meaning.

February 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

“…along with the other animals, the stones, the trees, and the clouds, we ourselves are characters within a huge story that is visibly unfolding all around us, participants within the vast imagination, or Dreaming, of the world.”  – David Abram

 

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Sandstone outcroppings in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Sandstone outcroppings in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

http://www.mccullagh.org/photo/1ds-13/red-rock-canyon-sandstone

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“To our indigenous ancestors, and to the many aboriginal peoples who still hold fast to their oral traditions, language is less a human possession than it is a property of the animate earth itself, an expressive, telluric power in which we, along with the coyotes and the crickets, all participate. Each creature enacts this expressive magic in its own manner, the honeybee with its waggle dance no less than a bellicose, harrumphing sea lion.

Nor is this power restricted solely to animals. The whispered hush of the uncut grasses at dawn, the plaintive moan of trunks rubbing against one another in the deep woods, or the laughter of birch leaves as the wind gusts through their branches all bear a thicket of many-layered meanings for those who listen carefully. In the Pacific Northwest I met a man who had schooled himself in the speech of needled evergreens; on a breezy day you could drive him, blindfolded, to any patch of coastal forest and place him, still blind, beneath a particular tree — after a few moments he would tell you, by listening, just what species of pine or spruce or fir stood above him (whether he stood beneath a Douglas fir or a grand fir, a Sitka spruce or a western red cedar). His ears were attuned, he said, to the different dialects of the trees.”  – David Abram

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Aerial Red Rock Canyon NV

Aerial Red Rock Canyon NV

http://www.campingtourist.com/camping-spots/nevadas-red-rock-canyon-national-conservation-area/

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“Such reciprocity is the very structure of perception. We experience the sensuous world only by rendering ourselves vulnerable to that world. Sensory perception is this ongoing interweavement: the terrain enters into us only to the extent that we allow ourselves to be taken up within that terrain.”  – David Abram

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Near NV-157

Near NV-157

http://myown100hikes.blogspot.com/2013/05/hike-2013029-la-madre-mountains.html

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“All things have the capacity for speech — all beings have the ability to communicate something of themselves to other beings. Indeed, what is perception if not the experience of this gregarious, communicative power of things, wherein even obstensibly ‘inert’ objects radiate out of themselves, conveying their shapes, hues, and rhythms to other beings and to us, influencing and informing our breathing bodies though we stand far apart from those things?

Not just animals and plants, then, but tumbling waterfalls and dry riverbeds, gusts of wind, compost piles and cumulus clouds, freshly painted houses (as well as houses abandoned and sometimes haunted), rusting automobiles, feathers, granite cliffs and grains of sand, tax forms, dormant volcanoes, bays and bayous made wretched by pollutants, snowdrifts, shed antlers, diamonds, and daikon radishes, all are expressive, sometimes eloquent and hence participant in the mystery of language. Our own chatter erupts in response to the abundant articulations of the world: human speech is simply our part of a much broader conversation.

It follows that the myriad things are also listening, or attending, to various signs and gestures around them. Indeed, when we are at ease in our animal flesh, we will sometimes feel we are being listened to, or sensed, by the earthly surroundings. And so we take deeper care with our speaking, mindful that our sounds may carry more than a merely human meaning and resonance. This care — this full-bodied alertness — is the ancient, ancestral source of all word magic. It is the practice of attention to the uncanny power that lives in our spoken phrases to touch and sometimes transform the tenor of the world’s unfolding.”  – David Abram

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Red Rock Canyon Mojave Desert

Red Rock Canyon Mojave Desert

http://www.mccullagh.org/photo/1ds-13/red-rock-canyon-sandstone

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“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”  – Martin Buber

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Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

http://avisiblevoice.blogspot.com/2010/05/red-rock-canyon-nevada.html

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“I do not accept any absolute formulas for living. No preconceived code can see ahead to everything that can happen in a man’s life. As we live, we grow and our beliefs change. They must change. So I think we should live with this constant discovery. We should be open to this adventure in heightened awareness of living. We should stake our whole existence on our willingness to explore and experience. ”  – Martin Buber

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Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

http://losoboy.com/

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“My religion is nature. That’s what arouses those feelings of wonder and mysticism and gratitude in me.”  – Oliver Sacks

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Red Rock Canyon Oak Creek Trailhead

Red Rock Canyon Oak Creek Trailhead

http://360panos.com/local/RedRockCanyonNevada.php

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“To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or, at least, the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology, or in states of mind that allow us to travel to other worlds, to rise above our immediate surroundings.

We may seek, too, a relaxing of inhibitions that makes it easier to bond with each other, or transports that make our consciousness of time and mortality easier to bear. We seek a holiday from our inner and outer restrictions, a more intense sense of the here and now, the beauty and value of the world we live in.”  – Oliver Sacks

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Red Rock Canyon in the Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon in the Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas

http://360panos.com/local/RedRockCanyonNevada.php

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“The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain…Music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves.”  – Oliver Sacks

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