Thursday, August 05, 2010

`A Random Gathering of Things'

“Nature loves to hide. [Becoming is a secret process].”

A shrill descending call from the woods. I turned to look and so did a woman, another Cub Scout parent. “Hawk?” she said. “Sounds like it,” I said. “A kestrel, probably.” She nodded and we kept looking but never saw the bird.

“The unseen design of things is more harmonious than the seen.”

Boys knelt and fired BB guns at balloons and paper targets pinned to bails of straw. A muted pop, the squeak of springs in the rifles, and Thwock! when BBs hit targets. The amphitheater of cedars towered over the firing range, still and silent.

“The most beautiful order of the world is still a random gathering of things insignificant in themselves.”

Three sprigs of Queen-Anne’s lace in a Hire’s Root Beer can on the lichened planks of a picnic table. Bolt heads. A spatter of bird shit. “C.D.” carved in the gray, wide-grained wood.

[The quoted passages are fragments from Herakleitos numbered 17, 116 and 40, respectively, as translated by Guy Davenport in Herakleitos and Diogenes, 1981.]


William A. Sigler said...

Here's one for the last vignette:

"Most are at odds with that with which they most constantly associate -- the account which governs the universe -- and ... what they meet with every day seems foreign to them." (Fragment 72 - trans. Barnes)

Levi Stahl said...

The pleasant disconnectedness of this assortment is just what I needed on a too-strictly programmed workday, Patrick. Thanks for sharing it.