Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Almanac For Moderns: Out Of All This Great Debris

[Editor's Note: I am working for the next few days on a borrowed PC, as the AOTR Macbook is currently under repair at a local shop. The style changes to these posts will be corrected when I am reunited with this laptop and its editing software. Thanks for your patience!]

November Twenty-Second

The end of autumn comes, and one by one the plants in their little stations and many small creatures hole up and turn to sleep. We feel a great longing for that sleep, in the woods, in the very air and the soil that nightly grows colder, a little less kindly. The year's great living settles to its close, and not alone because the harsher cycle demands it, but because it is in the nature of most things to rest. Winter has a meaning beyond the meteorological one; it is that surcease must compensate all this perfervid existence.

For many beings in the great packed store room, autumn represents finality. They will be thrown out complete as waste, all the annual plants, the ephemerid insects. They have their chance at immortality, I know, through seed and egg. But individually the time for them has come, the time to go. For species on the wane, each autumn, perhaps, represents a step toward extinction. So be it; it is written.

But out of all this great debris new forms will be made, as in the first place life took its origin in ways mysterious to us, and alighting like light from a star upon a dark dead world informed the water and the rock itself.

More information on our Almanac For Moderns project and the work of Donald Culross Peattie can be found here.