If the only prayer you ever said was thank you that would suffice – Meister Ekhart
To those who followed Columbus and Cortez, the New World truly seemed incredible because of the natural endowments. The land often announced itself with a heavy scent miles out into the ocean. Giovanni di Verrazano in 1524 smelled the cedars of the East Coast a hundred leagues out. The men of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon were temporarily disarmed by the fragrance of the New Jersey shore, while ships running further up the coast occasionally swam through large beds of floating flowers. Wherever they came inland they found a rich riot of colour and sound, of game and luxuriant vegetation. Had they been other than they were, they might have written a new mythology here. As it was they took an inventory.
I believe this communicates two ways of seeing and being in the world. We can seek to control it, measure it, see it as a resource for us to use and exploit, or we can marvel at and surrender to its beauty, breathing in its sights, scents, sounds, textures and tastes and breath out a huge THANKYOU. We need to slow down and learn the art of savouring: If we savour more we would buy less, we would be less compulsive, less unsatisfied, and live more simply; If we savour more we would communicate more deeply, relate more fully, compete less frequently, and celebrate more authentically. If we savour more, our moral outrage at injustice, cruelty and violence would intensify because our love of life would not be able to tolerate so readily those forces that diminish life and dignity.
Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: