Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"heaven in a wild flower."

To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour. William Blake
I think about this phrase from a William Blake poem often. I use it as a reminder of how I think that I am actually supposed to see the world and experience it. It puzzles me sometimes when I think on it too.
“To see the world in a grain of sand,” makes a lot of sense to me. It's seeing the fact that time is short, that we are a small part of a whole, that we are made of the very earth. It causes me to think about the immensity of creation and yet how simple it really is.
My favorite part of this line from the poem is, “and to see heaven in a wild flower,” I have seen heaven in a wild flower, I've seen it in some domesticated ones too. I remember being a teen that needed to get away from the house, especially in the spring. Of course spring was the best time to get away, I had been cooped up all winter in the house, school and anywhere else that an adult wanted me to be at the time. Walking the creek banks near the house or the woods behind the house provided a place for me to see the wild flowers. Heaven was truly there if it were to be found any place on earth. I remember lying down on the moist earth on my stomach and looking at the tiny green/white blooms of the May Apples, their blossoms protected by the canopy of leaves over them. Earlier in the springtime it was Dutch Boy's Britches. I loved them for their delicate color and their tiny parts, hair fine stamens that came out of the center of each bloom as the blooms that truly looked like pants hung out on the line. Maybe my favorite was Indian Paintbrush. I loved how the flaming red petals stood among the dark green background of mid to late May and how it was so simple, only five petals, but each one with a ragged edge different than the one that was next to it. The flowers were created of parts, some so delicate only God could have made them, and maybe he was thinking that we could see his home for us in the tiny parts that he hid in plain sight. I did see heaven there, I still see heaven there. .
Now that it's autumn it's harder to see heaven in the wild flowers. They are dry and slowly fading, but once in a while I happen upon a branch of wild asters or even what people fear as the most wicked of allergens Golden Rod or Solidago. Each branch bearing the smallest of daisy like blooms. I don't see heaven in the crunchy leaves. I seem them in the Wild Flowers, the characters around me that seem to run free and appear to have no restrictions in their lives, no, “gardens” to control them just as the wild flowers have no boundries or flower beds.
I'm jealous of those Wild Flowers that appear to fly by the seat of their pants, who don't really plan, I envy them at times and want to chastise them at others.
While I know that at the end of this phrase from the poem that Blake didn't mean what I have experienced, but I've lived eternity in an hour, that time that simply wouldn't go away. But there has been the joy in the experience of having held infinity in the palm of my hand.

6 Comments:

Blogger Mike Mather said...

Beautiful Don. I'm so glad you are sharing your thoughts and excellent writing in this way. And I love this piece that reminds us of the beauty and the grace of God at work in our lives and in the world. Thank you.

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