Every now and again I hear a sentence that makes me shudder, in a good way. Like when I read “He is the breath inside the breath” and had to put my book down while I caught my breath. My soul loves that kind of talk. I feel as though a layer of something unseen has been pulled back and I had the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time getting a lucky glimpse into something or some place unseen.
Today I read that “a beautiful thing, though simple in its immediate presence, always gives us a sense of depth below depth, almost an innocent wild vertigo as one falls through its levels.”
I am sure that all we need is to open our eyes, no matter where we are, to see beauty but the farm is such a wonderful picture of this.
I see children come to the farm who look out onto green pastures teeming with life and see not abundance but scarcity and void. No T.V., no games, no air conditioning, no action, no entertainment. Other children though, widen their eyes as if it were their duty to keep nothing hidden from their heart and soul. They see the birds, the bugs, the thickness of the wool on a lamb, the long black eyelashes on a calf, the velvety black noses of the cows, the different colored feathers of a chicken that looked “just” red from far off. They see the subtlest shades of green, blue and brown of the various colored eggs. They see things crawling in the dirt and flying in the air. They notice that different size bees are on the same plant. They hear the unique calls of the birds in the trees or the tapping of a woodpecker searching for lunch. Depth upon depth they fall through layers of beauty.
William Stafford wrote that “hearing things you do not need to hear dulls your hearing”. I am certain that seeing what we shouldn’t see dulls our vision. I see it so starkly in the children that visit our farm and it worries me for them and for me.
Work on a farm is grueling. It is never ending and always demanding. I am trying to take a clue from the monastery farms we have either visited or read about. We try to remember to pray while we collect eggs or gather the cows for milking. We are thankful for the cycles of the moon when we sow clover in February that will feed our cows in May. We are thankful for the sheep that will grow the wool this winter to keep us warm next winter. We are thankful for the buzzing bees, happily gathering pollen to make honey for our bread and tea.
Stepping over dung beetles on their way to the depths of the earth and walking under the birds that keep my garden free of pests I thank God for beauty, especially the beauty that calls me to remember who I am and of what I am made. My feet planted firmly on the ground but my head, oh my, the heavens my mind can reach while in the grasp of beauty.