The joy of ordinary things

This week’s explorations at the intersection, of nature, art and wisdom.

Harvesting without killing

Burning things for energy is generally considered a “bad thing” these days. That includes burning wood, which in the industrial age is usually harvested unsustainably, providing zero benefits in terms of carbon reductions. Welcome (back) coppicing – the way we used to harvest wood… by keeping the trees alive. A fascinating article by Kris De Decker, but I particularly liked the passage below, which shows that humans can have a beneficial impact on the landscape and biodiversity. It’s wrong for conservationists to ask humans to remove themselves from nature. As we are part of nature, there are ways to live with it sustainably…if we remember how. (And yes, I know coppicing isn’t the answer to all our energy needs.)


Where the work begins

The wonderful poet Mary Oliver links noticing things with environmental action. “In order to want to save the world we must learn to love it—and in order to love it we must become familiar with it again.”

One of the many super examples from the paper, Ecology and Vision, by Matthew T. Eggemeier.

Link: (pay to read, unfortunately.)

To instruct myself in joy

More Mary Oliver (because you can’t have enough). This time a poem that hints at her artistic process.

Nature + wonder = art?


Sacred places

A quote from Wendell Berry:

“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.”

How clothes wait respectfully in closets

To continue what seems to be a developing theme in this week’s Song Sparrow, here’s a poem by Pat Schneider, called “The Patience of Ordinary Things.”

What is more generous than a window?

From Another River: New and Selected Poems (Amherst Writers and Artists Press, 2005).


Dare to inspire

And finally, loving this quote from ecologist J. Drew Lanham. A call to artists, philosophers, poets – your inspiration is needed in times of environmental crisis.