A Last Slim Door

Again, in lieu of any fresh songs springing forth from my own muse, I offer this recent reverie from a writer I’ve come to deeply appreciate, Brian Doyle.  In an essay on the wonderful website curated by the Center for Humans and Nature, he glimpses the needle’s eye:

What is the greatest single virtue of our species? What is the one thing that we have in spades and abundance, the one thing that perhaps allowed us to prosper and multiply in such staggering numbers, to send men and machines into the sea of the stars, to fling a chirping robot past the boundaries of our very galaxy? Imagination, brothers and sisters. Imagination. We dream and then make real our dreams. And all that inventiveness, all that innovative zest, all our yearning to solve puzzles and discover secrets and worry inarguable truths from the welter of lies and distractions, all our deep pleasure in making things that were never in the world before in just that way—now that is become the thin thread of our salvation. Not to mention all the other actors in the play. Not to mention your children and their children

Following his heart and his pen through a series of powerful and poignant reflections (please do read the whole piece), Brian reminds us, and asks us:

We dreamed ourselves aloft. We dreamed ways to wrestle and wrangle rivers. We caught electricity. We persuaded plants to march in rows and give us their children to eat. We dreamed ever-faster ways to whir along the skin of the earth in steeds of steel. We dreamed throbbing cities so big and vast and high they seem unreal when we shuffle through them gawking far below. We dreamed the most extraordinary music and the most haunting deep-shared stories. We invented uncountable thousands of languages and religions and dances and sports and foods and medicines. Can’t we invent new fuels for our steel steeds, and new ways to catch and share energy, and new ways to spin detritus into fuel and energy? Have we gone stale and dim as a species, here at the apex of our population and technology boom? Were these last centuries of incredible invention and innovation and imagination all just for money and power? Or do we have a last slim door through which to send our wild holy imaginations into a future where children do not gasp and retch and duck the bullets of the Water Wars?

Bonus: Brian has a wonderful piece in the latest issue of Orion, entitled 21 Laws of Nature as Interpreted by My Children.  And a tip: Mink River is a wonderful novel.

About Jim

Night sky watcher; a mobile bit of earth's body. One foot lingering in Lower Cañoncito's piñon-juniper foothills at the southern tip of the Rockies, the edge of the Great Plains stretching away from the mouth of our little valley a couple miles downstream. The other foot re-rooting into the Land of the White Pines, home of my blood and bones, amidst the coastal plain and glacial hills and ponds of southern Maine, between the North Atlantic and the bones of the ancient Appalachian Mountains.

Posted on 2014/09/16, in Face the Future, Nourishing Words. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Jim I read one of your poems recently and would like to include it in my new book which is grandly entitled : “Consciousness v Catastrophe : Reflections on the Next Stage of Human Evoluton”. My website will fill you in on my spiritual authenticity etc. Please e mail me on the matter. We need copyright clearance. Thank you. I love your website.

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