An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
of January 19, 2003
Issued from the woods just south of Natchez, Mississippi, USA


My cousin Miles Carroll just down the hill from cousin Eva in Kentucky writes that "This week I found a crippled finch. I put him on top of my shed and watched him. By the afternoon he was dead, and I sure hated to see him go after holding him and seeing how pretty he was."

That reminds me of once when I had access to a microscope and I spent a whole morning gazing into a single drop of pond water. I watched one-celled Amoebas and Paramecia migrating majestically through transparent, sunlight-charged water. I watched Hydras somersaulting across the slide surface, and there were wiggling green Euglenas with whiplike tails, and long strands of Spirogyra alga inside which strands of chloroplasts elegantly spiraled.

At the end of the session I straightened up my creaky spine, withdrew the slide from beneath the microscope and... then what?

I had become an admirer of the myriad little beings in that drop of water. Could I just wipe the slide on my sleeve and ignore the consequent genocide? I ended up carrying the droplet back to the pond from which it came, the theory being that my heart having been opened to these little beings counted for something.

When I read Miles's letter I also remembered a quotation from my Favorite Quotations Page at It's one from a book by Charles de Lint:

"... he had understood, better than anyone ... the beauty that grew out of the simple knowledge that everything, no matter how small or large it might be, was a perfect example of what it was."

How wonderful it would be if every day each of us could open our hearts to at least one newly met thing. Facebook Icon.