Monday, January 20, 2014

Finding my own Penmaen Pool

For more years than I care to recall I have forgotten the importance of recreation, which is really my need to be re-created. This dawned on me with great clarity, yet again, this morning as I read and re-read Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem Penmaen Pool.

Being re-created in, through, and by a direct encounter with creation, which is the work of the Creator, is necessary for me. There is certainly a sense in which creation can be said to be sacramental. Does the psalmist not state forthrightly, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of his hands"? (Ps 19:2)

Don't we all

"long for rest... look for pleasure
Away from counter, court, or school"?

Wooden toll bridge built in 1879 over the Mawddach River estuary in Penmaenpool, North Wales

I don't mind saying that getting out, not just more (I have always managed to "get out," even when it meant being coaxed out by my wife, who often cares for me more than I care for myself), but a lot more is one of my resolutions for this year, one I hope extend beyond the somewhat artificial boundary of the 365 days that will constitute this year.

Growing up along the Wasatch Front of the great Rocky Mountains, I spent a lot of time hiking, marveling at the beauty and grandeur of creation. I remember being fascinated by finding the seashells, fossils of the pre-historic Lake Bonneville, which filled the valley in which I grew up, hiking in the canyons, which, at least when compared to the dry, dusty, rocky, and barren westward front of the mountains, which were accessible from my house, seemed green, lush, and cool. Where, oh where, are you, my Penmaen Pool?

January sunset along the Wasatch Front

Appropriate to today are more lovely words from Hopkins' poem:

Then even in weariest wintry hour
Of New Year's month or surly Yule
Furred snows, charged tuft above tuft, tower
From darksome darksome Penmaen Pool.

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