Every so often I just have to stop and read a little more Archibald Rutledge ( once Poet Laureate of SC) because his writing style is so lyrical I feel like musical notes should end each written line or sentence instead of a period.
In Home By The River Rutledge shares the up’s and down’s of trying to restore a centuries old ancestral plantation named Hampton. When caught complaining one day Sue Alston, the ” angel guardian” of Hampton, asked him what was wrong. Rutledge replied that there was always something happening in nature around Hampton that required additional stress and money….like storms, fires, floods, extremes of heat and cold,droughts.
Sue came back quickly…” Then pray hard… ” Unless a man is in trouble, his prayers ain’t got no suction. Our faith and hope are perhaps never so fervent as when we are in distress.”
One day after a terrible flood Rutledge took hope in the small green specks of green trying to survive…
” I stand in the lonely heart of a swamp from which a great flood has subsided. For a fortnight every plant and flower has been lost under the yellow smother of waters. The sun has hardly dried off the reeking death of the drowned swamplands before nature has set about her work of repair. Bushes that have lost all their leaves show hints of coming greenery. Serried ranks of marsh blades that have been mashed flat by the freshet tide are already recovering their upright positions. Everywhere there is an air of serenity , as if disaster were temporary. With nature ruin is transient. Life and resurrection of beauty are eternal .
A month later I revisit the swamp. Wild flowers are peeping out shyly from the dingy wreckage of the flood. Ferns of magical size are unfolding their mystical emerald fronds. A spirit of subdued triumph broods over all, a spirit of quiet rejoicing, which keeps singing to my heart…
“Hope is stronger than fear; love is greater than grief; life is mightier than death; disaster is an incident of time. The shadows and rain of today will nourish the blossoms of tomorrow.”
So until tomorrow…Rutledge’s modest appraisal of life was ” I, too, am but a visitor here; and I am trying to be a considerate guest.”
Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh
Beauty is not only eternal… it is everywhere around us.