Gary Snyder says that true affluence is not needing anything. But what we do need is the fertility of the land and the beauty of the more than human world. In his poem ‘Spring’ Gerald Manley Hopkins writes that nothing is so beautiful as that season. Reading his lines reminds me of the life in my garden right now in south-western Australia. The atmosphere here in Fremantle has shifted so much from the hot and arid place I left back in January. The rain has been falling here and the land is green and the little New Holland Honey Eaters, although they are quite different to the Thrush of England, sing as I write this. Here our ‘autumn’ is like the ‘spring’ of England. Let’s turn it over to Hopkins:
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lushThrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrushThrough the echoing timber does so rinse and wringThe ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue
What delicious eloquence. I love the way Hopkins sees ‘low heavens’ in the delicate shells of Thrush’s eggs, and the way he depicts the victory of biological life over the inert wagon wheels of technology. Now is the time when weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush.