Monday, 2 May 2011

The power of the wood-world

What are the ten most precious experiences in your life? I guess most of us would come up with a different list, depending on our personal preferences. For me, finding a perfect line of poetry is one of my favourite experiences.

At a southern English country craft fair yesterday, I soon became bored with non-local "country" walking sticks, silver jewelery and touring cheese stands.  Many were run not by regional or local craftspeople but professionals who make a living traveling many English country craft fairs.

But there was one stand, that of a local calligrapher, labouring for love not money possibly in a local country cottage, which caught my eye. This artist had embellished one line from a poem "The Idylls of the King" by Alfred Lord Tennyson. In a few words, this one line has helped me to identify why I love living under a wild wood.

Poets give us a romantic appreciation of Nature and focus our vague experiences into universally recognisable perceptions.

First, Tennyson clarifies the healing qualities of a wood, in the line:

"The wholesome music of the wood".

But he follows it with a line that strikes me forcibly:

 "The whole wood-world is one full peal of praise".

Indeed! Our wood's ever-chanting birds sit in towering, swaying trees, like the towers of a medieval cathedrals which peal out, like church bells, the praise, glory and majesty of God.  This, for me, is why this "wood-world" sound is so magically healing: it is non-human, undiluted praise.

For more about "The Idylls of the King", see:

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