I noticed yesterday that all the hazelnuts have leaves. It’s five years from nut to nuts, they say, but I don’t know how old any of our sticks were when we got them.

It’s a kind of ordinary truth that things just go on. And it’s kind of a relief and kind of an insult. People died. A lot of people’s lives will never be the same. The dog still has to be walked. The small hazelnut trees/bushes unroll their leaves and stretch them out in the sun. The wind blows. Soon enough, it rains.

It helps me understand the apocalyptic dream we have as people. We want to believe that we are important enough that even nature will notice our passing. Certainly, if we’re all gone, we think, that will show this old world that we meant something.

But we’d be gone and the water that drips down the rocks by the far field would still nourish the moss that grows there.

Nature isn’t nostalgic.

I am, though. I am.

8 thoughts on “Hazelnuts

  1. For days like this, there is Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts”:

    About suffering they were never wrong,
    The old Masters: how well they understood
    Its human position: how it takes place
    While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
    How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
    For the miraculous birth, there always must be
    Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
    On a pond at the edge of the wood:
    They never forgot
    That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
    Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
    Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
    Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

    In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
    Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
    Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
    But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
    As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
    Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
    Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
    Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

  2. Our own little worlds are our universe and when something disrupts that we call it a tragedy. But. . what disrupts our world does not necessarily disrupt anyone else’s world. And it certainly doesn’t disrupt the entire world. Even the Japan earthquake/tsunami and the financial crisis didn’t do that, though they sure tried. As we mature, our world becomes bigger, but it’s still very small. We are important in our world, but not in everyone’s world and the same goes for everyone else.

  3. As someone who was a geology major in undergrad, and who is not religious, one thing I tend to tell myself/others is “…And one day the sun will swallow the earth.” Bleak, but puts into perspective that nothing here is lasting.

  4. Auden gets a lot of difficult things right in his poems. Here, especially: those first couple of lines, not being able to finish themselves but running over into the next line — that, to me, encapsulates in form what he’s trying to get at verbally, the way life (or words) just keep going on even when you think it shouldn’t.

  5. This is not at all apropos, but the state of IL is unintentionally being quite Auden-esque with their DMV organ donor program. Its slogan is “Life Goes On.” Ouch.

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