Yesterday I lunched with my daughter in her garden and found myself mesmerized by some 20-30 bees feeding on the flowers of her hebes bush. Entranced by their buzzing dance going from one purple flower to the next, wondering if or how they knew if they had already fed on a particular flower or if a companion bee had already taken its nectar. It at once awakened my scientific curiosity, my poetic sensibility, my appreciation for the beauty of the dance and the music of it all.
And so I ended my last post with the question “Why are we here?” What is evolution’s purpose in giving us tongues to speak and sing, hands to paint and sculpt, hearts capable of awe and wonder, minds that can both analyze and imagine? What would be lost if the planet had no people amongst the plants, animals, bugs, rivers, if we removed ourselves from the carnival of Creation?
In his Ninth Duino Elegy, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke gives some hints:
“…why then have to be human? … because truly being here is so much; because everything
here apparently needs us, this fleeting world, which in some strange way keeps calling to us…
Perhaps we are here in order to say… Here is the time for the sayable, here is its homeland.
Speak and bear witness…
Perhaps that is our reason for being— to be a conscious witness to the wonders of creation.
To pay attention, to observe, to wonder, to praise. First see and hear and touch and then speak about—through language or music or art or a felt silence. And then share it with others. And don’t forget to be grateful for the capacity to see, feel and express, don’t forget to praise and bless and feel the blessing of it all, in the company of other fellow human beings, who need reminders (don’t we all?) to take a moment to notice the bees in the hebes and take another moment to share the bounty and the blessing.
Today, Thanksgiving, is a good time to consider, to re-consider, these thoughts. Thank the turkey and grains and grapes for helping sustain your life and take some time to witness the miracles just outside the door or sitting around the table with you or sleeping just inside your own heart waiting to be awakened.
Speak and bear witness.