From A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
I’ve mentioned some of the problems that I have with belief; this is a problem that I have with unbelief. I live in a world of unspeakable beauty, endless wonder, and unbounded joy. It is natural to me to say Thank you; not always for the life I live, but for the world I live in. The phrase Thank you implies a You, some second person, “some bringer of that joy.” I don’t know where the particular joys of my life originate, but they fill my heart until it will burst if I don’t thank someone.
Thank you mountains, for being round and massive. You make me feel safe.
Thank you trees, for being tall and many-armed. You restore me to myself.
Thank you flowers, for being fragile and beautiful. You remind me that an individual is delicate, but that species return perennially.
Thank you geese and squirrels and lizards and spiders and mice. You teach me to share my space, my world, with others.
And thank you, Allah, Vishnu, Jehovah, Zeus, Wotan, Gaia, unknown Creator. I love the world you have given me.