Friday, February 4, 2011

Field Work, your own

...the far saner 18th century attitude, which viewed nature as a mirror for philosophers, as an evoker of emotion, as a pleasure, a poem, was forgotten. --John Fowles

Probably the coolest thing about kids movies is the personification of everything that isn't us. Animals, toys, trees--nature itself--isn't just alive, it talks (and speaks English, to boot).

While scientists and my veterinarian brother-in-law will correctly poo-poo this worldview, the upside is that kids have a correct perception of the world, nature, reality as a living place.

Not only does it not hurt that kids want to hug trees when they are two or three years old, it's probably the only way out of the ecological Armageddon that a lot of folks are stirred up about.

Trail running, I frequently feel like a kid in the woods, though I do stop far less frequently to build forts or look for cool walking sticks.

I've had a big three of books going this week: John Fowles's The Tree, Seamus Heaney's Field Work and Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation.

The marsh, the woods, the river, the beach, besides being a playground and/or an escape have always been for me places of contemplation. I dig being at any of these places now with our girls and just watching them, or playing alongside or spearheading some adventure or another.

Heaney's Field Work is his record in poetry of four years where he went to live in a country cottage with his family. There is a music to his writing that wouldn't seem like he could have heard living in the city.

I think we all have/need our own field work. I've got a long-time friend who finds his in the Outer Banks. I'm not sure my own field work is a particular place so much as a return, or a turning to, again, those wild places with our girls, making their horizon eyes, scooping hands, climbing feet, and mine... new.

*photo from Seamus

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