Excerpt from Diane Ackerman’s essay “The Moon by Whale Light” from the same-titled book (1992).
“Do whales have emotions like ours? I wondered. How intelligent are they? Do they have minds of the sort that would be familiar to us?
After all, mind is such an odd predicament for matter to get into. I often marvel how something like hydrogen, the simplest atom, forged in some early chaos of the universe, could lead to us and the gorgeous fever we call consciousness.
Inspiring quotes I encountered today…both shared in the book The Wisdom of Yoga by Stephen Cope.
“Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the elders. Rather, seek what they sought” (Zen poet Matsuo Basho)
“You think in your idle hours that there is literature, history, science behind you so accumulated as to exhaust thought and prescribe your own future. In your sane hour, you shall see that not a line has yet been written; that for all the poetry that is in the world your first sensation on entering a wood or standing on the shore of a lake has not been charted yet. It remains for you; so does all thought, all objects, all life remain unwritten still” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Excerpts from the final essay of Gary Snyder’s book The Practice of the Wild (1990). The essay’s title is “Survival and Sacrament.”
It’s not that I agree or disagree with everything written by Mr. Snyder, but rather something in these snippets poked at me. While reading, I frowned and I chuckled. I was surprised, hopeful and somber after reading this book and I look forward to discussing it with my daughter, who is also reading it as part of our 2-person book club!
“It is said that about a million and a half species of animals and plants have been scientifically described, and that there are anywhere from ten to thirty million species of organisms on earth. Over half of all the species on earth are thought to live in the moist tropical forests (Wilson, 1989, 108). About half of those forests, in Asia, Africa, and South America, are already gone. (At the same time there are seven million homeless children on the streets of Brazil. Are vanishing trees being reborn as unwanted children?) A clearcut or even a mile-wide strip-mine pit will heal in geological time. The extinction of a species, each one a pilgrim of four billion years of evolution, is an irreversible loss. The ending of the lines of so many creatures with whom we have traveled this far is an occasion of profound sorrow and grief. Death can be accepted and to some degree transformed. But the loss of lineages and all their future young is not something to accept. It must be rigorously and intelligently resisted.”