As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse: Comedian Chuck Nice Reads Billy Collins’s Ode to the Quiet Wellspring of Gratitude – Brain Pickings

Astronaut Leland Melvin reads “The Chilean Forest” by Pablo Neruda

via Astronaut Leland Melvin reads “The Chilean Forest” by Pablo Neruda on Vimeo

You can access the text being read out by following this link to the particular article in Brain Pickings.

One does not even have to go as far away as Chile to experience these kinds of emotions.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPerhaps it is time for me to get back on my bike and ride!.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPS.  These pictures are not new.  They have appeared in previous blogs.


A Water Bottle on the Trail

Lo and behold, there stands the water bottle on the trail,
Looking completely out of place, and close enough to see detail,
It was left there on purpose, of that I do assure,
The reason why shall remain a mystery one has to endure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(With apologies to the purists of poetry.)

The picture was taken during one of our Sunday walks.  The trail has been completely redone in this particular section of the C&O Canal towpath.  The park service is working piece-by-piece on the entire 184.5 miles of trail that exists.  I suspect it will be a few years before it is all done.

The Grass Does Not Grow Anymore

It is not hot as yet in the early morn, but it soon will be,
The sun will rise over the nearby buildings and heat up everything to see,
The land is scorched and the rivers already run dry,
People manage and go about their lives, nobody asks why.

The trees and plants have shed parts of their lives overnight,
And their remains litter all of the pathways in sight,
Leaves and flowers from bougainvillea and other plants, left and right,
They have not survived to see another day,
A general sense of tidiness, and order, demands that it all be swept away.

Dust rises into the nostrils with every sweeping motion of the broom,
The dust is relentless,
You think it has been swept clear,
You can be sure there will be a new layer soon.

The mynah stops by as I sweep the yard,
What brings it, I do not know.
Now I have company as I sweep up the yard and laugh,
But soon the bird is gone (I am probably not interesting enough),
Back to my thoughts my mind does go.

And this I know as I sweep up the dust,
Soon I will also be gone, but there are others I trust,
The work will still continue regardless, it must!

Things will continue to happen, I say that not in jest,
Life will go on, of that you can be sure, no need to test,
Even if the grass does not grow here anymore,
Life will be certain to go on for sure.

The Universe in Verse: Astrophysicist Natalie Batalha reads “Renascence” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

via The Universe in Verse: Astrophysicist Natalie Batalha reads “Renascence” by Edna St. Vincent Millay on Vimeo

Context and poem text:

The Words

The  year was 2014. I was on the towpath and approaching Fletcher’s Cove from the north.  I must have been on foot since I started biking once again only in 2016.  It must have been early morning since that is the time that I usually run.  Just south of Chain Bridge one comes upon Mile Marker 4 on the towpath, and shortly after that, a concrete spillway for the canal that allows overflow water to get to the river.  Then, further south, before Fletcher’s Cove itself, a truss bridge (that earlier used to carry the B&O Georgetown branch railroad line) carries the Capital Crescent trail (CCT) over the canal and the towpath.  On the side of the bridge for the CCT, just beside the trail, I saw the some graffiti with the following words:

“In the space between right and wrong is where I will find you.”

A very recent search reveals that the poet Rumi might have said something that seems somewhat similar, but not the same:

Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.

But, at that time, back in 2014, the original words I had read stayed with me.  I was trying to understand what it meant even as I ran.  Did it mean that nobody is perfect?  I am still not sure what exactly the words were meant to convey, but I would like to think of this message as a comment on the human condition.  I still think about it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


A Brave and Startling Truth: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Maya Angelou’s Stunning Humanist Poem That Flew to Space, Inspired by Carl Sagan – Brain Pickings

I recommend that you read, or listen to, the entire poem.


When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.”


via A Brave and Startling Truth: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Maya Angelou’s Stunning Humanist Poem That Flew to Space, Inspired by Carl Sagan – Brain Pickings

If you did not watch the video of Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”, you can do it here.