View From The Glen

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It's no secret that Fall is my favourite time of year. I drive home the long way just to travel the winding country roads in their mantle of vibrant oranges and dusky reds; I take the dog for long walks just to kick up the coppery leaves on the road; I rake the gold and crimson and brown into piles just to watch the kids dive into them and throw them up into the air again.

But today...ah, today...

I walked out the door at 7am this morning into a perfect world. The sky to the south was layered - dark clouds the colour of granite over silver clouds with peeks of bright blue beneath. To the east, the sun, low in the sky, beamed brightness over the corn fields, just tipping the golden sheaths in the fields and highlighting a broad swath of metallic colour across the fall forest.

It was like being hit by a flash of something so grand that words, pictures, even thoughts could not do it justice. I felt like I'd been consumed by the moment and all I could do - all I even wanted to do - was stand there and be part of it.

Just me...and the sublime.

It's happened before. Many times, but more often as a child. I used to call it the "flash" because that's how it seemed to me. A moment of intense beauty and the feeling that all's right with the world. It's there and gone in a heartbeat sometimes, and other times - like this morning - lingering, slowly fading away, but leaving me with an overwhelming sense of goodwill. Today, I might describe it like a veil being lifted to reveal a world more gorgeous, more breathtaking than I had previously imagined. If I were religious, I might call it divine. Certainly, Gerard Manley Hopkins - poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest - springs immediately to mind:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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