a flower is not a flower. It is made only of non-flower elements - sunshine, clouds, time, space, earth, minerals, gardeners, and so on. A true flower contains the whole universe. If we return any one of these non-flower elements to its source, there will be no flower.
The green in me kept reaching for bloom.
∆ Dante Di Stefano, from “Reading William Carlos Williams in my Early Twenties” Paterson Literay Review (no. 46, Jan. 2018)
I think of beauty as an absolute necessity. I don’t think it’s a privilege or an indulgence, it’s not even a quest. I think it’s almost like knowledge, which is to say, it’s what we were born for. I think finding, incorporating and then representing beauty is what humans do. With or without authorities telling us what it is, I think it would exist in any case. The startle and the wonder of being in this place. This overwhelming beauty—some of it is natural, some of it is man-made, some of it is casual, some of it is a mere glance—is an absolute necessity. I don’t think we can do without it anymore than we can do without dreams or oxygen.
∆ Toni Morrison, Paris Review interview
Nature runs on sunlight.
Nature uses only energy it needs.
Nature fits form to function.
Nature recycles everything.
Nature rewards cooperation.
Nature banks on diversity.
Nature demands local expertise.
Nature curbs excess from within.
Nature taps the power of limits.
Start with the plants, follow their inquisitive growth, their running roots and rhizhomes, the widespread movements of their pollen and seeds, and an entire ecology of beings and becomings and comings undone will soon become perceptible. Get caught up in the involutionary momentum that propels these beings to get entangled in one another’s lives and you will soon start to perceive affective ecologies taking shape among the thicket of relations all around you.
—Natasha Myers, anthropologist
Natasha Myers, ‘How to Grow Livable Worlds: Ten Not-so-easy Steps’, in The World to Come, edited by Kerry Oliver Smith, Gainsville, FL, 2018, pp. 53–63.
Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
— Franz Kafka
"many small encounters with ordinary things lead to a greater and greater depth of understanding."
“The way human beings speak is so heartbreaking to me—we never sound the way we want to sound. We’re always stopping ourselves in mid–sentence because we’re so terrified of saying the wrong thing. Speaking is a kind of misery. And I guess I comfort myself by finding the rhythms and accidental poetry in everyone’s inadequate attempts to articulate their thoughts. We’re all sort of quietly suffering as we go about our days, trying and failing to communicate to other people what we want and what we believe.”