Nothing is so Beautiful as Spring
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightning to hear him sing .....
So begins one of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poems to celebrate the glory of the seasons. This young Jesuit was a contemporary of our own Julian Tenison Woods. Born a decade later in 1844 and dying just before Julian on 8 June 1889, he like Julian was a keen observer of the natural wonders of the world and of the changing of the seasons.
As the glory of Spring clothes our gardens and we join so many Australians dealing with the weeds that accompany the flowers, it is timely that we celebrate the anniversary of our Father Founder who relished the amazing variety of the natural world that had become his home far from his origins in London.
A little removed from these visionaries, it seems providential that we have been given a program from the ABC that is a worthy successor of their relishing of all things beautiful.
Aaron Peterson and Holly Ringland have teamed up to invite their viewers Back to Nature. With them we walk the land and gaze at the magnificence of forest, grasslands, mountains and seascapes with the amazing abundance of flora and fauna that are at home here.
There is such a sense of reverence as they speak of the spiritual life that is absorbed through the pores of the skin as they take time to be in touch with every leaf and rock. The short meditative journey ends with a communion meal using some indigenous recipes that have been passed down from the elders of the land.
Our heritage - also passed down from our elders –likewise invites us to be aware of the richness surrounding us that blesses each day with the splendid jewels of Spring and the age old sculpture of the rocks. Julian’s words echo even more strongly today as we become more attuned to the fragility of our beautiful earth.
Writing to Mary MacKillop in 1870 he speaks to us, too:
God’s beauty, God’s goodness, God’s fatherly watchful care of me and all nature pursues me everywhere. There is no thought into which God does not enter. I can see Him in the flowers, in the insects, in the birds as they fly and only turn sadly away from all and think of the beauty that I have never understood and of the love overall which so greatly disposes everything so that (we) shall live secure amidst the great powers of nature.
Ellen Royan rsj