ALL THINGS LITERARY. ALL THINGS NATURAL.

A blog for those who desire a more creative relationship with the natural world.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Small Heart of Things

I love what the title and subtitle of Julian Hoffman's collection of essays, being at home in a beckoning world, imply: 

It is the small heart of nature’s wonders as much as the grand vistas that we should seek. 

In his chapter on Karst country, Julian Hoffman writes, “No streams silver the valleys, no pools or ponds collect snapshots of the sky…I’m alone, and waiting for birds. When they come – singing in the near dark of fledging from the meadows – I record their names and details … The songs always reach me before their forms darken the sky.” 

We humans talk too much and listen too seldom.  I remember standing in a crowd at the edge of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii in a drenching mist that obscured the glowing red embers spewing into the sky.  Loud, complaining voices made it impossible to hear the volcano. We moved to a far corner of the observation deck and straining, could hear the deep and powerful rumbling.  I closed my eyes and listened – Kilauea was speaking.  Every cell in my body felt the eruption, even though my eyes could not see the fiery glow.  I could feel and hear Kilauea’s labored contractions as this new, fertile soil flowed from her womb.

In The Small Heartof Things, Hoffman asks us to be attentive to details, to still our busyness and wait, to tune into the heart of things with patient senses - smelling, touching, tasting, hearing, watching.  But perhaps the most important sense, and the one we humans too often ignore, is our sense of wonder and awe. 
Note:  Watch Julian's 5-minute, inspiring book trailer