Autumn, a season not too far off in the future, makes its presence known early in northern regions. On this mid-September day I watch leaves falling from trees under a steady gentle breeze. First a single leaf drops from a red maple. The green leaf has tinges of crinsom around the entire perimeter of the leaf. It falls almost immediately to the ground with very little fanfare as if directed by intention. Another leaf falls from a nearby basswood tree. The leaf is broad and the surface of this large leaf remains parallel with the ground to which it falls. This leaf floats through space, resisting gravity, as it see-saws back and forth perusing the landscape for a proper resting point. Ultimately gravity emerges victorious, as it always seems to do, bringing the bass wood leaf to earth where all life on this planet begins.

Gravity is a difficult concept to master. It is much more complicated than originally thought and has far reaching implications that go beyond common sense. Sir Isaac Newton, a genius of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, was one among the first to seek understanding about gravity. His mathematical brilliance provided the proof for Newton’s Laws of Gravity. Centuries later Albert Einstein, one of the great minds of the twentieth century, took this understanding to an entirely different level. Einstein believed that gravity is a force with great character. In his theory of general relativity he proposed that gravity was a property of space-time geometry. In this four dimensional world objects traveling in a curved universe eventually meet. Newton believed that gravity makes objects leave their straight paths. Einstein proposed in his theory of general relativity that gravity is a distortion of space and time.

As I consider this I wonder about the dreams and thoughts that these two men, both geniuses, might have had. Some of their dreams, with years of scientific and mathematical angling, proved true; at least within the context of current understanding. While other dreams and thoughts must have been dashed. Slaughtered by the gravity of knowledge and proof that brings many “higher” thoughts back to earth. I picture random thoughts in the form of scientific formulas floating downward in the sky sinking beneath the clouds. They land gently on the earth and dissolve into the pervious soils and become absorbed into human history that will forever be forgotten.

A steadfast wind on this day continues to blow. Acorns drop haphazardly from a nearby red oak. With a meaningful thud they announce their return to earth. The powers of weather and time will eventually weaken the shell and allow the embryo to emerge. Only a great deal of luck will let this tiny oak grow past infancy to adulthood. It must survive the elements, predators, and accidents for a decade before it has a decent chance to grow into a tree. All the while defying gravity, elevating itself towards the sky in search of sunlight. A mighty task to understand. A major victory to witness.

Hope is much like the embryo in the acorn. In my life I have had some hopes grow into beautiful realizations and others fall to the weight of the universe. I wished for and found life long love and family. I wanted to find peace and wandered into the natural world where I located a quiet place to live out my days. I wanted wisdom and discovered that this planet holds all that I could possibly fathom if I just opened up my heart and let the lessons find their way in. On the other hand I desired to live in an age when humans would learn that we must nurture the planet rather than plunder her resources. Evidently this was terribly unrealistic. I, more than anything else, wanted to live a day when peace would prevail. We could not be any further from this wish than we now are. I hoped, beyond realistic hope, that the human race would finally understand that our planet is one living organism; each part, living and not living, an integral part of the whole. Humans still act as they are separate and superior to the planet. They act like masters over a foreign domain. This is simply not sustainable. The gravity of the heavens will eventually bring this thinking to an end if we do not awaken ourselves and correct our course of action.

I look to the skies and see a red tail hawk catching warm air currents that help in rise into the sky. It circles and circles, only flapping its wings occasionally. This wonderful raptor has found a nearly effortless way to resist the forces of nature. There is no question that eventually this predator of the skies will glide down back to earth but only under its own terms and with a determination and desire to find food or shelter. This simple and elegant display of working with the elements of this planet is warming and inspirational. A lesson of the natural world that is present for all to behold.

The clouds to the west indicate rain will soon fall. They are dark and thick. Despite the way they appear they mean no harm. The warm days have evaporated water, perhaps off of the Great Lakes to our west, and this water will return to the earth. The clouds will become so dense with moisture that they will not be able to carry the weight of the water. Rain will fall to the earth and feed thirsty trees, plants, animals, and soil. Some of the water may be stored for some time in the earth where it will provide a life-force necessary for the maintenance of the living on this planet. The water will cleanse the planet and the spirits of the living. Sunny days will return and start the cyclical process all over again. A circle never ending.

These days when the climatic elements have been so harsh I relish bright sunny days. There is still much left to be done. I will spend part of each day thanking this planet for all of my wonderful days. I will still hope for wisdom, peace, and understanding. I know that not all of our wishes can come true. Perhaps Gaia has a more sophisticated plan. Perhaps it includes the human race, perhaps it does not. At the end of my days when my body returns to the warm earth I pray that my spirit will soar up into the heavens in search of the sun. I hope that my spirit will blend with time and space and the sweeping circles of four dimensions to find another spirit with which it can intertwine. And most of all I trust that gravity will allow this union to gently float back to earth, like a basswood leaf falling on a sweet autumn day, where I can begin all over again.

Written for www.wildramblings.com in September of 2011.

  • Wendysarno

    You write with both beauty and gravitas, Bill, of your love for and prayers for this earth and your place. Just the kind of gravity, substance and weight needed, I think. Reading I sense myself grounded again in a good way.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thank you.  I know from your comments and reading your blog that you are in tune with my writing and thoughts.  And I thank you for joining me in celebrating this planet.

  • http://gapingwhole.wordpress.com/ westwood


  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thank you!

  • http://goo.gl/Qsrs9 Dr. J

    Bravo! Well spoken and a pleasure to read!

  • http://liveandlearngrammy.blogspot.com Barb

    Hopes and wishes for ourselves and the Earth – some do take longer to come to fruition than others – some not at all. Fall seems the perfect time to think of our place in the scheme of things. Your photos always are a celebration, Billl. I hope you’re feeling well.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Autumn is the perfect time to consider such things.  And yes, some things do take longer than others.  A lot of positive energy from the human species would be a good thing.  And yes, I am recovering well.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thank you for stopping by.  I am always pleased when I get new readers.  Please come back and thank you for the bravo!

  • Montucky

    I love reading your posts Bill, and seeing your thoughts. They never fail to stimulate! I’m glad to know that you are recovering well!

  • http://findanoutlet.wordpress.com/ Find an Outlet

    I often think about what it would take for Earth’s inhabitants to see themselves as a whole. I honestly don’t see it happening without a threat from something beyond. Don’t laugh, but warlike invaders from another world might do it. Or a worldwide catastrophe that all nations would need to seek solutions for together. This may not be as implausible as it sounds, and even then, the strong would trample the weak. If the human race disappears, despite the thousands of shining stars throughout history, it simply may not matter considering the vastness and immeasurability of space. In a sick, morbid, weary way, it might be a relief.

  • http://www.WanderingThought.com/ WanderingThought

    I see the changes taking place around my part of the world too, and the wind is much more chilly now. Your reflection on the changes of earth is beautiful, just as the photos you have here, Bill! I don’t like cold weather, but the beauty of nature keeps me going!

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thank you.  If you could only see my inner psyche which would appear as a jungle of unassembled ideas and random pictures.  Time heals all.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    The human notion, in fact, trait is survival.  First individually.  Second collectively.  It is part of our DNA and has driven our “success”.  I’m banking on the idea that collective survival, when push comes to shove, will prevail and we will see the error or our ways. 

    In the history of earth their have been many mass extinctions.  I hope we do not join the parade.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    I am a huge fan of cold weather.  I find it inspirational and exhilarating.  But each to their own, I suppose.  Winter brings me solace, a long time of reflection, and examination of the outdoor world with few distractions.  stark, fiercely cold, biting, and without remorse, winter can certainly be a challenge for all.

  • http://www.landingoncloudywater.blogspot.com Emily

    What a beautiful, reflective piece, Bill. That last line especially –fwwwf. Gave me a little chill. Also, you photos here are particularly striking. Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts and insights with us.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thank you Emily.  I’ve been thinking about writing something like this for a while, but then one day the whole piece sort of instantly developed in my mind.  Then when writing it I found that some parts were a little discombobulated or disjointed.  And then I had thoughts that tied everything together which required rewriting the entire story.  In the end, I was happy with it. 

    I always look forward to your comments.

  • Annie


    So beautiful; the words, the emotion, the photographs. Lots of thoughts to ponder. Will definitely come back to this one more than once, especially the last paragraph.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thanks Annie.  I’m pleased that you enjoyed this.  Several rewrites to get it right, but that’s composition for you.  There is much to ponder in this world.

  • Teresaevangeline

     Well, this is a really nice read, but that last paragraph is beyond fine. What a beautiful description of the possibility of return.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thank you.  Given the cycles of the universe we all return in some form.  Hoping to keep the spirit alive so that I can keep improving.  Made a lot of mistakes this time around!

  • http://memorizingnature.com/ Memorizing Nature

    A chilling read, with stunning descriptions and an original theme that tied it altogether. Thank you.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thank you. Tying any story about nature is really simple.  You just have to report what you see and feel. 

  • http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com craftygreenpoet

    when i was very young I used to think that the human race must see how bad things were ecologically and start to move towards a more sustainable way of living (I didn’t put it quite like that back then,) but all these decades later and we’re still in the same mess only worse…..

    Excellent post, held together by gravity….

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    On the other hand half a span of a lifetime is very little time, at least in the grand scheme of the planet.  There is hope even without a catastrophic warning.  Perhaps gravity will help to pull our intentions together.

  • http://alsphotographyblog.blogspot.com/ Al

    That last photo is spectacular! I’ve thought many times about Newton and Einstein, having studied their theories in various times of my schooling, and their thinking abilities are so far beyond mine it’s indescribable. I’m sometimes pessimistic about our future – we certainly won’t survive much longer with 7 billion people on the planet.

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    Thank you for the compliment on my photograph.  Yes, both Einstein and Newton were men of genius and so their intellectual abilities far beyond most.  I have no trouble understanding Newton but that’s because our general mathematical skills have vastly improved over the last several hundred years.  The concepts of Albert Einstein are understandable for the most part, but the mathematical proofs a million light years above my abilities. 

    Seven billion humans is way too many for any semblance of sustainable resources.  Food production, distribution, and consumption is a gigantic problem, especially for third world peoples.

  • http://nature-drunk.com nature-drunk

    Oh, Bill, this is one of my favorite posts yet. For the longest time, I optimistically believed that humans would learn from our mistakes and negative behaviors; that we would realize how our behaviors impacted Mother Earth (and her inhabitants). Lately, I have lost some of my hope in the human race and its collective spirit. Where does this all lead? Like you, I have a similar hope for myself when my number is up:

    “At the end of my days when my body returns to the warm earth I pray that my spirit will soar up into the heavens in search of the sun. I hope that my spirit will blend with time and space and the sweeping circles of four dimensions to find another spirit with which it can intertwine.”

    I hope something more: that my spirit will intertwine with many spirits who know the value and beauty of life’s gifts. Blessings. 

  • http://www.wildramblings.com Wild_Bill

    I’m kind of hoping that all of our spirits can somehow intertwine relative to the value and beauty of life’s gifts while we are still all hear.  Can’t quite picture how, but some sort of sincere meditation might be the answer, or maybe not.

    And thank you, so much, for all of your wonderful comments about http://www.wildramblings.com, I find inspiration in them.  It keeps me writing.

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