about bliss

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

daily bliss: interconnectedness

I'm drinking hot-turning-to-tepid Zen tea this morning, listening to classical music on Wisconsin Public Radio, and smelling the heady fragrance of the lilacs I plucked from the backyard for my little desk as I search for a topic thread for this, my 400th blog post.

I'm thinking about the interconnectedness of things, as illustrated yesterday afternoon. I decided to walk to the local indie bookstore to buy Michael Perry's latest book, Coop, after reading a few pages of B's copy. On my way to the store, I ran into N, the woman who works at the coffee shop and helps out on the T's farm with me. I continued walking down the street, noticing the delicate lilies of the valley, the peony buds swollen but not yet blossoming, the gentle natural bird song (a change from the ersatz bird calls as tweets stream in on my MacBook).

At the bookstore, B told me the book was sold out but another shipment should arrive within an hour. I happily browsed the store, reading pages of random books, and enjoying the freedom to while away an afternoon amongst the pages of someone else's prose. K stopped in, and we chatted about the Urban Agriculture tour we're planning. The books arrived as I was perusing the shelves of *free* advance reader copies, and shortly thereafter, local poet K arrived with the first box of her book--a gorgeous interplay of watercolor artwork and poetry. We talked about her upcoming reading, the poetry slam I'm helping plan, and my friend C, another local poet.

I left the shop laden with five books and one poster for K's reading, walking into the increasingly chilly East wind, when I saw my colleague/friend A across the street. "I'm listening to Randall Jarrett read poetry! I left copies of my poetry CD's in your mailbox!"

I arrived home to an email from the aforementioned poet C, saying he's glad to participate in the poetry slam, and noting that several people have contacted him about his books since his reading here in April, one of them being my friend G...

And, everything is connected. And the world both shrinks and expands as you learn to pay attention to the moments, the words, the people around you. There's a glimpse of how the world really works--not in separate, discrete fragments as the modernists would have us believe, or in ironic, little narratives as the post-modernists would have it, but rather in one great interconnected web, as Buddhism, Native traditions, and Eco-feminists assert. These moments of revelation are easy to miss if you're not attuned to paying attention. As Annie Dillard writes, "The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment when the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam." (Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

And we witness something at once mysterious and sustaining.

And then what?

Then comes the rigor of capturing those moments, of following their trail somehow, as poet Gary Snyder writes:

"Lay down these words
Before your mind like rocks." (Snyder, "Riprap")


  1. They're coming out with a 50th anniversary of Gary Snyder's Riprap - I talked with his editor last weekend at BEA. Good stuff - that's something I'll actually run out and buy.

  2. awesome--i'll have to buy that! thanks for letting me know, macduff!