention would be enough, noticing your neighbor with respect. Attention - a favorite term of Simone Weil. It includes an element of will and reason. The term is free of the sentimentality and insincerity that the word "love" pulls behind itself.
One should distinguish between two things: isolation and real profound loneliness. Can a tree feel lonely? Its strength comes from the fact that it does not dissipate its energies. It is completely focused on its own important life functions and endurance. Its biological force goes beyond mere inert existence. It shows a kind of trustful immersion in the elements of the world, taking from it and giving back. The tree is an example of a reasonable balance in giving and taking. We learn this laboriously in the spiritual sphere.
Take time in the heat to savor the life of trees.