“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin

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“Societies in decline have no use for visionaries.” — Anais Nin

“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.'” — The Talmud

The swallows disappear in an instant replaced by the low hovering Goshawk, its soft silver blue grey made visible against the sky tones by the fluttering knife shapes of his black wing tips. He looks deep and hard, into the calf-high forage, for gophers, mice, and snake. Eighteen inches above orchard grass tops he hangs forever then, with stiff extended wings he tilts and banks to capture the wind which carries him kite-like in a taut floating curve to his next observation-hover where with a corrective shift to horizontal he stops midair. He’s working. Working hard to feed himself. He is in pleasure; in complete harmony with this world which owns him. Backing away some from the picture, to my eye the Goshawk blends and disappears and the view is of a particular balanced fertility and beauty. Squinting again to zoom in and reclaim the focus of the hawk I realize that the poetry and fertility of this place and this time, our time, is four dimensional. — Lynn Miller, “Economic Fertility”, 1999

“Only the great generalizations survive. The sharp words of the Declaration of Independence, lampooned then and since as ‘glittering generalities’, have turned out blazing ubiquities that will burn forever and ever.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

SLOW LEARNERS: Taking students on field trips to the zoo, one of the observations they would make over and over is how most animals eating fruit approach or attack the blossom end. Of course once they noticed it, I’d ask why (and why humans don’t do it that way) and wait for their answers. While most humans peel bananas from the stem down, monkeys and gorillas always bite and peel up from the blossom end. Then eat that way too. Most insects burrowing into my apples also start at the blossom end. That must be the sweet and easy way to do it, and we might be slow learners. — PH

“A farmer’s horse is never lame, never unfit to go. Never throws out curbs, never breaks down before or behind. Like his master he is never showy. He does not paw and prance, and arch his neck, and bid the world admire his beauties … and when he is wanted, he can always do his work.” — Anthony Trollope

SALT LICKS: Grazing animals’ tongues are a force of nature. Flexible, subtle, wordless, unspeakably strong, they reach around to draw in grasses drenched with morning dew. On a salt block the tongues of horses and cattle, elk and deer, goats and sheep, even badgers and possums, can create shapes that remind us of the sandstone hoo-doos sculpted by wind and water in the badlands. The mind of man conjures cathedrals underground, castles on high promontories. And how does this sculpture come about? Sheer happenstance. Each individual tongue of each animal, rough or smooth, licks until it has had enough, and moves on. — PH

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