Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In The Aspen Trees

Zarmina's World
Illustration Credit & Copyright: Lynette Cook

Explanation: A mere 20 light-years away in the constellation Libra, red dwarf star Gliese 581 has received much scrutiny by astronomers in recent years. Earthbound telescopes had detected the signatures of multiple planets orbiting the cool sun, two at least close to the system's habitable zone -- the region where an Earth-like planet can have liquid water on its surface. Now a team headed by Steven Vogt (UCO Lick), and Paul Butler (DTM Carnagie Inst.) has announced the detection of another planet, this one squarely in the system's habitable zone. Based on 11 years of data, their work offers a very compelling case for the first potentially habitable planet found around a very nearby star. Shown in this artist's illustration of the inner part of the exoplanetary system, the planet is designated Gliese 581g, but Vogt's more personal name is Zarmina's World, after his wife. The best fit to the data indicates the planet has a circular 37 day orbit, an orbital radius of only 0.15 AU, and a mass 3.1 times the Earth's. Modeling includes estimates of a planet radius of 1.5, and gravity at the planet's surface of 1.1 to 1.7 in Earth units. Finding a habitable planet so close by suggests there are many others in our Milky Way galaxy.

Visiting the Graveyard

When I think of death
it is a bright enough city,
and every year more faces there
are familiar

but not a single one
notices me,
though I long for it,
and when they talk together,

which they do
very quietly,
it's in an unknowable language -
I can catch the tone

but understand not a single word -
and when I open my eyes
there's the mysterious field, the beautiful trees.
There are the stones.
- Mary Oliver
Red bird

It is very hard to wait. A great deal of my spiritual training has been to encounter the mirrored light that shines reflecting many of the facets of the complex jewel that is creative waiting. In some ways that is what I am doing now. I am waiting creatively. As ever, I must do this with the sense of something coming but no clear idea what or when. I am better at it these days, but I would hope that I am. It's been forty years since I realized my position. I don't mean I have been waiting forty years, but that these waiting times have come and gone and come again over these forty years. I guess that there are many people better at waiting than I am, who did not start so far back in the pack as I did. Me, I required spiritual training in several modes to simulate a natural attitude to "not yet". The anxiety of being at the mercy of people I do not trust has been the last to subside as I have found ways to trust even these.

It is not a moment too soon. I am, I suspect, soon to be struggling with my health far more than I am now. Now it is just irritating even though there is much I can no longer do. It won't take much for something more sobering to occur, but this is not very serious and is quite natural, a part of the ordinary processes of the planet. I will certainly be tested, will certainly uncover new facets of the complex jewel of waiting.

In The Aspen Trees

I fear you will not
notice me here. He said stand
silently, gathered,
no loose ends dangling
in the sultry wind blowing
through the aspen trees.

I must stand tight bunched,
constipated with held back
hope. I know I could
break my main chance by
acting too soon and not sure
when true change will come.

-written by me,
August 2, 2009 9:10 AM


  1. i like very much the themes you are wrestling with and embracing here...
    i remember when i got my first glimpses of the necessity and sweetness of yielding, and when i realized that it was the hardest work of love and craft... your words and reflecting here bring me back to that and renew my sense of wonder.

  2. What a wonderful way to start my day: learning about possibilities, reading Mary Oliver (my favorite poet) and contemplating with Christopher. Thank you.

  3. Harlequin, it is always satisfying to receive signs that I have been on the right track. Mary Oliver gives me that feeling in her poetry quite often and as well you have here.

    Karen, my first Mary Oliver poem was Wild Geese, which has been made part of the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, Singing In The Living Tradition. Ever since, I have been a total fan.

  4. "I must stand tight bunched,
    constipated with held back
    hope. I know I could
    break my main chance by
    acting too soon and not sure
    when true change will come."

    Damn, this is good. I am impatient by nature...driven...and not much one to wait, certainly not creatively. Much to think about.

  5. I read 'loose ends' as 'noose ends' at first. It was something about the wind, the trees, and the solitary figure standing there that took my mind straight to death, and that feeling of helplessness I get when a friend makes a choice I have no power over. Maybe I need to start drinking coffee again. Hehe

  6. (((Annie)))

    Yes, waiting actually turns into a practice if you realize God has called you to it. Then it makes little difference that it is not natural. It's not, of course. I don't think anyone really thinks waiting is a normal thing to do. It goes against our childlike self.


    I think "noose" ends might be the better word, then possibly "dangling" should change to "hanging". Heh. I like that better. I think I will do that.

  7. I came from Erin's blog, intrigued.

    "...not sure when true change will come." This last line stopped me. I need time to think about this.

  8. Lakeviewer, welcome. That's the ordinary round about way of internet connections. Erin lives in Eastern Canada. According to your profile you live in Port Orford on the Oregon coast, easily within a long day's drive. Me I live in the PDX metro area, in the next town north of Oregon City, one terminus of the old Oregon Trail.

    Erin is one of my favorite blog ladies, and she is developing into a wonderful writer.

    What is true change? Would I recognize it if it did come? Heh. No wonder that line stopped you. I am a seriously arrogant man.

  9. The poem alone is wonderful. The impatience is understood, the waiting takes way too much time.

  10. Anthony, I took quick glances at your art today, stealing a few minutes at work. I really like getting a chance to watch your progress. I hope you feel like you are making progress. I think you are. Thank you for saying such a good thing about my poem.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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