Say you could view a time-lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, an infinite storm of beauty.The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth’s face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by a widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up-mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back.A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too swift and intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash frames. Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread and then crumble, like patches of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck and wither in a hour. New cities appear and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues that roamed the earth’s surface, are a wavering blur whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any images. The great herds of caribou pour into the valleys and trickle back and pour, a brown fluid. Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, like a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows and vanishes. This is your life.
Annie Dillard
Of the not very many ways known of shedding one's body, falling, falling, falling is the supreme method, but you have to select your sill or ledge very carefully so as not to hurt yourself or others. Jumping from a high bridge is not recommended even if you cannot swim, for wind and water abound in weird contingencies and tragedy ought not to culminate in a record dive or a policeman's promotion. If you rent a cell in the luminous waffle, room 1915 or 1959, in a tall business centre hotel browing the star dust and pull up the window and gently - not fall, not jump - but roll out as you should for air comfort, there is always the chance of knocking clean through into your own hell a pacific noctambulator walking his dog; in this respect a back room might be safer, especially if giving on the roof of an old tenacious normal house far below where a cat may be trusted to flash out of the way. Another popular take-off is a mountaintop with a sheer drop of say 500 meters but you must find it, because you will be surprised how easy it is to miscalculate your deflection offset and have some hidden projection, some fool of a crag, rush forth to catch you, causing you to bounce off it into the brush, thwarted, mangled and unnecessarily alive. The ideal drop is from an aircraft, your muscles relaxed, your pilot puzzled, your packed parachute shuffled off, cast off, shrugged off - farewell, shootka (little chute)! Down you go, but all the while you feel suspended and buoyed as you somersault in slow motion like a somnolent tumbler pigeon and sprawl supine on the eiderdown of the air, or lazily turn to embrace your pillow, enjoying every last instant of soft, deep, death-padded life, with the earth's green seesaw now above, now below and the voluptuous crucifixion, as you stretch yourself in the growing rush, in the nearing swish and then your loved body's obliteration in the Lap of the Lord.
Vladimir Nabokov
NAMING THE EARTH(a poem of light for national poetry day)And the world will be born againin circles of steaming breathand beams of lightas each one of us directsour inner eyeupon its name.Hear the cry of wings,the sigh of leaves and grass,smell the new sweet mist risingas the pathway is cleared at last.Stones stand ready -they have knownsince ages and ages agothat they were not alone.Water carries the planet's energyinto skies and down to earth and bones.The cold parts steadily as we come together,bodies and hearts warm,hands tingling.We are silentbut our eyes are singing.We look, we feel, we know,we trust each other's souls,we have no need to speak.Not now, but later,when the time is right,the name will ringwithin the iron coreof each other's listening -and the very earth's being.Every creature, every plant,will hear it calling,tolling like a bell -a sound we've always feltbut never dared to hopeto hear reverberating -true at last, at every levelof existence.The poets come togetherto open the intimate centre.Believein life and air -breathe the light itself,for these are the energiesand rhythms that we needto see, to touch, to reach,to identify, to say, the NAME.Colours on your skinfuse and dissolve -leave the river cleanfor pure space and timeto enter and flow in.We all become one fluid streamof stillness and motion,of flaring thoughtpulses discoveringweird pools and twists withinwhere darkness hidesfrom the flames in our eyesbut will not snare us.We probe deeper still,journeying towards a unitywhich will be more rawand yet also more formedthan anything writtenor spoken before.Our fragile bodiesfall away -and the trees and the roots of trees,guide us -lead us awayfrom the faces we rememberseeing each day in the mirror -into an oceanof dreamsseething with warmth,love,where the beginningis real,ripe, evolving.And the world is born againin circles of steaming breathand beams of light.An ache - a signal -a trembling moment -and the time is rightto say the name.We sing as one wholevoice of the universal -all the words, the namesof every tiny thirsting thing,and they ring out togetheras one sound,one energy, one sense,one vibration, one breath.And the world listens,beats, shines, glows -IS -Exists!
Jay Woodman
He was perfectly astonished with the historical account gave him of our affairs during the last century; protesting it was only a heap of conspiracies, rebellions, murders, massacres, revolutions, banishments, the very worst effects that avarice, faction, hypocrisy, perfidiousness, cruelty, rage, madness, hatred, envy, lust, malice and ambition, could produce.His majesty, in another audience, was at the pains to recapitulate the sum of all I had spoken; compared the questions he made with the answers I had given; then taking me into his hands and stroking me gently, delivered himself in these words, which I shall never forget, nor the manner he spoke them in: My little friend Grildrig, you have made a most admirable panegyric upon your country; you have clearly proved, that ignorance, idleness and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator; that laws are best explained, interpreted and applied, by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding and eluding them. I observe among you some lines of an institution, which, in its original, might have been tolerable, but these half erased and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions. It does not appear, from all you have said, how any one perfection is required toward the procurement of any one station among you; much less, that men are ennobled on account of their virtue; that priests are advanced for their piety or learning; soldiers, for their conduct or valour; judges, for their integrity; senators, for the love of their country; or counsellors for their wisdom. As for yourself, continued the king, who have spent the greatest part of your life in travelling, I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many vices of your country. But by what I have gathered from your own relation and the answers I have with much pains wrung and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.'s Travels
Jonathan Swift