I spent most of my four hours of fly time last week gaping out my window. The skin of the earth, glimpsed from a few thousand feet up, is a shocking thing. I am smitten by the patterns that dance ceaselessly through creation. The lacework of trees, twining and reaching to the sky is writ large in the delicate cut of a river over sere, wintered plains. Each canyon is a sturdy root, each gully a frail new branch. How right, and strange, that that shape, the twirl and reach of active lines means life; water in dry places, trees pressing up to bear their fragile leaves.

And the whorl of clouds, like the rills in a stream, like the whirl of ancient stars. Lines in motion, straightness bent to laughter, to dance.

Look at this world! It’s as if all the earth and sky were carved with letters and songs. The patterns are large as the land and sky I saw from my window, yet also incalculably small. The same rills and branchings, whorls and dancings, are etched in atoms as well as atmosphere. Frenzied joy is written all over this place in which we exist, in a language we can’t yet read. I think my heart, once in awhile, knows how to sing it though.

Surely we all walk awake in a real faery land and barely know it.



Filed under Nature

4 responses to “Patterns

  1. Susan


    Such true words. I was walking by Lichfield Cathedral at the weekend, and just before the sun set the sky was a mixture of pale blue and pinks, the Cathedral itself looked black against the pretty colours. I was drinking the sight in despite being freezing cold, I just had to keep stopping and looking at the sky. I wondered how many had missed the beauty as they hurriedly walked home from their shopping and had failed to look at the sky, and perhaps how many times I have been so wrapped up in my ‘busy-ness’ that I missed the beauty too.

    I like your last sentiments, yes, we barely know it!

    Have a very lovely Chrismas!


  2. Anonomous

    Thank you for your beautiful words in this essay. It is good to remember, and not take for granted, the beauty all around us. Thanks for the reminder and for saying it so thoughtfully~

  3. Oh, yes. Surely, we do.

  4. When I flew on an airplane, my favorite part was gazing out the window. I remember being above clouds that were pink. It looked like candyland. I felt as if the ground were clouds. Everywhere I looked as far as I could see, there were big, puffy, pink clouds. I will never forget that. Yes, the world looks so beautiful from the sky! =)

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