Friday, February 20, 2009

A Box of Wind: Nature writing, spirituality, and science

I sat in on this panel at AWP which Kathleen Dean Moore closed out with a bang. We were given a chance to ask questions afterward so I raised my hand and asked if we get a copy of Kathleen's talk. She graciously posted it in full on her website.

Though I might argue the idea of "secular sacred" only gets you halfway to paradise, creation does a spectacular job of inducing awe.

An excerpt, but please take in the whole thing:

"So I get the analogy between spirituality and love. The ‘spiritual values of wild places’ are whatever it is in the world that speaks powerfully to the imagining and feeling part of the human mind, what lifts and enlivens the human spirit. Spirituality in a person is (as Scott Russell Sanders said) the impulse in ourselves that rises to meet the energy and glory in creation.

If this is so, then you don’t have to be religious to be spiritual. And you don’t have to believe in God to believe that the world is sacred. In my work, I call the world the “secular sacred.” I believe that the most reverent thing you can say is “Look, just look.” And the most reverent stance is not on your knees or prostrate on the ground, or kneeling at the edge of your bed with your eyes closed, but standing outside with your head thrown back, looking into the night. Look, look at the darkness, this moonlight on the water, this wash of stars, as if you were seeing them for the very first time. Then the astonishing fact of the world is revealed to us, that there is something rather than nothing, and that it is so beautiful.

That said, my husband is a scientist, a self-described hard scientist. You should see us try to paddle a canoe. Philosopher in the bow, scientist in the stern. I’m rejoicing in the sounds of the night and Frank? Frank is explaining the biomechanics of frog song."

Read the whole article here.

1 comment:

harold said...
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