Saturday, December 18, 2010


Here I am, on our little island. No bookstore. A tiny public library I have long since worked my way through; no more comfy chair in the college library stacks surrounded by hundreds of thousands of books.

I'm not complaining. I have that other book, the book of nature, lying open on every side. I've been reading it for years, but I've barely made a dent in the contents. More to the point: I'm still learning how to read,

“It is not easy to live in that continuous awareness of things which alone is true living," wrote the naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch. He knew what I'm talking about. To pay attention all the time can be exhausting.

It's not meaning I'm looking for; those days have passed. I'm not looking for moral lessons. Nor revelations. Philosophy? No thanks. Theology? Ho hum. Just give me the thing itself. The shimmer of sand as the wave retreats. The rainbow that spills its spectrum onto Duck Cay. The free-toed frog that clings to the window screen.

Seeing is the hardest thing of all.