a world cloaked in the beautiful
i was dashing–the verb that most often fits me. the air was the sort that sweeps up behind, roars up your neck, wakes you up with a tingle.
it was morning, not long after dawn.
i’d not quite rolled from the bed. as so often happens, a wisp of the last worry of the night before was there before i was, wriggled into my waking-up-ness, before i was even awake. that sort of pit that weighs you down while your legs, leaden, try to shake off the sheets and the blanket. where one night’s fret melts into one morning’s dread.
i hadn’t had time to shake it off, think much about it. it was simply there, a part of the weight of the still-groggy dawn.
but then, not long after, not too long anyway, i loped out the door, and i saw–beheld, really, stopped and beheld. the tangle of grasses and weeds, transformed into the beautiful. nearly blinding.
the first frost of the autumn, the glass-beaded luminescence that captures the slant of the sun, refracts it, refines it. wraps it up in a ball, makes it more than it was, broadcasts it.
practically shouts: look here, absorb the poetry, the power, that comes without words.
the world is at work in its tasks that trace back to the birth of all time.
there was darkness, there was light. genesis says so.
and so began the miracle of sunbeams captured in wee globes of dew.
or might it be the cold sweat of dawn’s labor, the hard work of night turning to day?
when first frost comes–when the architecture of water and cold finds itself frozen–that morning light is magnified, glorified, held up for ovation, a show that won’t last.
all part of the whole-cloth majesty that is the autumn.
when leaves drop their drab summer-worn green for jaw-dropping amber and gold, copper and crimson. air turns wake-me-up chilly. pumpkins weigh down the vine.
the slant of the sun as it drops in the sky, as we twirl farther and farther away, it all is a call to attention.
don’t pass me by, whisper the blades of the grasses. do not disregard the morning light captured, contained for a fraction of time, the white glow of october’s first breaths.
holiness unfurled like a sparkling carpet. gospel spread forth on the tongue of a bent strand of grass.
without clanging or cymbal, i stumble time and again on the truth that, for me, the natural world is some sort of a 24-7 wi-fi connection to the almighty Divine.
just when you think the only thing that matters is starting the car, getting to school before the big hand sweeps to the 5, getting the boy in the seat there beside you into the door before the scritch of the teacher’s pencil marking him late. just when you dare let that trivial thought distract you, get in the way, the white light of dew frozen stops you.
forget not that this is a web of water and light, air and creation. we are but players. and the dramas and plots we hold in our hearts, they pale put up against the jaw-dropping, breath-taking magnificence that is the first light of the first frost of the autumn.
the Divine is among us, always among us. if only we open our eyes, and drink in the wordless call to attention that dares to stop cold our mad-dashing, our mad-sad-dashing farther and farther away from what truly matters.
big weekend: jack’s baby boy gets married. the man i married marks the official pub date of his latest adventure in book-writing, “terror and wonder: architecture in a tumultuous age.” the firstborn i birthed decides which college. my faraway brother from up in the mountains comes home for a whirl. dear friend’s baby girl is bat mitzvah. so many glories….
what stopped you in your tracks lately?
What stopped me in my tracks? Your poetic gift herein! Wow.It’s great to be back, at Pull Up a Chair, and in The Windy City, at Mom’s, watching a fat chipmunk pose atop a fountain on the terrace. It is marvelous how His handiwork will pull me up short from my trivial pointless worries back to the essential. (Like a fearless Friend who won’t take my shit). Seems these wonders, lovingly placed around us, stir in us a gratitude for the things that really count… They hit my reset button.
Dearest bam … life is a whirlwind of late. I am meeting myself coming and going and I’m far too busy for my own good. But … my sweet papa is ailing. In fact, we nearly lost him a few weeks ago. I felt frantic to think that in the middle of my insane busy-ness, his life nearly slipped away. Dear God in heaven …Like you, it seems that the pace of my life is at break-neck speed and I just want to holler ‘whoa’! Reading this reminded me of what I noticed off the back deck early yesterday morning … my trees have begun to hint that their autumn colors are on the way. It reminded me that no matter how busy and stressful life can be, the wonder of God’s creation marches on to remind us that He’s still on the job. Thank goodness.
what has stopped me in my tracks, both literally and figuratively, is my sweet sweet husband. You see, he has a commute which takes all of 15 seconds from our front door to his office across the alley from our house, whereas my commute involves driving for 45+ minutes through the belly of chicago’s industrial yards and strip malls. Between the long commute, the errands completed on the way home, both my bladder and my arms are full, yet he is there to open the back door of our house and take the bag of groceries out of my hands so that I can rush to the bathroom (he has learned not to take my mad dash away from him as a sign of my lack of excitement to see him, but rather the side effect of a long commute on bumpy streets). After all of this rushing to get home to him, I quickly return back to the kitchen where he patiently waits to give me a welcome home kiss and it is only then at the end of the day that I take a breath and can say, yes it is time to stop, it is time to be versus time to do…. something.
pjv, so sorry this took so long to post. my ol’ computer blew up the other day, and i am just learning the new one….SOO sorry about your papa, honey. i nearly fell off my chair when i read the comment above……will find you the direct way, but just wanted to say i am so sorry you’ve been holding on for dear life. sending love….and slj sooo sooooooooooooooooo great to have you back here…
My list of what has stopped me in my tracks recently is long, long, long. And, very little on my list is associated with the natural world. Yes, the leaves are beautiful, the morning light is remarkably different, and even those pesky lady bugs do have some beauty. But, oh, my, nothing stopped me, nothing caught me off guard quite like the sight of my boys, my men, all dressed up for the wedding last Saturday. Tuxedos do a lot for them! And my husband, ever so handsome, involved in deep conversation wtih the groom. Then there was the groom, eyes straight ahead, as his radiant bride came down the aisle toward him. Most of all, the surprise of finding my daughter in law, the new mom, sitting in the pew when I was seated. She was beautiful as always, and I was shocked to see her. I’m so happy she was there. Finally, last Saturday when the sun finally came out and lit up the stained glass windows just as Mass ended, it was breathtaking. Of course, I had to stop and cry yesterday when I heard that tiny chubette made her goal – 3 pounds with an extra ounce to make us all smile. She still has a long road ahead of her, sudden concern about some serious vision problems and bowel surgery scheduled the middle of next week, but she is growing and thriving. So, yes, the wedding was wonderful! All that preparation wore us all out, though, so I am truly happy that it’s over. And, the baby will hopefully be okay. She will be stopping me in my tracks for many years to come. PJV – sending lots of prayers for your dad and you. These are tough times for you! Lots of love to all who gathered at the table this week.
Dearest friends … many thanks for the prayers going up for my papa. His life nearly slipped away when his blood pressure suddenly dropped to 60/30 and he began to have multiple seizures … he went into anaphalactic shock, but we still do not know why. Thanks to my mother’s quick actions, and a short distance to the ER via ambulance, he didn’t die but it was far too close for all of us. Doctors are baffled but he now carries an epi-pen at all times. There are many other health concerns for him, far too many to list here, but we are grateful for prayers offered up on his behalf.Jack … dear heart, your description of the wedding took me back to nearly a year ago as our beautiful Emily walked down the aisle on her father’s arm. It made me smile and hearing that your daughter-in-law also shared in the day’s happiness nearly made me cry. We are offering up prayers on behalf of that precious little baby and also for the family who dearly loves her … keep the updates coming.
and i too finally got to sit and read these luscious comments, the story of the wedding…..the chubbette at 3#1oz. bless her heart. and since that was days ago i am certain she’s sprouted up and out since then, little darling. how filled with grace that new mama who took time out from her own chapter to be witness to the wedding…and pjv, so sorry to hear just how scary that all must have been. thank God your papa is beyond that scary point in time. and on the mend….love to all who gather here…