GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
----- Gerard Manley Hopkins (1944-89)
As I worked yesterday, this poem kept running through my mind. The images of the day, tilled earth, burned debris, and changing landscape from brown to green, made me think on Hopkins and his eye for the beauty in this natural world. As a Jesuit priest, Hopkins choose the most austere and depressing cloister. However, he celebrated the natural world and used his poetry to celebrate his love for God.
Looking at the words above, while I hear the sprung rhythm, I am more struck by the gentle tension of the contrasts observed by the poet. When I consider this, I realize the life is filled with contrasts -- life, death, good, evil, kind, cruel. And, in each of these, we must have sampled the darker to appreciate the brighter. These past days, I have been consumed with the darker; however, being out in the sun, working with mud and dirt under my nails, has cured my darkness.
I know why our First Parents were gardeners. It is like being pregnant. Planting seeds is the only other time one can truly partner with God to bring something beautiful from something so small. It dawned on me yesterday that while I want to farm, God can only do so much. He provided the land and my well-being and ability to do it. However, unless I make the commitment to partner with Him in the work, my land will be as He created it. Only when I join Him can my dreams be completely fulfilled. What a fitting thought for Easter.