Putting Two and Two Together
Yesterday I read about a film on Wendell Berry, a writer on farming and being rooted to a place whose works I really should have read by now. He is quoted as saying in the film: “Things that belong together have been taken apart. And you can’t put it all back together again. What you can do is the only thing you can do. You take two things that ought to be together and you put them together. Two things. Not all things!” This idea grabbed me. Isn’t this creativity in a nutshell? Isn’t this the key to writing? The key to life? The key to effecting a change in the world? We can’t do everything – not at once, of course, and actually not at all. We are beings with limited time, energy, and materials. But we still can do an awful lot that can make a difference. We have two hands, two knitting needles, two cymbals to crash together and start there. Integration occurs: from the Latin integrare, to make whole. Then we have one again, which can be combined with another one. And so it goes on and on, this process of organization and unification.
The poor dead mole (one) was alone when a passerby chose to honor its life and passing with a sprig of lavender (two). This integration had already occurred when I happened to stroll by with my camera, and now the picture of the mole’s sidewalk wake (one) reminds me of the dead mole I saw this weekend (two), leading me to worry there is a virulent mole illness going around because in my whole life, I have never seen two dead moles within a four day period. As much as I delighted in being able to examine the polydactyl paws of the mole up close, they do more service to the world underground. Most likely it is just coincidence and there is nothing wrong with the mole population; I’m just paying better attention: from attendere, to give heed to, to stretch toward.
It is a good thing I paid attention, stretching toward that mole when I embarked upon my walk because by the time I got back, no trace of it remained on the sidewalk. My thoughts too had meandered on to flowers in various stages of blooming and decay, to blackbirds digging under leaves searching for dinner, to the lack of cows in the pasture. Perhaps I should have lit a candle for the mole in the little chapel down the road, but the thought didn’t cross my mind in the afternoon sunshine.
Ripples of roses
Flowing over wood fences
As they peak in June