To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the Palm of your Hand,
and Eternity in an Hour.
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day
~William Blake from “Auguries of Innocence”
To fall head long into the depths
of a dandelion puff ball,
captured in its intricacy,
a seeded symmetry
lined with delicate dewdrop drizzle.
To know the cosmos is contained
within the commonplace,
the God of Light and Living Water
no further away
than my back yard
and the palm of my hand.
The gray path glided before me
Through cool, green shadows;
Little leaves hung in the soft air
Like drowsy moths;
A group of dark trees, gravely conferring,
Made me conscious of the gaucherie of sound;
Farther on, a slim lilac
Drew me down to her on the warm grass.
“How sweet is peace!”
My serene heart said.
Then, suddenly, in a curve of the road,
A bright battalion, swaying,
They marched with fluttering flags,
And gay fifes playing!
A swift flame leapt in my heart;
I burned with passion;
I was tainted with cruelty;
I wanted to march in the wind,
To tear the silence with gay music,
And to slash the sober green
Until it sobbed and bled.
The tulips have found me out.
~Florence Ripley Mastin “Discovery”
I travel gray misty pathways of day to day existence, quietly below the radar and scarcely noticeable. It is a peaceful life, quiet and unassuming, utterly routine.
Yet predictability and acceptability shatters sometimes without much notice — my inner red tulip is found out, fighting for freedom, however briefly.
You can’t say you haven’t been warned…
Summer was our best season:
it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots,
or trying to sleep in the tree house;
summer was everything good to eat;
it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape…
~Harper Lee from “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
~William Martin from The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents
I will try.
I will step from the house to see what I see and hear and I will praise it…
But this too, I believe, is a place
where God is keeping watch
until we rise, and step forth again…
~Mary Oliver from “Red Bird”
There may be restrictions to a summer’s happiness,
but the ease that belongs to simplicity
is charming enough to make up for
whatever a simple life may lack…
~Sarah Orne Jewett from The Country of the Pointed Firs