I am writing this in the oak-dotted and, sometimes, vineyard-covered hills of the Central Coast of California. In the afternoon, quail visit a bird feeder out on a lawn. Skittish but purposeful, they scurry and stop, scurry and stop, a perfectly choreographed head-bobbing group.
The following poem by Norman MacCaig seems apt. I would perhaps be open to charges of simple-mindedness if I were to suggest that the poem provides a wholly practical piece of advice on How to Live. Yet, there is a truth circling about, in a good-humored way.
Compare and Contrast
The great thinker died
after forty years of poking about
with his little torch
in the dark forest of ideas,
in the bright glare of perception,
leaving a legacy of fourteen books
to the world
where a hen disappeared
into six acres of tall oats
and sauntered unerringly
to the nest with five eggs in it.
Ewen McCaig (editor), The Poems of Norman MacCaig (Polygon 2009).
A poem by Michael Longley may be apt as well.
Do they ever meet out there,
The dolphins I counted,
The otter I wait for?
I should have spent my life
Listening to the waves.
Michael Longley, The Ghost Orchid (1995).