The Universe is a continuous web

During my last year of college I started keeping a little notebook of quotes I liked from books I read. Thankfully I managed to hold onto that little notebook through countless moves, and I’ve found myself flipping through it these days. I called it my quote book, but I recently learned it could be considered a “commonplace book,” a scrapbook of ideas, quotes, recipes and references.

Some of the books I read ten years ago — any in common?

Last month I started another commonplace book for inspiring quotes and ideas. But it’s not the same. I’m noticing a lack of depth and timelessness(?) in my current book compared to my old quote book from ten years ago. Which makes sense, since my commonplace book simply reflects what I’ve been consuming: a lot of Instagram hand lettering quotes and pithy Tweets. I’m seeing how nutritionally deficient my reading diet has been lately. Too many bite-sized candies and not enough hearty meals. So that’s something to work on this month.

Today I wanted to share the first entries from my old quote book. They are bits from the book The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden by Stanley Kunitz. All these years later, I remember the warm and nourishing feeling this book gave me as I read it. I would recommend it to all, but especially to my blogger friends who love to garden. I’ve added some photos from my recent trail walks.

The universe is a continuous web. Touch it any point and the whole web quivers.

From my hike this morning, Seoul

One of the greatest satisfactions of the human spirit is to feel that one’s family extends across the borders of species and belongs to everything that lives.

The Wild Braid, 54

The antiquity of a tree is a concentration of cosmic energy

The Wild Braid, 61

We are all candidates for composting. So we cannot approach the compost heap without a feeling of connection.

The Wild Braid, 65 (This one always makes me chuckle.)

How could you be an artist if you didn’t explore your own inner life?

The Wild Braid, 101

And finally, one of my favorite poems. Despite these uncertain times, I hope it provides a little hope for the new day ahead.

Light splashed this morning
on the shell-pink anemones
swaying on their tall stems;
down blue-spiked veronica
light flowed in rivulets
over the humps of the honeybees;
this morning I saw light kiss
the silk of the roses
in their second flowering,
my late bloomers
flushed with their brandy.
A curious gladness shook me.

So I have shut the doors of my house,
so I have trudged downstairs to my cell,
so I am sitting in semi-dark
hunched over my desk
with nothing for a view
to tempt me
but a bloated compost heap,
steamy old stinkpile,
under my window;
and I pick my notebook up
and I start to read aloud
the still-wet words I scribbled
on the blotted page:
“Light splashed . . .”

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.

The Round by Stanley Kunitz

11 Comments

  1. I beginning to wonder if we were sisters separated at birth. πŸ˜› I, too, have written a list of books read and like to collect quotes! I eventually transferred them to the computer and even shared them on my FB, back when sharing documents/pages on FB was done.

    Perfect poem for these times (any time, really)!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love your photos and quotes! Sounds definitely like a book I should read!! (Too bad libraries are closed. πŸ˜‚) From your list I’ve read only On Chesil Beach and Persuasion. 😊 But I’m trusting you that the others will be just as great and.put them on my tbr. πŸ˜‰

    Like

    1. I think you would enjoy it Sarah! I really loved Chesil Beach for a time being because I remember how heartbreaking the idea of “what could have been” was. As for the other books I read back then, I don’t know if I recommend them all. But I do remember enjoying The Jane Austen Book Club (by Karen Joy Fowler) and People of the Book (by Geraldine Books). Happy reading ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We were just talking around the dinner table a couple of nights ago about how our reading diet greatly affects how our minds wander & create. And how we don’t know many people read regularly anymore.

    So, your post reinforces the need to keep reading, even though there are so many other distractions tugging for our attention πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really does. I am grateful for social media in many ways, but it is engineered to hijack our time and attention. I’ve begun to replace that scrolling time with long-form reading–hoping the habit sticks!β™‘

      Like

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