On the trail of the big bad wolf....
Last call....

Into the Woods, 15: Living Wild

Bluebells 1

"Thomas Merton wrote, 'there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.' There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.

"I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock -- more than a maple -- a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you."

  - Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Bluebells 2

"Maybe freedom really is nothing left to lose. You had it once in childhood, when it was okay to climb a tree, to paint a crazy picture and wipe out on your bike, to get hurt. The spirit of risk gradually takes its leave. It follows the wild cries of joy and pain down the wind, through the hedgerow, growing ever fainter. What was that sound? A dog barking far off? That was our life calling to us, the one that was vigorous and undefended and curious.” 

Peter Heller (Hell or High Water)

Bluebells 3

“If it's wild to your own heart, protect it. Preserve it. Love it. And fight for it, and dedicate yourself to it, whether it's a mountain range, your wife, your husband, or even (god forbid) your job. It doesn't matter if it's wild to anyone else: if it's what makes your heart sing, if it's what makes your days soar like a hawk in the summertime, then focus on it. Because for sure, it's wild, and if it's wild, it'll mean you're still free. No matter where you are.”  ― Rick Bass

Bluebells 4

“There are so many unsung heroines and heroes at this broken moment in our collective story, so many courageous persons who, unbeknownst to themselves, are holding together the world by their resolute love or contagious joy. Although I do not know your names, I can feel you out there.”   - David Abram

"It is never too late to be what you might have been.
"  - George Elliot

Bluebells 5



“Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you." - Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

These are our only real coins, spend them wisely:
oak promise in the acorn held in one hand,
sun caught in a flower’s spreading petals,
bear tracks on the dusty path, coyote scat,
touch of trailing ivy on your cheek,
creek mud spreading between your toes,
water rifflling over twenty-one stones,

an afternoon of wisdom, a moment of truth.

©2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

Lovely. I entirely agree with you and Annie...but, being an American-born woman of my age, have to often remind myself that I'm not just "wasting time" when I do so. Quite the opposite. It is at such moments that I am most truly alive.


Oh that "wasting time" thing, Terri... yes, I've struggled with that, but now understand how these moments are the well-spring of my creativity. The space to be and wander and play deeply nourishes my imagination - or maybe it nourishes the place from which my imagination is born - something like that.

Oh thank you Terri....this post makes me want to run out of this building...away from work...and start spinning in a field of flowers!!! Retirement will come none too soon :) 18 months and counting...love to you & family...and as always kiss to the tip of Tilly's nose!!!

Hello Terri,

I enjoyed this!

In 1999 I spent five months alone in a mountain cabin. It remains one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had. For years before that however occasionally when I walked through the woods I'd notice a single strand of a spiderweb crossing from one side of a trail all the way over to the other side without touching anything in the middle. Like a telephone wire stretches from one pole to the next. Sometimes the webs were at face height sometimes they were well above my head. I wondered how a spider could string a web all the way from one side of a trail to the other? One of those small mysteries…

One day at about 12 noon I was standing on the porch of the cabin, it was one of those picture-post card beautiful days, bright and sunny, clear as could be. From the corner of my eye I noticed something hanging from the roof and moving a few inches from my head. It was a very small black spider about 1/8 of an inch in diameter and it was dangling from a six inch strand of web shining silver from the bright sun. As I watched the spider I noticed another very long strand coming 'from' it. It was shooting this strand off into the green ether of the woods. This long strand was slowly billowing from the slight breeze. As I watched the spider it then jettisoned itself along that long billowing strand. It was about a 25 foot distance to the nearest tree. It disappeared into the brush, too small to see after a few feet. I stood there and just said to myself…"ah-ha! That's how they do it!" There's a lot we can learn by just being in, or in this case, near the woods.
Hope all is well. - Richard

"Sometimes it is necessary to howl, no matter who you wake up." - The Persistence of Yellow

Five months in a mountain cabin? How wonderful, Richard. It must have been an amazing experience for you, both as an artist and a lover of nature. Oh, I'd love to do that someday....

I love that.

The comments to this entry are closed.