Thursday, April 3, 2014

Readings April 3 2014




Out first reading was presented by Sue Wilde and is from The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert:
In every way mosses could seem plain, dull, modest, even primitive. The simplest weed sprouting from the humblest city sidewalk appeared infinitely more sophisticated by comparison. But here is what few people understand, and what Alma came to learn: Moss is inconceivably strong. Moss eats stone; scarcely anything, in return, eats moss. Moss dines upon boulders, slowly but devastatingly, in a meal that lasts for centuries. Given enough time a colony of moss can turn a cliff into gravel, and turn that gravel into topsoil. Under shelves of exposed limestone, moss colonies create dripping, living sponges that hold on tight and drink calciferous water straight from the stone. Over time, this mix of moss and mineral will itself turn into travertine marble, Within that hard, creamy-white marble surface, one will forever see veins of blue, green, and gray-the traces of the antediluvian moss settlements. St. Peter's Basilica itself was built from the stuff, both created by and stained with the bodies of ancient moss colonies.

Moss grows where nothing else can grow. It grows on bricks. It grows on tree bark and roofing slate. It grows in the Arctic Circle and in the balmiest tropics; it also grows on the fur of sloths, on the backs of snails, on decaying human bones. Moss, Alma learned, is the first sign of botanic life to reappear  on land that has been burned or otherwise stripped down to barrenness Moss has the temerity to begin luring the forest back to life. It is a resurrection engine. A single clump of mosses can lie dormant and dry for forty years at a stretch, and then vault back again into life with a mere soaking of water.

The second reading was presented by Kay Giese; it is the poem "Field Guide" by Billy Collins from Questions about Angels. © William Morrow and Company, 1991. 

Field Guide

No one I ask knows the name of the flower
we pulled the car to the side of the road to pick
and that I point to dangling purple from my lapel.

I am passing through the needle of spring
in North Carolina, as ignorant of the flowers of the south
as the woman at the barbecue stand who laughs
and the man who gives me a look as he pumps the gas

and everyone else I ask on the way to the airport
to return to where this purple madness is not seen
blazing against the sober pines and rioting along the
 roadside.

On the plane, the stewardess is afraid she cannot answer
my question, now insistent with the fear that I will leave
the province of this flower without its sound in my ear.

Then, as if he were giving me the time of day, a passenger
looks up from his magazine and says wisteria.

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