Hidden in Veils

bakerapril

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.

cloudmountain

Reckless Blooms

photo by Kathy Yates
photo by Kathy Yates

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke

Perhaps there are places where spring blooms are reckless and shrieking in the night but the tulip fields in Skagit County, just south of where we live, is not one of them.

This is the home of carefully blended choral floral voices, harmonious and joyful, singing together to create a symphony of unforgettable visual grandeur.

In the heart of the night, there is only the contented hum of rows and rows of purring color stirring in the valley breezes, waiting for the dawn.

photo by Kathy Yates
photo by Kathy Yates
photo by KR Backwoods Photography
photo by KR Backwoods Photography

 

A Heart Inclined

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

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.
~Blaise Pascal

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”

Solace

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

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.
We know better.

Joining in the Hymn

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

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”

wild-strawberry

Sequestered Nook

pearblossomscherrybaker

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.

gravensteinapril