Thursday, October 21, 2010

October Cosmos

I've started a new habit which involves Carl Sagan. After countless searches for small tidbits of daily aspirations, I found videos mostly from the early 80's of Carl Sagan. Sure, we usually associate this parka and turtleneck wearing scientist with earnest and larger ideas like the cosmos. But I started to dig a bit deeper into his lesser known clips on whale communication for example. I started listening more to his well enunciated speech and found moments of unabashed poetry. I even started to find myself mimicking his words in my head. But really, it's his enthusiasm for the unknown which struck me as something worth noting, something worthy. Something fresh in a world of handing out digitized facts.

But there will always be facts. The facts are, October is here. Here in Missoula, we have a few trees changing, enough for a midwesterner to feel a sense of the familiar. I often joke that I wonder where in the world is it autumn all year long? For the colors, the paling sun, the occasional warmth that feels so welcoming and really a gift before all the coming gray. We've had one of the nicest Octobers with a lot of warm days, so many that my cosmos (pictured first) stayed open and vibrant up until two days ago. Up until two days ago, we hadn't had a frost. The other photo shows how green our late summer into fall remained with all the August rain. And what does autumn have to do with Carl Sagan?

Carl Sagan seemed to have a desire for more questions, didn't quit with just facts. It's like his mind was an autumning of questions. A limbo of transition and wonderment. So often I flip through information like I am sure so many of us do only to land in a sea of facts on weight loss, facts on happiness, facts on better communication, facts on deals, facts on more facts. So much information to drown in instead of swim or even just a casual float with a view of stars. The internet can really drag someone down with web-entangled searches only to have spent an hour lost to the universe, lost to the god of wasted mental space.

But I must say, I am grateful for all the clips of Carl on the web. Watching Carl clips feels like reading a good poem. Sure, we know stars and the word galaxy or whale, but with Carl at the helm, it's usually a safe and surreal sail. So I want to share with you a great clip of Carl doing a whale song. The vulnerability seems present, but purposeful. I love it. Just Carl against the wind and the mast with his song of whales. It's like some ancient bard coming up from some sea to give us a hint of what is going on below. And maybe that's just it. Carl gives us a look into something we have known since birth, the moon, stars, seasons and the once report each of us gave on Pluto in front of our first grade class. We cut out planets and paper rings of Saturn, but it was during a time when we were open to wonderment. With so many facts, we can lose our wonderment, our openness, our body as atrium to what it beyond our computer screen. Enjoy the clip. Enjoy the poem.


I stopped believing in birds for awhile.

A nun said my heart was broken, before

I even started dating. A parrot

in an unlocked cage waits to start singing.

To mimic off-key is song, but not song

of yourself. Before the cross of Romans,

men followed the flight of swallows to build

temples as nests for their gods. But I can’t

live in city gardens, more poppy

along train tracks in Poland. I’ve learned

to field myself in countries, to rejoice

the potato is to see the pigeon

as dove. Divorce yourself from the body

as burden. You’re an atrium of love.

1 comment:

  1. I love your writings so much Em. You always bring me back to exactly this, a world of wonderment. Thank you.