How Have You Conversed with Something Bigger?

Hi, all–I’ve got a question to ask you guys, if you wouldn’t mind posting a response: how have you conversed with something bigger than yourself? Beal’s post talks about talking directly with a place. How have you done the same, and how might you further create communication?

Recently, I read poetry to my site. Close to sunset, I stood out in the dusk of the field and read a series of spoken word and Beat poems, all by female poets, to the site. Little by little, first one bird, then six flew up into the bare branches of a cottonwood tree. Three or four poems in, the birds were swooping and diving in unison down from the tree and back into it again. Mallard ducks quacked and flew so close to me while reading that I heard their wings beating a few feet above my head. Chains of geese honked overhead from the mountains dimming into far, vague blue distance as the sun dipped behind them and colored my page salmon pink, then gray, then gone. By the time I wrapped up, most of the bird cacophony was done, and I set off for home in left-over patches of snow chilly in the cold dip of the field. Even if all I did was contribute to the close-of-day noise, it felt right to do so with some old favorite poems and a few I’d never read before.

What are other ways to communicate? And what are some ways to perhaps use that as an empathizing or visualization tool to continue Morton’s Ecological Thought? Please humor me and see if we can build a chain.

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3 thoughts on “How Have You Conversed with Something Bigger?

  1. I have enjoyed “forgetting” the names of the beings I see and letting go of my accustomed feeling that I know what they are. Instead, I observe them as the strange strangers they really, and never-endingly, are. I find that this maneuver renews my excitement at their appearances and abilities and increases my amazement at the mesh which brings us into contact and entangles our lives.

  2. When I taught kids’ yoga, we practiced a mindful eating exercise in which I passed around a bowl of strawberries. We sat in a circle as each child held one. I asked them to describe what the strawberries looked, smelled, and felt like. I then asked them to think about what goes into growing a strawberry- the farmer/s, the weather, the land, the people who pick the berries, the trucks that take the berries to the grocery store, etc. We said “thank you” to all the different people and processes responsible for bringing us this single berry. We all took just one little bite (SO hard for them), holding it in our mouths for a little while before swallowing, and described what the berry felt and tasted like. At the end, I finally let them eat the whole thing. I find it funny that this is the example that comes to my mind when you ask for conversing with something bigger – I mean, it was literally a strawberry – and yet the strawberry’s very existence is enveloped in all these layers of effort, time, coincidence/luck, care, etc., etc. I suppose I was really asking the children to contemplate, for a moment, the infinite (the mesh!), and its omnipresence. ❤

  3. When we were on sabbatical in Costa Rica we had so many encounters with critters that it almost became commonplace–stenosaurs (25 lb lizzards), monkeys (howler, capuchin, spider), agouties (skunk like creatures), and birds birds birds, all the time. One moment stands out, though, on a solo hike to Cabo Blanco, the cap of rock that Balboa notes in his journals of 1530, when I encountered a mature ant eater. This thing weighted about 75 lbs and made a very chilling roar. We watched each other through a jungle thicket as he looked for grubs and looked at me looking at him for nearly a half hour. I felt him feeling me, if that makes any sense. Eventually, we both wandered off into the jungle…

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