This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
― from “The Waking”, Theodore Roethke, The Collected Poems
The smell of cars’ smoke
as I wade through traffic
overshadows the fresh
fragrance of Mother Earth
drenched in rain. There can
be no greater testimony
to man’s progress.
In the same way that the picturesque designers were always careful to include some reminder of our mortality in their gardens — a ruin, sometimes even a dead tree — the act of leaving parts of the garden untended, and calling attention to its margins, seems to undermine any pretense to perfect power or wisdom on the part of the gardener. The margins of our gardens can be tropes too, but figures of irony rather than transcendence — antidotes, in fact, to our hubris. It may be in the margins of our gardens that we can discover fresh ways to bring our aesthetics and our ethics about the land into some meaningful alignment.
When Thomas Edison worked late into the night on the electric light, he had to do it by gas lamp or candle. I’m sure it made the work seem that much more urgent.
—George Carlin, Napalm and Silly Putty
If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.