Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Ramble - Wild Grace

The word for this week is grace, and it is one which pops up frequently in English language usage - perhaps more frequently in Romance languages such as French, Italian and Spanish. It comes to us from the Latin gratia, thence from gratus meaning pleasing or thankful. We use grace as a name for a beloved female child, in our deepest and most heartfelt prayers and meditations, to describe someone who is pleasing to the eye, or who is poetry in their motion.

Wendell Berry wrote of the indwelling balance, harmony and grandeur of the natural order as being "the grace of the world", and grace is present in every perfect word Mary Oliver writes. One of my favorite authors of urban fantasy, Charles de Lint, once described the great mystery at the heart of existence as simply "the Grace". No other word can ever begin to delineate the wonder of the perfect round world in which we breathe and dwell and wander all our days — the fertile ground underneath our feet, the water, rocks and trees around us, the radiant moon and oceans of dancing stars above us on a fine summer night, the company of good companions on this, our earthly journey.

I cannot claim to be graceful in my movements, lurching and fumbling along life's trail with an expression thoughtful, astonished and dazzled by turns. There is no poetry in motion here, and hiking boots, runners, sandals and "wellies" are more my style than ballet slippers — it would be deceitful to lay claim to any graceful movement whatsoever. Nevertheless, there is grace in this old life, and it is boundless grace of the most elemental and natural kind — the wild grace dwelling at the heart of life of which so many poets and authors have written eloquently.

Without saying the word aloud or even thinking it, what I am seeking in my slow rambles around the beaver pond or deep in the woods is a whisper, a mere hint of the world's indwelling grace, a fleeting glimpse into the perfect untroubled heart of things. Grace resides in new leaves, wild waters and old trees, in the stately movement of herons, the iridescent flash of bluebirds' plumage, the sundown songs of loons. When I encounter such grace, I breathe deeply and easily, and no matter what the troubles the earlier hours of the day have held, they vanish.


joanna said...

This post fills my heart, dear Cate. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Lovely meditation.

Debbie said...

I haven't been to visit in a while. Much to long of a while. It brought a warm smile to see Grace was your choice for the word this past week and to read your thoughts.

Much love to you, dear one!