Friday, October 26, 2012

The Grandeur of God

Everyone, at some point in their life, should walk door-to-door. Should stick their head into a hundred other lives for just a moment, just a glimpse. To enter a hundred different stories. To listen to the patter of little feet, see a little face peer through the window, and hear a little voice: “Mama, it’s someone with a book!” It’s intimidating until the first rude response. Something like “---girl, you must be delusional!!” and the door slams. That over, there’s nothing left to worry about. Just knock on doors. Hundreds ---thousands--- of doors. The sky cries big drops from time to time. Then the sun glowers. But the trees are kind, carpeting the path with red and yellow. The trees. That’s what caught my attention the second day of this fascinating experiment. Rivers of asphalt with cement tributaries. And houses. “There’s a green one and a blue one, a yellow one and a purple one, and they’re all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same.” But that tree, the vibrant living tree. There it stood to weather all seasons. In the spring time, it laughed green life and, here in the autumn, it was a flame of yellow and red. And everyone just walks by. I began looking around. Sure enough, there were signs of life. Wind swept loudly between the corrugated houses, demanding attention. Everyone just pulled their hoods on tighter. Some trees clapped their hands. Others were bold enough to throw chestnuts and apples at passers by, who kicked them out of their way and hurried on. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” The sun stared brightly. “It will flame out like shining from shook foil. It gathers to a greatness” and gushes between the clouds. Crooked sidewalk lay tired, chipped and uneven. “Generations have trod, have trod, have trod.” Garage doors left open, with old men welding or tinkering on their cars. “All is seared with trade, bleared, smeared with toil.” Oil spills seeping into driveways. “And wears man’s smudge.” Cigarette butts littered the porches. “And shares man’s smell: the soil is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.” Shod. One aching foot in front of the other. “And for all this, nature is never spent.” An alyssum sneaking through a wire fence and, failing to catch anyone’s attention, let loose a honey like perfume. “There lives the dearest, freshest, deep down things.” Thin green spears of grass poked up through dark soil where a new lawn was brightly beginning. The sun was sinking low in the sky. Finally, the trek back to the car. But “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.”