Lynne’s Blog – April 18, 2017

This Sunday we will celebrate Earth Day at St Andrew’s. Our lead in from Wendell Berry:

To be healed we must come with all other creatures to the feast of creation.

In what is fast becoming a year overpopulated with name days too often acknowledge something frivolous Earth Day remains perhaps the most important and most serious day we have singled out. Daily we hear stories of our diminished and threatened environment. Here in Ontario we have been shocked by the deeply unsettling statistics in regard to declining bird populations. And closer to home we have all had a timely reminder of the value of that most precious of substances for life. Water.

I would encourage everyone at this most joyous time of year, a time of renewal, rebirth and abundance of life, to pause for a moment and reflect on what we all cherish but far too often take for granted. A bird singing on a wire. That first bud on a tree or bush. You have only to look up and see what people in North America have seen for thousands of years: the returning V of geese against the sky. These and so many other harbingers of spring do bring a sense of gladness.

During our Sunday acknowledgment of Earth Day we will also be looking at The Secret Life of Trees. William Wordsworth knew well the potency and potential of these majestic and silent creatures when he wrote:

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Equally the smallest member of nature’s community can impart to any of us the magic that can hold healing and renewal for us if we only see it. The visionary William Blake was well aware of this and has much to teach us in this regard about the worlds nature contains:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Earth day invites us not just to heal ourselves but to extend that healing to our community and to the larger world including nature itself. Sadly, now more than ever what we look to for healing and renewal, nature, itself requires healing and renewal.

The final word must go to William Henry Davies. His well-known lines encourage us to stand and stare and see the beauty around us. Now more than ever his words carry an urgent message as our lives seem to be swallowed up with speed and stress and the ever present feeling that there are not enough hours in the day. Healing takes time and it requires reflection.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

– Lynne Donovan, 18 April 2017