“Glory be to God for dappled things.”


As I walk today under a pelting of fat green and brown acorns that I then crunch underfoot, I remember one of my favorite poems, “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. The sun casts beautiful patterns through the barely green leaves. The sidewalk collects her own design of light and leaf. It’s dappled and stippled and so lovely that I feel joy rise up in me. Hopkins writes:

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: 
                                Praise him.

I turn the words in my mind like I would a fresh acorn: dappled sunlight and the stippled sidewalk. I think about the way the light arrives as it does because of this particular time of day and season. It feels like the last day of summer with the heat that feels strangely chilly by the time the wind blows. And even though it’s bright and green here still in most places, I smell the acorns and leaves begin to settle into rest.

I’ll walk again tomorrow, and see new patterns and new light.


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