Daily living inures us to the simple beauty in nature. Living in Suburbia where manicured lawns and rigorously-planned garden beds tended by day laborers may give the person driving by a sense of orderedness and for one fleeting moment, the arrow of beauty pierces the eye. But life is too hurried and harried to enjoy it. The business of earning our keep so that the gardens may be tended keeps us in that surface, superficial relationship to nature.
This is one of the reasons why an annual retreat to the mountains is so necessary for recovering a sense of the sacred. Today's hike brought us to the middle of the deep woods, an icy-cold mountain stream gurgled by, the stones smoothed by years and years of watery assault and then we saw: bank upon bank of mountain laurel, pristine white and pale pink bell-like blossoms weighed down by last night's rain. It was a breath-taking scene in that early morning pale light where shadows were still long and colors were softly hued. The birds' calling pierced the air with their morning greeting, and the scent of wild honeysuckle hung like a gentle cloud. Eliade called moments like these as hierophanies...and when I allowed for the scales of my life-wearied eyes to see, here was the sacred written in nature, all time stopped....God whispered and I could hear faintly: All shall be well, you shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well (see Julian of Norwich, also Little Gidding by T.S. Eliot).