Sometimes the mountain is hidden from me in veils of cloud, sometimes I am hidden from the mountain in veils of inattention, apathy, fatigue, when I forget or refuse to go down to the shore or a few yards up the road, on a clear day, to reconfirm that witnessing presence. ~Denise Levertov “Witness”
Even on the days like today when the mountain is hidden behind a veil of clouds, I have every confidence it is there. It has not moved in the night, gone to another county, blown up or melted down. My vision isn’t penetrating enough to see it through cloud cover today, but it will return to my line of sight, if not tomorrow, perhaps the next day. I know this and have faith it is true.
On the days when I am not bothering to look for it, too preoccupied so walk right past its obvious grandeur and presence, then it is reaching out to me and calling me back. There are times when I turn a corner on the farm and glance up, and there it is, a silent and overwhelming witness to beauty and steadfastness. I literally gasp at not noticing before, at not remembering how I’m blessed by it being there even at the times I can’t be bothered.
It witnesses my lack of witness and still stays put to hold me fast yet another day. And so I keep coming back to gaze, sometimes just at clouds, yearning to lift the veil just one more time.
If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world. ~C. S. Lewis
I’ve been following Kathleen Mulhern’s blog “Dry Bones” where she is currently illuminating Blaise Pascal’s fascinating discussions on faith and belief (i.e. Pascal’s Wager). I am learning how “seeking is as good as seeing” (Julian of Norwich).
What Pascal determines is that one must “incline the heart” toward belief in God, to “desire” to fill that “God-shaped hole” in our lives:
I tell you that you will gain even in this life, and that at every step you take along this road you will see that your gain is so certain and your risk so negligible that in the end you will realize that you have wagered on something certain and infinite for which you have paid nothing.
If we do not know spiritual hopelessness, we cannot hope. If we do not know spiritual wretchedness, we cannot find the happiness we long for. If we do not see the abyss at our feet, we cannot believe there is a way across it; if we are not willing to descend into its depths, which lie in our own souls, we will never ascend the heights on the other side. ~Kathleen Mulhern from “Dry Bones”
Don’t say, don’t say there is no water
to solace the dryness at our hearts…
Don’t say, don’t say there is no water.
That fountain is there among its scalloped
green and gray stones,
it is still there and always there
with its quiet song and strange power
to spring in us,
up and out through the rock.
~Denise Levertov from “The Fountain”
Spring is a time of solace, a rehydration of our dry hearts. We are sprung from an internal desert by a fountain cascading up and over and through the impenetrable yet smoothed rock of our souls, a perpetual hymn of watery song strengthened by each obstacle, emboldened by every impeding obstruction.
Still there and always there, for when we are most thirsty, for when we hear over and over there is no water.
I wished to wade in the trillium and be warmed near the white flames. I imagined the arch of my foot massaged by the mosses. This field immersed in gravity defying growth. Green and glorious. It let me know that out of the soil came I, and green I shall be. Whether an unnamed weed or a wild strawberry I will join in the hymn. ~Luci Shaw from “Spring Song, Very Early Morning”
Beneath these fruit-tree boughs that shed Their snow-white blossoms on my head, With brightest sunshine round me spread Of spring’s unclouded weather, In this sequestered nook how sweet To sit upon my orchard-seat! ~William Wordsworth
Sequester has a different meaning these days — a “take no prisoners” government withholding of funds it hadn’t collected to begin with.
I prefer the “hidden away for safe-keeping” definition — exactly how I feel when I walk into the orchard. I am cloistered in blossoms exuberant with potential.
Sequestered nook. Words and times change but the essence of spring’s promise never does.
Spring is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine… ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Some days, this time of year, the skies are gray with indecision and it doesn’t rain nor does the sun ever shine, a truly lukewarm day. The days that are most interesting, however, are those that declare themselves “clear” or “soaking wet” and then switch somewhere in the middle. The transition itself is stormy.
Yesterday started with pouring rain — no drizzle this — with no hope of clearing, no peek of blue sky, no mountains on the horizon as they were covered in gray cotton wool.
Then in a mighty switch around noon, a wind blew in and took the gray away with a sweep of the hand. The skies cleared, the mountains reappeared with even more snow cover than the day before, and everything around shone with the glistening wash that had taken place.
It is spring, when all things are reborn wet and shimmering, sun shining amid the rain and rain drenching irresistible light.
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme; As tumbled over rim in roundy wells Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.
Í say móre: the just man justices; Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is— Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places, Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his To the Father through the features of men’s faces. ~Gerard Manley Hopkins
We are more than simple flash of wing or clarion ring~
We are imaged in God’s eye, imagined and brought to life,
We are His own retinal reflection
upon His creation,
ten thousand times ten thousand.
We are created lovely,
so much more
than light and sound~
in justice and sanctity~ keeps all his goings graces
featured in His face, our faces
as seen through His eyes.