It always comes back to this, as Mary Oliver wrote. Nature, the power of its voice.
It was the grass that caught my eye, as does a twinkle of light in the dark. In the state park, just past the half mile of pot-holed pavement neither the city or state has paved, and in a ferocious wind, I saw it. The light was stellar after so many cloudy days of rain. It was mid-day and so the sun swept land and lake and, well, everything under the sun.
The mile long lineation of willows edging the lake thrashed in the wind with their ropes of leaves now the color of lima beans. A pervasive intensity of light saturated the water with royal blue waves splashing forward with frothing white grins. Some of these waves crashed high over the guardian rocks.
It was the grass, as I said, that harpooned my attention. Anything and everything screamed to be noticed, and nothing could be overlooked on a day draped in such light and color. But there it was, grass a magnitude of green I had not seen since early spring when the yellow shock of dandelions made it so vivid. The strip of lawn along the seawall was lustrous, and with the wind militantly moving the grass, each blade glistened. Really, it was a miniature light show with each blade waving and shining in the wind.
Just days before the earth had seemed sodden and drown, ready to be put to rest for winter. Last Thursday, unwisely after the Nor’easter, I rode my bike to Waterloo through deep puddles and soft mud menacing the trail. Afterward I had began to prepare myself for drabness — a preponderance of bare bark and the dark shades of decay. But now, just four days later, the colors sang in the golden light of late autumn.
This is perhaps why I frame and re-frame my world with hope. The cornucopia of things to dread out there is daunting. Truly, how human beings treat one another and the earth that surrounds us, is enough to suck all hope from the heart and mind. But life without hope is an endless season without color, without change, without light. The seasons of the earth and the relentless nature of life to redistribute itself and adapt, if we but look for it in the ordinary minutia at our feet, will splash our faces with hope even when we are absorbed by a morose mood.
Grass, ordinary grass except for the saturation of its color and the light glossing each blade in the wind, is a very small thing — a quiet voice in the grand scale of nature. Yet it spoke to me from out of the brilliance of all the other autumn colors swirling in the wind that day. I tell you, there are whispers of beauty and grandeur we miss hearing each day, even each hour. Just one of those small voices is enough to re-orient us away from the stale morass of forlorn gloom. I am no Pollyanna but I believe in the power of perspective — no, not merely believe, but know the power of perspective. If your view seems too small, look around and be amazed. Hear the small voices that speak without words.