the beauty of the day

After a week of rain, the sun came out, making garlands of light and sweetness. I had enjoyed being cosily housebound, but there's something about a bright day after rain that lifts the spirits even if you love stormy weather. On my way to buy primroses for my sitting room, I revelled in the clean skies, the lush hedges sparkling with dampness, the birdsong and the dry whisper of raw-boned trees. Our village church has freshly-mown lawns and they smell like a memory of early spring.


I willed myself to imagine that I was in some beautiful countryside setting - not only for the look of beauty, or the hush of beauty, but the heart of it too. When I passed by a woman we exchanged greetings and commented on the weather. Usually I am shy, but it felt important to connect with a passing stranger; it felt like an expression of the beauty I was trying to envision. George Monbiot calls this The Age of Loneliness, and I agree with him. I actually believe that most of the problems in our world at the moment are due to our disconnection from other people - either wilful or enforced - economically, politically, spiritually.

Of course, we've always been this way. I recently finished reading (yet again) about The Cousins' War, followed by (yet again) Rilla of Ingleside, not to mention the fact that I'm writing this post on the anniversary of The Battle of the Somme. These all reminded me that there hasn't really been an age of perfect harmony and peace since we began building walls around ourselves millennia ago.

But it's also true that billions of people around the world do their best every day, in big and small ways, to create goodness. It's easy to look on the side of despair, but the view in the other direction offers real encouragement. I am making a careful effort lately to turn away from ugliness as much as possible. I do think we need to weep and rail when terrible things happen, rather than hiding under a blanket of prettiness and positivity. And I think we should protest wrongdoings and speak for those without a voice, such as animals and nature. But in general, on an everyday basis, in the small things, I want to turn my attention to the lovely people, the flowering hedges behind lines of traffic, the birdsong not the endless rumble of construction.

As Melina Marchetta says, I want to look at the side of wonder.

1 comment:

  1. "i want to look at the side of wonder." yes, and in truth it makes life possible. because to dwell only on the other side is living death. i'm "informed", which is mostly a woeful thing these days; i'm vocal with support and careful in my living; i grieve often for the sorrows of the world as well as the ones that unavoidably come to us all. but always i must turn my eyes back to the beauty and wonder, because to do otherwise for me would make living impossible.