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Is it possible there is a certain
kind of beauty as large as the trees
that survive the five-hundred-year fire
the fifty-year flood, trees we can’t
comprehend even standingIMG_1544
beside them with outstretched arms
to gauge their span,
a certain kind of beauty
so strong, so deeply concealed
in relationship—black truffle
to red-backed vole to spotted owl
to Douglas fir, bats and gnats,
beetles and moss, flying squirrel
and the high-rise of a snag,
each needing and feeding the other—

a conversation so quiet
the human world can vanish into it.
A beauty moves in such a place
like snowmelt sieving through
the fungal mats that underlie andIMG_5706
interlace the giant firs, tunneling
under streams where cutthroat fry
live a meter deep in gravel,
fluming downstream over rocks
that have a hold on place
lasting longer than most nations,
sluicing under deadfall spanners
that rise and float to let floodwaters pass,
a beauty that fills the space of the forest
with music that can erupt as
varied thrush or warbler, calypso
orchid or stream violet, forest
a conversation not an argument,
a beauty gathering such clarity and force
it breaks the mind’s fearful hold on its
little moment steeping it in a more dense
intelligibility, within which centuries
and distances answer each other
and speak at last with one and the same voice.

Alison Hawthorne Deming
With lines from Claude Levi-Strauss


Categories: Nature ScapesTags: ,


  1. Love the leaf and the spiral – so indicative of nature and the Fibonacci mysteries of the universe :-).

    • Thank you so much, Angela. That’s one of my favorites, too. It was a day where I had just finished chopping off the tendrils of pumpkins that kept invading my garden. After clean-up, I found one little remaining spiral on a lone leaf. It’s why I keep my camera and iPhone with me–nature sneaks in little treasures every day–we just have to look for them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      *note to self: read about Fibonacci mysteries of the universe*

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