Gerard Manley Hopkins said it best. “There lives the dearest freshness deep down things…” he writes in his poem “God’s Grandeur.” When it comes to religious faith I have more questions than answers but I get the revitalization that comes with spring. I don’t know if it’s just biology or something more. Is it just that my skin wants the sun, needs the vitamin D? Regardless, a true turning takes place inside me when the part of the earth where I live turns toward the sun.
These last two weeks of Spring Break found me outside, in my beloved Rock Creek Park, more often than normal. And normally, I’m there quite often. This magnificent urban park that lives at the heart of Washington, D.C. is my church and my monastery. Just walking among the trees, eating a solitary lunch at a picnic table, hiking the Western Ridge Trail and seeing eight deer resting among the leaves– all this awakens in me the earth’s slow turning.
These warming days also provided more urgent writing, more purposeful reading. All this is good. It comes with the spring and it’s very good.
In a couple of days I return to school for the last weeks of a school year that has been a sprint. My deliberate choice will be to slow it down, to savor these last few weeks. The rest and beauty of summer will be here soon enough. If I don’t slow myself down, I might miss that “dearest freshness deep down things.”
Photo: Boulder Bridge, Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.