"Then again, if physics is right, we shouldn't exist. You can watch ions hop across synapses, follow nerve impulses from nose to toes; nothing in any of those processes would lead you to expect the emergence of subjective awareness. Physics describes a world of intelligent zombies who do everything we do, except understand that they're doing it. That's what we should be, that's all we should be: meat and computation. Somehow the meat woke up. How the hell does that even work?"
- Peter Watts
The Arrival of the Past
You wake wanting the dream
you left behind in sleep,
water washing through everything,
clearing away sediment
of years, uncovering the lost
and forgotten. You hear the sun
breaking on cold grass,
on eaves, on stone steps
outside. You see light
igniting sparks of dust
in the air. You feel for the first
time in years the world
electrified with morning.
You know something has changed
in the night, something you thought
gone from the world has come back:
shooting stars in the pasture,
sleeping beneath a field
of daisies, wisteria climbing
over fences, houses, trees.
This is a place that smells
like childhood and old age.
It is a limb you swung from,
a field you go back to.
It is a part of whatever you do.
- Scott Owens
running after my hat
the writer's almanac
"The happiest day I ever had was any day when I woke in the morning when I was a boy and I did not have to go to school or to work. In the morning I was always hungry when I woke and I could smell the dew in the grass and hear the wind in the high branches of the hemlock trees, if there was a wind, and if there was no wind I could hear the quietness of the forest and the calmness of the lake and I would listen for the first noises of morning. Sometimes the first noise would be a kingfisher flying over the water that was so calm it mirrored his reflection and he made a clattering cry as he flew. Sometimes it would be a squirrel chittering in one of the trees outside the house, his tail jerking each time he made a noise. Often it would be the plover calling on the hillside. But whenever I woke and heard the first morning noises and felt hungry and knew I would not have to go to school nor have to work, I was happier than I have ever been."
- Ernest Hemingway
Islands in the Stream
the distance between two doors
Waking up is a parachute jump from dreams.
Free of the suffocating turbulence the traveler
sinks toward the green zone of morning.
Things flare up. From the viewpoint of the quivering lark
he is aware of the huge root systems of the trees,
their swaying underground lamps. But above ground
there's greenery - a tropical flood of it - with
lifted arms, listening
to the beat of an invisible pump. And he
sinks toward summer, is lowered
in it's dazzling crater, down
through shafts of green damp ages
trembling under the sun's turbine. Then it's checked,
this straight-down journey through the moment, and the wings spread
to the osprey's repose above rushing waters.
The bronze-age trumpet's
hovers above the bottomless depths.
In day's first hours consciousness can grasp the world
as the hand grips a sun-warmed stone.
The traveler is standing under a tree. After
the crash through death's turbulence, shall
a great light unfold above his head?
- Tomas Tranströmer
"Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious ruler uniting all of a divided country - so I was told by the fortune-teller who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps behind you; it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference? Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller. All the rest is hypothesis and dream."
- Louise Glück
Faithful and Virtuous Night
I step out and suddenly notice this.
Summer arrives, has arrived, is arriving.
Birds grow less than leaves although they cheep, dip, arc, a call across the tall fence from an invisible neighbor to his child is heard right down to the secret mood and the child also hears.
One hears in the silence that follows the great desire for approval and love which summer holds aloft, all damp leeched from it like a thing floating out on a frail but perfect twig end.
Light seeming to darken in it yet glow.
Please, it says, but not with the eager and need of spring.
Come what may, says summer, smack in the middle I will stand and breathe, the future is a super fluidity I do not taste, no, there is no numbering here, it is a gorgeous swelling, no emotion, as in this love is no emotions, no, also no memory. We have it all now and all there ever was is us now.
- Jorie Graham
from Later In Life
"Buddhists say that thoughts are like drops of water on the brain; when you reinforce the same thought, it will etch a new stream into your consciousness, like water eroding the side of a mountain. Scientists confirm this bit of folk wisdom: our neurons break connections and form new pathways all the time."
- Caitlin Doughty
"I seek the truth," said the young monk. "Where is the entrance to the path of Buddhism?"
Master Hsuan-sha replied, "Do you hear the murmuring of that stream?"
"Yes," the monk replied.
The Master said, "There is the entrance."