Sunday, September 18, 2011

E.E. Milne, Papa Haydn, and Song of Songs...

In other words, it's been a beautiful evening!
I just finished reading A.A. Milne's masterpiece Once on a Time, just for fun between other things.

Here are some (rather long) excerpts from my favorite part:

(background first) Wiggs is a young girl who has always dreamed of being a beautiful, graceful dancer. One day, a fairy gave her a magic ring that would grant her a good wish if she managed to do only good for a whole day, and a bad wish if she managed to do only bad for a whole day. After being good for a whole day, she makes a very difficult decision, a decision which she thinks will help another but prevent her dearest wish from coming true, and then she runs away from the castle, into the forest...

It was very quiet in the forest. At the foot of her own favorite tree, a veteran of many hundred summers who stood sentinel over an open glade that dipped to a gurgling brook and climbed gently away from it, she sat down. On the soft green yonder she might have danced, an enchanted place, and now—never, never, never...
            How long had she sat there? It must have been a long time—because the forest had been so quiet, and now it was so full of sound. The trees were murmuring something to her, and the birds were singing it, and the brook was trying to tell it too, but would keep chuckling over the very idea so that you could hardly hear what it was saying, and there were rustlings in the grass—“Get up, get up,” everything was calling to her; “dance, dance.”
           She got up, a little frightened. Everything seemed so strangely beautiful. She had never felt it like this before. Yes, she would dance. She must say “Thank you” for all this somehow; perhaps they would excuse her if it was not very well expressed.
            “This will just be for ‘Thank you,’” she said as she got up. 
“I shall never dance again.”
            And then she danced...
(Milne, A.A. Once on a Time, 156)

 Of course I can't help reading into this beautiful passage a bit, bringing my faith into it. I love the sacramentality of nature in what Wiggs experiences here. The beauty of the world, compelling us to dance, to sing, to praise. We must say "Thank You" to God in whatever way we can, even if it is "not very well expressed."

This reminds me of some lines from a song I got to sing in choir two years ago; 
Haydn's "The Heavens are Telling":

The Heavens are telling the glory of God,
The wonder of his work displays the firmament...
In all the lands resounds the word,
Never unperceived, ever understood.

And there is one more passage that I have to share from Milne, which appears shortly after the one quoted above...

...There is blue magic in the morning; the sky, deep-blue above, melts into white where it meets the hills. The wind waits for you up yonder—will you go to meet it? Ah, stay here! The hedges have put on their green coats for you; misty green are the tall elms from which the rooks are chattering. Along the clean white road, between the primrose banks, he comes. Will you be round this corner?—or the next? He is looking for you...
(Milne, A.A. Once on a Time, 158)

Sadly, I was unable to find a picture to capture these words, but maybe some more words from another book might do?

Hark, my Lover, here He comes!...My Lover is mine, and I am His!

Enough said.

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