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: