happenstance and circumstance and accident

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photo of me and t. reed by aunt gretchen

“But here I am in my life, and I know I am not here as a representative white male American human, nor are the birds and animals and plants here as representatives of their sex or species.  We all have our ways, forms, and habits.  We all are what we are partly because we are here and not in another place.  Some of us are mobile; some of us (such as the trees) have to be content merely to be flexible.  All of us who are mobile are required by happenstance and circumstance and accident to make choices that are not instinctive, and that force us out of categories into our lives here and now.  Even the trees are under this particularizing influence of place and time.  Each one, responding to happenstance and circumstance and accident, has assumed a shape not quite like that of any other tree of its kind.  The trees stand rooted in their mysteriously determined places, no place quite like any other, in strange finality.  The birds and animals have their nests in holes and burrows and crotches, each one’s place a little unlike any other in the world- and so is the nest my mate and I have made”

-Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle

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