Several years ago I went roller blading with friends on the bike path that runs alongside Lake Champlain. I have never been a fantastic skater, and I was using the same cheap pair of skates I had in middle school. For much of the time I was dead last and my friends were urging me to hurry up. My ankles were sore and my knees aching, but I kept on in the vain hope that I would eventually be skating with my friends instead of making them look anxiously over their shoulder at me.
In one place the path runs between two mossy walls of rock stretching twenty feet above one’s head. You can still see the horizontal lines for the dynamite that was used to open up the hillside. As we passed through in the late afternoon, fireflies had begun to blink in the shadow of the rock walls. It was still daylight above, but dim lights flashed down below in the roofless tunnel. It only lasted for twenty feet or so. It was beautiful.
“Come on, LeAnne. Hurry up!” I couldn’t stop to watch. Maybe it would have been less magical if I had, less like a stolen glimpse of paradise
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward springs–
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Gerard Manley Hopkins