William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Environment’

Acorns and Oaks

I ran before five yesterday morning in a driving wind and rain. The only person I met was a very large skunk, which was crossing the road in front of me when it stopped briefly at the sound of my footsteps, then scurried on. It ran along the edge of the opposite sidewalk for a distance of about a hundred feet before taking cover in some bushes. The rain was […]

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Cracks in the Sidewalk

In light of our ancient, wild heritage, it’s interesting that we imprison ourselves in flat, stale, climate-controlled boxes filled with every convenience, where we grow sicker and weaker with each passing year. We’d be better off climbing on the counter than cleaning it, swinging from the chandelier, and chattering from atop the nightstand and dining table. Such precision. Such order. Such safety. Such security. Teams of professionals trimming our bushes […]

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Ten Horses, No Sails

I haven’t raked the leaves from under the maples, or those that are piled deep beneath the big rhododendron by the front door. What’s living in, on, and under them plays a far more important role in the local ecology than any so-called neatness I might achieve. The walk is swept. The flowerbed is ready for spring. That’s enough tidiness. Behind the house, the irises are pushing, and an abundance […]

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A Letter to the Girls

The great naturalist, Edward O. Wilson, has died. But the world has not lost him, as the common phrase goes. He lives on his books, in his colleagues, and in the countless people he has influenced and taught. He lives on in the environment and ecosystems he helped and is still helping to save. It is not necessary to meet and know someone personally to benefit from his or her […]

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Feathers and Dust

When once we see everything is a flower — from wayward child to walnut shell, changing sky to ancient, mottled hand — we understand that no measurement or value can express the shimmering grace of this world. Life is so fine and so rare, it cannot be fathomed by means of comparison, or appreciated on such narrow, limiting terms. Just as there is profound strength in the whole, the individual […]

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No Thinker to Think, No Doer to Do

I try to learn something every day. The subjects vary from the natural environment, to diet, exercise, and health from ancient and modern perspectives, to human behavior and the mechanics of habit and addiction, to sleep, dreams, and memory, and to other things seemingly related or unrelated that suggest themselves along the way, and which seem to shed light on this existence. That this does little to allay my general […]

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Treble and Bass

Shall I spend what remains of my precious time merely agreeing or disagreeing with everyone I meet and with every piece of information that comes my way? Would this not keep me in a state of perpetual opinion, sure I am right, and therefore willfully blind? Or shall I work to remain open, and tremble and sway with life as it passes through me and around me, like the trees? […]

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Destruction and Joy

Finished early this morning: The Diversity of Life, by Edward O. Wilson. The leaves are changing in the canyon. Yesterday morning, all through our three-and-a-half-mile walk from North Falls to Winter Falls, to Twin Falls, and then back to North Falls and on to Upper North Falls, the canopy was dripping from the previous night’s rain. In fact, it was raining, but the rain itself was being absorbed well above […]

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My Trust, My Hand

Cedar, juniper, green maple, red maple, pine. Arborvitae, crape myrtle, rhododendron, barberry, apricot. Blueberry, grape, fig, birch, fir. Grasses. Such, in varying numbers, constitute the perennials on this relatively average-sized suburban lot. Hosta, fern, moss. Lilac. Ivy. Rose. To arrive at a complete list, one would need to comb the area with notebook in hand, to look carefully, see calmly, patiently, making it the work of a lifetime, his own […]

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The Page and the Moon

The rising sliver of the waning moon is good company. So is a blank page. I have seen many of the latter dawn and fade over the years, very nearly one each day — fade into print, into scratch, swirl, and scrawl. But if I had to choose between the page and the moon, I would keep the moon and let go of the page. And while it is one […]

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