I follow this amazing woman on Facebook. Amy Gigi Alexander is an extraordinary writer and human being. So often her posts stop me in my tracks, inviting me to notice things about myself and my life that have been, to date, transparent to me. I say that as a woman who holds herself to be living a very conscious, aware and attuned life. I find these days that it takes someone with a very special perspective on life to get into the unexplored nooks and crannies of my psyche. I’ve come to welcome Amy’s posts for their ability to infiltrate unexplored corners of me and invite more Self exploration.
Today, Amy had a post about Glen Canyon, a place on the Colorado River that was dammed way back in the ’50’s. Bells immediately started ringing within me because Glen Canyon is a place of deep emotional significance to me. Not that I’ve ever been there, but I’ve had a small but lovely photo book on my shelf since the early 70’s that captured the beauty and mystery of this place that was flooded in order to assure ‘progress’ for industry. “The Place No One Knew” by Eliot Porter is filled with hauntingly beautiful photos of this magical corner of the world, allowing us access to beauty and mystery that no longer exists.
But beyond the stunning images and powerful quotations by many noted authors and poets, for me, the real power of “The Place No One Knew” is that it was one of the most beloved books of my late, first husband Loran Goulden. I remember us poring over its lush images and talking about Glen Canyon as an avatar for the destruction of nature’s beauty that was rampant in the late 60’s and early 70’s (as if it isn’t still happening today). We were young; we were idealistic; we were passionate that people like us could make a difference in saving our planet. Glen Canyon was one of the books that spurred Loran to change his path from photography to environmental science. He was living his passion and vision, working for one of the early environmental consulting companies, out counting Mountain Caribou in southern BC for input to a proposed oil pipeline impact assessment when he died in a plane crash on August 1, 1974.
I read a passage from Glen Canyon at his memorial service a few weeks later. Amy Gigi Alexander’s post stimulated me to pull that small book from the shelf and then go on a up-lifting yet tear-filled trip down memory lane. As I searched out the passage I had dedicated to Loran nearly 41 years ago, I reveled again in the images and the array of powerful writings that accompanied them. Then I recognized the piece that I was looking for. And I was shocked. Shocked and amazed about the degree to which it still spoke to me after all these years. Amazed and inspired at the insight I had had all those decades ago . . .insight I didn’t know at the time that I possessed. More and more these days I am accepting and acknowledging that I was a much more intuitive and insightful young woman than I was willing to allow myself to claim back then.
Here’s that passage:
“I know that the word ‘miraculous’ is regarded dubiously in scientific circles because of past quarrels with theologians. The world has been defined, however, as an event transcending the known laws of nature. Since, as we have seen, the laws of nature have a way of being altered from one generation of scientists to the next, a little taste for the miraculous in this broad sense will do us no harm. We forget that nature itself is one vast miracle transcending the reality of night and nothingness. We forget that each of us in his personal life repeats that miracle.” Loren Eiseley
I remember how powerfully these words spoke to me at the time. I didn’t realize, however, how they represented the essence of my worldview then and still all these years later. I didn’t notice that even at that tender age I believed that each of us is a miracle and that our very presence matters in this world. I didn’t recognize the power in understanding that the ‘laws of nature’ do, indeed, change from one generation to another. Not so much the laws themselves, but our understanding of them. I know that I did and always have been aware of how important it is for us to sustain ‘a little taste for the miraculous’. What’s different these days is that I claim its importance overtly. Back then I just sort of ‘knew’ it. I am extremely proud of the degree to which I have grown into that belief and how it has sustained me during the difficult times of my life.
That ‘little taste for the miraculous’ is the seed that has been Me always and that will take me into whatever future I want for myself. That seed has caused me challenges in the past because it has made me somehow quirkily different than most people. And yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I now revel in my taste for the miraculous and know that it is what sets me apart in the most positive ways and allows me to live this gloriously special life I continue to create for myself. It keeps me wondering what tomorrow’s miraculous discoveries will be . . .
What about you? What’s your ‘seed’ that makes you different and will carry you into your future if you claim it and allow it? Have you owned the way in which you are a miracle? Can you even stand to know that you are a miracle?