Friday, January 23, 2015

The gift of a good day

Today the sun is shining, skies are mostly blue and the temperature is flirting with 40°F. For some of us Minnesota Winters don't get much better than this. The red osier dogwood is still a dark maroon but looks like it's considering donning a brighter, more cheerful shade of red any day now. Much earlier today, for but a few minutes, the sunrise was spectacular, then the sun went behind clouds for awhile and the sky turned all gray. Finally the clouds passed by (passed over?) and mid-morning proved the exception to the rule "red sky at morning, sailors take warning."

January sunrise, red sky at morning
Photo by J. Harrington

Yesterday Molly R left some very kind comments and a Kenneth Boulding poem in two parts. I'm familiar with Boulding's economics work, but hadn't run across his poem previously. It's worth reading and nicely brackets both camps of thought about man's place on earth and in the universe. Thanks, Molly. Personally, at the moment I've been thinking more about the similarities between Robin Wall Kimmerer's perspectives, in Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, on how earth gives uncounted and uncountable gifts to humans (a spiritual view shared by many Native American writers as far as I can see) and Lewis Hyde's compelling writing about The Gift, Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. I think it's possible, maybe probable, that we would be better off if we focused more on the development of a gift economy instead of more winner take all capitalism. I've made some notes to myself to see what kind of "compare and contrast" I can produce looking again at Braiding and The Gift.


By Brian Swann 
We are in the position of defining myth by the shape of its absence.
-Sean Kane, Wisdom of the Mythtellers
       The bluebird's cold mistimed egg
fetched up from the one-legged
       box after the pair had left for
points south & unknown (never,
       as it turned out, to return) I
renested in the half-geode by
       the windowsill where it gleamed
&, months becoming years, seemed
       about to last forever, grow more
consistent with itself, holding its pure
       blue firmament up over what by now
was nothing, till one January day, snow
       melting to a fast flood,
I blew it softly onto my palm so I could
       hold its cerulean up against new sky,
home against home, where it lay
       weightless & delicate as the Xmas ornament
we'd just put away, but when I went
       to roll it gently back onto its bed,
& leave it there, I saw a thread,
       a crack, another, watched it sink in
slowly on itself, shard on shard collapsing
       from my touch & breath, relaxing
into the shape of its absence

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