There has been a lot of erosion this year. Rains from hurricanes have caused devastating mudslides in Central America. The coronavirus pandemic has washed away vacation plans and ordinary schooldays; swept away jobs and businesses and lives. As the meme on social media says, “This is not the year to get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have.”
There has been a lot of erosion this year, but not all erosion is destructive. As anyone who has been to the Grand Canyon knows, erosion can create great beauty. I was reminded of this by David Whyte’s poem, “Where Many Rivers Meet
.” After describing rain falling from clouds, and mountain streams rushing past tree roots, he writes,
and the mouths of the rivers sing into the sea,
the stories buried in the mountains
give out into the sea
and the sea remembers
and sings back
I wonder, what new songs will emerge from this year of erosion? What will you sing back?
Last month, while at the Gulf Coast, I started a poem:
Three pelicans perch on their pilings,
flap wings, glide over the bay.
Palm fronds frisk in the evening breeze
bidding farewell to the day.
The poem remains unfinished; I have tried several times to add to the quatrain, but nothing seems to take the poem any further, or any deeper.
Maybe it does not need to. Maybe treasuring the beauty of that moment is all that is needed. In this frustrating year, a year filled with so much loss, take time to appreciate all that you have. Take time each day to stimulate your body, your mind, and your spirit.
Perhaps you might consider writing your own poem – or finishing mine. Draw a picture, sing a song. Build something, bake something, create something new. By God’s grace, great beauty can be revealed by erosion.