The World is Simple, and Then There Are Crows

There are, for example, circles. You can see one below, above the Brecon Beacons in Wales, high up.

Before we give a good modern stab at explaining it as the Moon, we can just accept that it is a circle. Well, not quite. Almost. Let’s say it’s pretty darned close to a circle. Let’s not say, though, that it’s a waxing gibbous moon a day from full. Let’s just have that modern thought and set it aside, because right now we’re looking at the eye giving us gifts.

It being rather fond of circles and all, pupils, we call them, after the dolls of Rome, little people upside down in the circular yolk of the eye, that gave us the art of puppetry.

Andras Schiff and Friends

But even that is too modern by far. We are just looking at circles, because the eye has found them.


And not just one circle. Many. Sometimes the deepest thought we have, or the most elevated, or the most sacred, is just a circle becoming more circles.

Tintern Abbey

Sometimes, it’s just a tree.

A tree made of lines. Here again, simple is best. These lines are not “circles drawn across time and thus extended into strings” but simply lines, as the eye sees them. And even so, wondrously, in outline the eye finds a circle from them. So does the tree. So did a great crowd of Cistercian monks once.

Tintern Abbey

You can make a lot out of circles and lines, within circles and lines, with lines turning into circles and circles into lines, over and over again, within and within and within, until the dance, and transformation, surround you. This is a faith for the body, not the mind. We call it pre-literate, but it is not. It read lines and circles well. You could call it puppetry as well, or the course of the moon across the sky, or even the circle rising and falling from itself in breath.

But that’s just talk. We live in a talkative civilization, if that’s the right word for it, but it’s the simple things that make it.

And crows.

Tintern Abbey

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