The New York Times editorial page rattled my cage and knocked me off my perch today when I saw Verlyn Klinkenborg's column, The Rural Life. In his essay "Summer's Night" Klinkenborg launches a philosophical skyrocket:
The last couple of nights I've stood at the edge of the pasture watching the fireflies. They rise from the grass, flickering higher and higher until one of them turns into the blinking lights of a jet flying eastward far above the horizon. I can feel, rather than see, the bats working around the house and in the coves between the trees, feeding on insects that are invisible but fully audible to them.
What the insects are noticing — the bats, too — is beyond me. Our perceptions overlap without ever converging in the night. All the entangled lives on this farm seem to run on separate tracks, except where they collide as predators and prey or companions and caretakers. Push this thought far enough, and nature seems to fray, to come apart into a disunity that is gathered up only by our human perceptions. And yet that gathering up is just our own kind of solipsism. I don't know that the horses have ever made a general proposition about nature, but then they don't know that I've made one either.
... and goes on to rhapsodize about bats "... like origami contraptions capable only of struggling flight ..." and birds with their "... secret knowledge of the ripeness of cherries." Would that I could occasionally write as well as that.
But of course, to put off doing any actual writing I've ordered a few Verlyn Klinkenborg books ...