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Working Hands

Poetry is pure white.
It emerges from water covered with drops,
is wrinkled, all in a heap.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet,
has to be ironed out, the sea's whiteness;
and the hands keep moving, moving,
the holy surfaces are smoothed out,
and that is how things are accomplished.
Every day, hands are creating the world,
fire is married to steel,
and canvas, linen, and cotton come back
from the skirmishings of the laundries,
and out of light a dove is born -
pure innocence returns out of the swirl.
- Pablo Neruda

In praise of simple work. Intention and creation. These are the elements that human nature brings to bear on the living world, and they are not to be underestimated. In the ability we have to help and heal, to create from imagination, to form from clay, to fail and begin again, we are stewards of the living planet. We are learning as we nurture the living biosphere, even as we are learning as we see ourselves evolve in this work, deepening our understanding of the importance of what we do as people going about our daily lives. We can be a contributor toward the betterment of all, or part of the senseless erosion of finite resources.

Neruda's poem is both about the cauldron of work and its power to transform things, the nature around us, and about poetry and its ability to transform our thinking. I'd like to throw this idea out today - think about the work you do. What your hands do in a given day as you shape the hours and bring personal intention into the world. Is work simple? Or is it much more, part of a complex kinetic fire that strikes the elements of the physical world into the forms of imagination. I am honestly in awe as I type these words on a laptop someone has invented, at our human ability to shape existence. I feel as Neruda that honest work releases light back into the world. That creation furthers creation, and primal innocence is continuously reborn in the value of what is good.

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