Sitting here at home today, listening to Chris Botti's amazing trumpet, his mood-altering rendition of Caruso, I am drawn to quiet thoughts of quiet beauty. Here is a sampling of the beauty that I find in or near my little corner of the world -- accompanied by the moving words of some who have also found inspiration in the natural world.
Flowers at the Local Farmers Market
"Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity"
Great Egret at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird . . . So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."
Richard P. Feynman
"The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls."
Blue Heron, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
"When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and I am free."
"Guarded within the old red wall's embrace,
Marshalled like soldiers in gay company,
The tulips stand arrayed. Here infantry
Wheels out into the sunlight."
A Tulip Garden
Looking at these images again, I am overwhelmed by the ineffable beauty of the world around us -- its diversity, its myriad colors, its constant ebb and flow, its stirring call to the human spirit -- and I am grateful for the the poets and other writers who have always called upon us to pay attention and be present with nature.