Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

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 all trades, 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:

Praise him.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Trying To Work Up Some Gratitude

For the rain, that is.  It really seems like it's rained every single day this summer, though I know that can't be true.  My typical reaction to weather: It's never been this hot/cold/wet/dry/windy/still before!  Then I look back at my notes, and I realize it's always that bad.  Always.  Today, it's the rain, the soggy soil, the monstrous mosquitoes.  We're running about 4 inches ahead of our normal rainfall. 

 (Photo: Thomas Bush)

But last year, we were ten inches behind, and almost the entire state of Texas was in a severe drought.  Crops withered on the vine, lawns turned brown and stayed that way, massive old pecans gave up the ghost and pine trees everywhere fell victim to the pine bark beetle.  It's always something.

 (Photo: Rolf Bauer)

I'm reminded of Henry Mitchell, who writes in The Essential Earthman:

I detect an unwholesome strain in gardeners here, who keep forgetting how very favorable our climate is, and who seem almost on the verge of ingratitude.  Disaster, they must learn, is the normal state of any garden, but every time  there is wholesale ruin we start sounding off -- gardeners here -- as if it were terribly unjust.  Go to any of those paradise-type gardens elsewhere, however, and see what they put up with in the way of weather, and you will stop whimpering.  What is needed around here is more grit in gardeners.

He continues:

It is not nice to garden anywhere.  Everywhere there are violent winds, startling once-per-five-centuries floods, unprecedented droughts, record-setting freezes, abusive and blasting heats never known before.  There is no place, no garden, where these terrible things do not drive gardeners mad.
from "On the Defiance of Gardeners," by Henry Mitchell, The Essential Earthman, ©1981, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York

(Photo: Jelena Loncar)

I'm trying.  Gratitude.  Grit.  Hmm.


  1. Glad you included this excerpt. I should be reading this every time I think I must be the one gardener whose complaints are more than her blooms;)

  2. Oh, mercy, you and I have much in common ... yep, let's keep working on that gratitude and grit.