This week’s poem is Mary Oliver’s “Imagine”, which places imagination and wonder at the heart of our efforts to understand the world. At its best, science capitalizes on imagination and wonder, and becomes a fulfilling pursuit whether you are a professional or not. In the absence of those essential, fundamental traits, science as a job becomes a stifling activity that does not repay the opportunity costs of its pursuit.
I don't care for adjectives, yet the world fills me with them. And even beyond what I see, I imagine more. Seeing, for example, with understanding, or with acceptance and humility and without understanding, into the heart of the bristly, locked-in worm just as it's becoming what we call the luna, that green tissue-winged, strange, graceful, fluttering thing. Will death allow such transportation of the eye? Will we see then into the breaking open of the kernel of corn, the sprout plunging upward through damp clod and into the sun? Well, we will all find out, each of us. And what would we be, beyond the yardstick, beyond supper and dollars, if we were not filled with such wondering?