Nature Never Did Betray the Heart that Loved Her
There are places that calm one's spirits, still one's restless mind and offer comfort, solace. These are the places where I love to walk, hearing the wind rustle through leaves, watching dust arise from my steps, light leaves skipping along the path in the breeze. The sound of birds, sometimes distant and musical, sometimes close, piercing or raucous. The red-tailed hawks gliding on still wings. The occasional great blue heron, unaware of its great beauty. The white pelicans at Shoreline Park, lifting their wings and our hearts as they stay a while during their southward migration.
Is there a poem that captures the beauty of Nature more than William Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" or more completely "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798 "?
"For I have learned To look on nature, not as in the hour Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes The still, sad music of humanity, Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power To chasten and subdue. And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still A lover of the meadows and the woods, And mountains; and of all that we behold From this green earth; of all the mighty world Of eye, and ear,—both what they half create, And what perceive; well pleased to recognise In nature and the language of the sense, The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul Of all my moral being."
Edgewood County Park in Woodside, California is my own Tintern Abbey, to whose undulating hills, serpentine rock and magnificent oaks I have breathed many a prayer of gratitude for infusing their calmness and strength into my flagging spirit. On whose paths I have listened, in despair, to every rendition of the song "Hallelujah" I could find, starting with Leonard Cohen, who wrote the lyrics, to versions by Celine Dion, Pentatonix, and k.d lang.
"And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my lips but Hallelujah."
A walk in my neighborhood after some heavy rains this winter yielded this extraordinary sight. Tall liquidambar trees reflected in a pool of water in the street.
Now in the spring, this is what the liquidamber in my front yard looks like, and several other trees in the neighborhood.
They turn brilliant colors in the fall.
At Christmas, a California oak in the neighborhood is covered in lights!
My friend Sharon has grown a screen of bamboos in her backyard in Potrero Hill, San Francisco, to screen out her neighbor's messy patio and yard.
A towering palm tree at Gamble Garden, in Palo Alto.
Filoli Gardens in Woodside has numerous old, stately trees: valley oaks, olive trees and many others.
In my own backyard, my beloved Kariveppila or Curry Tree, native of the Indian subcontinent, and now at home in Menlo Park.
Years ago, when I lived in Los Angeles, the sunset over the ocean at Santa Monica beach was one of the most magical sights. For me, it is still is.