Monday, October 27, 2008

A Wind Sprang High in the West a wave of unreasonable happiness, and tore eastward across [New] England, trailing with it the frosty scent of forests and the cold intoxication of the sea. In a million holes and corners it refreshed a man like a flagon, and astonished him like a blow. In the inmost chambers of intricate and embowered houses it woke like a domestic explosion, littering the floor with some professor's papers till they seemed as precious as fugitive, or blowing out the candle by which a boy read Treasure Island and wrapping him in roaring dark. But everywhere it bore drama into undramatic lives, and carried the trump of crisis across the world. Many a harassed mother in a mean backyard had looked at five dwarfish shirts on the clothes-line as at some small, sick tragedy; it was as if she had hanged her five children. The wind came, and they were full and kicking as if five fat imps had sprung into them; and far down in her oppressed subconscious she half-remembered those coarse comedies of her fathers when the elves still dwelt in the homes of men. Many an unnoticed girl in a dank walled garden had tossed herself into the hammock with the same intolerant gesture with which she might have tossed herself into the Thames; and that wind rent the waving wall of woods and lifted the hammock like a balloon, and showed her shapes of quaint clouds far beyond, and pictures of bright villages far below, as if she rode heaven in a fairy boat. Many a dusty clerk or cleric, plodding a telescopic road of poplars, thought for the hundredth time that they were like the plumes of a hearse; when this invisible energy caught and swung and clashed them round his head like a wreath or salutation of seraphic wings. There was in it something more inspired and authoritative even than the old wind of the proverb; for this was the good wind that blows nobody harm.
--G.K. Chesterton, Manalive
Today at work a Jesuit came to our office (not an uncommon thing at all at a Jesuit school!). He came in, spoke with the appropriate person, and arranged the meeting he needed. But before he left, he and I struck up conversation. 'Turns out he is from the Oregon province of the Society of Jesus, so he was quite familiar with our dear Pacific North West! It was fun to talk about my favorite area with him. It felt as if we were old friends, almost, reminiscing about the same places, the same professors (he taught at GU prep for a while), the same loveliness of the region.
So here, in the middle of this rather dull (but beautifully clement!) October day, I got a breath of fresh air from the West. A wind trailing with it the frosty scent of the Olympic Cascade forest, and the cold intoxication of the Pacific Ocean :) What graces God gives us when we least expect them.. and most need them.

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