Sunday, 18 November 2012


Another picture from Stockholm, November 2010

Yesterday I took a different turning in my after-lunch walk with Canis Minor and, like Dante, mi ritrovai per una selva oscura - I found myself in a dark wood. It was actually a clump of trees on the edge of a field, but it was dark: the day itself was dark (I won't say gloomy) with heavy rolls of grey-indigo cloud. The trees grew close together and their trunks were thick with ivy; the fallen leaves beneath them had lost much of their colour and made a carpet of muted beiges and ochres. Against this the dark green of the ivy seemed to glow - not bright or showy, but with a deep vibrancy that suggested the strength and constancy of evergreens at this time of year when the cold begins.  "Let winter come and all other leaves wither and fall: I am still here." No wonder ivy is a symbol of faithfulness. I want to ask for the grace of such tenacity!

Away on the other side of the fields was another wood, and here the Sun (already low, although still early afternoon) sent a shaft of light through a gap in the clouds, catching in its rays some trees which were still in leaf - including some birches whose astonishing golden leaves shone bright against their silver trunks. A chill wind moved the branches; I turned for home and some warming ginger tea!

Some people say the word "book" comes from "birch" because the bark was used to write on (others say it's from "beech", but one way or another it's from the name of a tree). Certainly there is much to read in trees - real Lectio Divina, you might say (I do!)

And I found these words on the Idle Speculations blog and thought I'd share them:

Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air, amply spread out everywhere, question the beauty of the sky... question all these things. They all answer you: 'Here we are, look; we're beautiful'. Their beauty is their confession. Who made these beautiful changeable things, if not one who is beautiful and unchangeable? 
(St Augustune, Sermons, 241, 2: PL 38, 1134)

Blessings at this time of the changing year!

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