A Faint Music by Robert HassMaybe you need to write a poem about grace.When everything broken is broken,and everything dead is dead,and the hero has looked into the mirror with complete contempt,and the heroine has studied her face and its defectsremorselessly and the pain they thought might,as a token of their earnestness, release them from themselveshas lost its novelty and not released them,and they have begun to think, kindly and distantly,watching the others go about their days—likes and dislikes, reasons, habits, fears—that self-love is the one weedy stalkof every human blossoming and understood,therefore, why they had been, all their lives,in such a fury to defend it and that no one—except some almost inconceivable saint in his poolof poverty and silence—can escape this violent, automaticlife’s companion ever, maybe then, ordinary light,faint music under things, a hovering like grace appears.As in the story a friend told once about the timehe tried to kill himself. His girl had left him.Bees in the heart, then scorpions, maggots and then ash.He climbed onto the jumping girder of the bridge,the bay side, a blue, lucid afternoon.And in the salt air he thought about the word seafood,that there was something faintly ridiculous about it.No one said landfood. He thought it was degrading to the rainbow perchhe’d reeled in gleaming from the cliffs, the black rockbass,scales like polished carbon, in beds of kelpalong the coast—and he realized that the reason for the wordwas crabs, or mussels, clams. Otherwisethe restaurants could just put fish up on their signs,and when he woke—he’d slept for hours, curled upon the girder like a child—the sun was going downand he felt a little better and afraid. He put on the jackethe’d used for a pillow, climbed over the railingcarefully and drove home to an empty house.There was a pair of her lemon yellow pantieshanging on a doorknob. He studied them. Much-washed.A faint russet in the crotch that made him sickwith rage and grief. He knew more or lesswhere she was. A flat somewhere on Russian Hill.They’d have just finished making love. She’d have tearsin her eyes and touch his jawbone gratefully. God,she’d say, you are so good for me. Winking lights,a foggy view downhill toward the harbor and the bay.You’re sad, he’d say. Yes. Thinking about Nick?Yes, she’d say and cry. I tried so hard, sobbing now,I really tried so hard. And then he’d hold her for a while—Guatemalan weavings from his fieldwork on the wall—and then they’d fuck again and she would cry some more,and go to sleep.And he, he would play that sceneonce only, once and a half and tell himselfthat he was going to carry it for a very long timeand that there was nothing he could dobut carry it. He went out onto the porch and listenedto the forest in the summer dark, madrone barkcracking and curling as the cold came up.It’s not the story though, not the friendleaning toward you, saying And then I realized—,which is the part of stories one never quite believes.I had the idea that the world’s so full of painit must sometimes make a kind of singing.And that the sequence helps, as much as order helps—First an ego and then pain and then the singing
Robert Hass
The Blue Mind Rx StatementOur wild waters provide vast cognitive, emotional, physical, psychological, social and spiritual values for people from birth, through adolescence, adulthood, older age and in death; wild waters provide a useful, widely available and affordable range of treatments healthcare practitioners can incorporate into treatment plans.The world ocean and all waterways, including lakes, rivers and wetlands (collectively, blue space), cover over 71% of our planet. Keeping them healthy, clean, accessible and biodiverse is critical to human health and well-being. In addition to fostering more widely documented ecological, economic and cultural diversities, our mental well-being, emotional diversity and resiliency also rely on the global ecological integrity of our waters.Blue space gives us half of our oxygen, provides billions of people with jobs and food, holds the majority of Earth's biodiversity including species and ecosystems, drives climate and weather, regulates temperature and is the sole source of hydration and hygiene for humanity throughout history. Neuroscientists and psychologists add that the ocean and wild waterways are a wellspring of happiness and relaxation, sociality and romance, peace and freedom, play and creativity, learning and memory, innovation and insight, elation and nostalgia, confidence and solitude, wonder and awe, empathy and compassion, reverence and beauty — and help manage trauma, anxiety, sleep, autism, addiction, fitness, attention/focus, stress, grief, PTSD, build personal resilience and much more.Chronic stress and anxiety cause or intensify a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease and more. Being on, in and near water can be among the most cost-effective ways of reducing stress and anxiety.We encourage healthcare professionals and advocates for the ocean, seas, lakes and rivers to go deeper and incorporate the latest findings, research and insights into their treatment plans, communications, reports, mission statements, strategies, grant proposals, media, exhibits, keynotes and educational programs and to consider the following simple talking points: •Water is the essence of life: The ocean, healthy rivers, lakes and wetlands are good for our minds and bodies.•Research shows that nature is therapeutic, promotes general health and well-being and blue space in both urban and rural settings further enhances and broadens cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, physical and spiritual benefits.•All people should have safe access to salubrious, wild, biodiverse waters for well-being, healing and therapy.•Aquatic biodiversity has been directly correlated with the therapeutic potency of blue space. Immersive human interactions with healthy aquatic ecosystems can benefit both.•Wild waters can serve as medicine for caregivers, patient families and all who are part of patients’ circles of support.•Realization of the full range and potential magnitude of ecological, economic, physical, intrinsic and emotional values of wild places requires us to understand, appreciate, maintain and improve the integrity and purity of one of our most vital of medicines — water.
Wallace J. Nichols
LEXICOGRAPHER, n. A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods. For your lexicographer, having written his dictionary, comes to be considered as one having authority, whereas his function is only to make a record, not to give a law. The natural servility of the human understanding having invested him with judicial power, surrenders its right of reason and submits itself to a chronicle as if it were a statue. Let the dictionary (for example) mark a good word as obsolete or obsolescent and few men thereafter venture to use it, whatever their need of it and however desirable its restoration to favor — whereby the process of improverishment is accelerated and speech decays. On the contrary, recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow at all, makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense, has no following and is tartly reminded that it isn't in the dictionary — although down to the time of the first lexicographer (Heaven forgive him!) no author ever had used a word that was in the dictionary. In the golden prime and high noon of English speech; when from the lips of the great Elizabethans fell words that made their own meaning and carried it in their very sound; when a Shakespeare and a Bacon were possible and the language now rapidly perishing at one end and slowly renewed at the other was in vigorous growth and hardy preservation — sweeter than honey and stronger than a lion — the lexicographer was a person unknown, the dictionary a creation which his Creator had not created him to create.'s Dictionary
Ambrose Bierce
You Are What You EatTake food for example. We all assume that our craving or disgust is due to something about the food itself - as opposed to being an often arbitrary response preprogrammed by our culture. We understand that Australians prefer cricket to baseball, or that the French somehow find Gerard Depardieu sexy, but how hungry would you have to be before you would consider plucking a moth from the night air and popping it, frantic and dusty, into your mouth? Flap, crunch, ooze. You could wash it down with some saliva beer.How does a plate of sheep brain's sound? Broiled puppy with gravy? May we interest you in pig ears or shrimp heads? Perhaps a deep-fried songbird that you chew up, bones, beak and all? A game of cricket on a field of grass is one thing, but pan-fried crickets over lemongrass? That's revolting.Or is it? If lamb chops are fine, what makes lamb brains horrible? A pig's shoulder, haunch and belly are damn fine eatin', but the ears, snout and feet are gross? How is lobster so different from grasshopper? Who distinguishes delectable from disgusting and what's their rationale? And what about all the expectations? Grind up those leftover pig parts, stuff 'em in an intestine and you've got yourself respectable sausage or hot dogs. You may think bacon and eggs just go together, like French fries and ketchup or salt and pepper. But the combination of bacon and eggs for breakfast was dreamed up about a hundred years aqo by an advertising hired to sell more bacon and the Dutch eat their fries with mayonnaise, not ketchup.Think it's rational to be grossed out by eating bugs? Think again. A hundred grams of dehydrated cricket contains 1,550 milligrams of iron, 340 milligrams of calcium and 25 milligrams of zinc - three minerals often missing in the diets of the chronic poor. Insects are richer in minerals and healthy fats than beef or pork. Freaked out by the exoskeleton, antennae and the way too many legs? Then stick to the Turf and forget the Surf because shrimps, crabs and lobsters are all anthropods, just like grasshoppers. And they eat the nastiest of what sinks to the bottom of the ocean, so don't talk about bugs' disgusting diets. Anyway, you may have bug parts stuck between your teeth right now. The Food and Drug Administration tells its inspectors to ignore insect parts in black pepper unless they find more than 475 of them per 50 grams, on average. A fact sheet from Ohio State University estimates that Americans unknowingly eat an average of between one and two pounds of insects per year.An Italian professor recently published Ecological Implications of Mini-livestock: Potential of Insects, Rodents, Frogs and Snails. (Minicowpokes sold separately.) Writing in Slate.com, William Saletan tells us about a company by the name of Sunrise Land Shrimp. The company's logo: Mmm. That's good Land Shrimp! Three guesses what Land Shrimp is. (20-21)
Christopher Ryan