On my way home to Tantallon last night I was on the Metro X bus trying not to fall asleep. I have been putting in some very long days this August and by 7 pm. I was finding it hard to keep from slipping into dream land. I looked at the seat directly ahead of me and saw a woman in business attire staring out the window looking at the sky. I looked out too, I wanted to see what she saw. It was truly magnificent, the blue in the sky was so vibrant, the clouds were arranged in such a way that a photograph or painting would never do this masterpiece justice. I just stared at this scenery for the rest of the ride.
When I got off the bus I felt strangely refreshed. Something about God’s creation is so stirring that it takes away fatigue, takes away stress, and replaces both with wonder. It’s like the senses can’t get enough of this feeling of awe.
I’ve thought a lot about this, why this effect on our being. I have decided that thinking is not going to reveal the answer. There is something emotive about our connection to creation, we are drawn to it, we yearn for it, and the natural order has a way of putting it all in perspective. I think something subconscious realizes in these moments that what we are fretting about pales in comparison to the big picture all around us.
I have never been moved by the Public Gardens or other ornate landscapes. They are too tidy, too contrived, too domestic. I think Fr. Thomas Berry is right that the wildness of nature is what we absorb, there is something in the human spirit that needs to witness the wildness of nature. In Genesis control is contrasted with care, we are not to try and control the natural order, the wildness of the world, but we are asked to care for the natural world. The Bible speaks of “dominion” but this term is less about control and more about good stewardship.
All summer Lucy has been asking to go to Polly’s Cove. There is nothing tidy or controlled about Polly’s Cove. The wildness is the attraction. There is a narrow walk path but it is not the only way to go. However you want to explore the coast line is up to you. Pitcher Plants, large rocks, wet grass, rugged shore line, and a small iron sculpture (by the famous John Little, no relation) all contribute to an uncontrolled and wild space. I think that is what draws Lucy there.
I am as urban as they come. No farm life, no fishing trips, no camping, for me. But I am deeply affected by landscape. It remains the one and only thing that can calm my restless energy. And it is the one thing that can summon my sense of wonder when I am tired.
And like God’s grace it is free.