"Action and contemplation are very close companions; they live together in
one house on equal terms. Martha and Mary are sisters. "
"What we love we shall grow to resemble."
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 12th Century
"Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?"
"So easy that, to tell the truth, I am seldom perfectly sober. Which accounts for my talking so much."
- Dorothy Sayers
"The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life." Robert Lewis Stevenson
Softest of Mornings by Mary Oliver
Softest of mornings, hello.
And what will you do today, I wonder,
to my heart?
And how much honey can the heart stand, I wonder,
before it must break?
This is trivial, or nothing: a snail
climbing a trellis of leaves
and the blue trumpets of flowers.
No doubt clocks are ticking loudly
all over the world.
I don't hear them. The snail's pale horns
extend and wave this way and that
as her fingers-body shuffles forward, leaving behind
the silvery path of her slime.
Oh, softest of mornings, how shall I break this?
How shall I move away from the snail, and the flowers?
How shall I go on, with my introspective and ambitious life?
from Long Life: Essays and Other Writings (DaCapo Press)
Now it is summer by the almanac. Summer came with the solstice this morning, when, to give "solstice" its literal meaning, the sun stood still. It was turning the corner of the seasons, and now it begins to move south again, as we say, toward fall and winter.
We are at the time of the longest daylight, earliest sunrise and latest sunset, which will continue with only a few seconds of change for another week. Time, if we would only pause and let it flow over us, for a little while partakes of the deliberation that is the mark of summer in almost everything except human affairs.
Spring has its own haste. Spring is sprouting and burgeoning, the opening of the leaf and the blossom. It is mating and birthing, the hatching of the egg, the spreading wing, the urgency of the bee and the wasp, the surge of green across the earth. Then the first rush is over, the trees are vast canopies of chlorophyll, the meadows tall with grass, the fields thick-bladed with corn and oats. June matures into summer, and the quiet process of growth for which April and May were a time of preparation. Summer becomes a summary of spring's achievement, a totaling of sun and rain and fertile soil added to the substance of the seed and the root.
The urgency of spring is past. The berries ripen in their own time. The bees replenish the hive. Clover comes to sweet blossom, then to seed. Daisies whiten the roadsides. Fireflies sparkle in the evenings. Time flows like the brooks that must have leisured through Eden when summer blessed a young and innocent earth.