Sunday, November 08, 2009

Leaf Peeping

Leaf peeping is the art of being at the right place at the right time. To be there just as the perfect combination of sunny days and cool nights turns the leaves into the brightest shades crimson, orange and gold.

It was a perfect day. The autumnal air was crisp and fresh. The sky was a deep, cloudless blue. The sun set the leaves ablaze.

The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing find the place where all the beauty came from ...the place where I ought to have been born.

Psyche, in Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves — that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty, grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can't. They tell us that "beauty born of murmuring sound" will pass into human face; but it won't. Or not yet.

For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.
C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory