Thursday, August 17, 2006

The things of this world

One of my favorite quotations is by St. Augustine, “Love calls me to the things of this world.” Richard Wilbur uses it as the title of a wonderful poem. The idea that we are kept tied to this world, even in the midst of tragedy, by the things of the world is to me, one of the most profound of truths. When I see a child entranced by a bug – a white caterpillar with a black stripe down its back or a luna moth – I remember that I myself don’t spend enough time with what the world offers. There are moments of grace, however, where the world jumps up and slaps me: the time several years ago when Bill and I went on our first walk of the spring and came upon a patch of yellow flowers. Afterwards we found out its name, coltsfoot, and learned that it is the earliest wildflower of our region. Richard Wilbur wakes to the sound of the clothes line pulley and to the look of sheets hanging on the line. A moment of grace.