Did I tell you about the time that J and I were on the train somewhere in MP and saw a dozen bee-eaters? It was only much later, when we got back home, that we saw one up-close. The red eyes rimmed with kohl, the touch of orange on his head, the softer sky blue of the throat that offset the flamboyance of his green body —he had our hearts.
From the 9th Duino Elegy
Rainer Maria Rilke
But because simply to be here is so much
and because what is here seems to need us,
this vanishing world that concerns us strangely —
us, the most vanishing of all. Once
for each, only once. Once and no more.
And we, too: just once. Never again. But
to have lived this once, even if only this once,
to have been of earth — that cannot be taken from us.
Translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows