In Gratitude & Awe


Tomorrow Ceej and I head out on our nine-hour-drive home. Hip, hip, hooray!Can hardly wait for the 40-something-degree temperatures, the frosty mornings, and rain in the forecast. Of course, I am most looking forward to seeing family--laughing, talking, eating.

For the past few days I have been listening to Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" suite--composed for a ballet coreographed by the great Martha Graham. It has been stated that this piece of music captures "the essence of an ideal America, one of open fields and endless possibilities." NPR also adds, "An emotional highpoint of the score is a melody based on a traditional Shaker song, “Simple Gifts.” We hear a chorus sing the original hymn that provided Copland his inspiration, then listen to Copland’s beautiful solo vocal and instrumental adaptations. Throughout the work, Copland brilliantly weaves melodies that evoke simplicity and the “earnest but good-natured piety” of Shaker culture."

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
I am aware that the above movie montage of the Appalachian Spring suite coupled with the photographs of Ansel Adams might be cheesy or unoriginal to many of us--but I am drawn to the simplicity of it and that it, at the same time, gives a sense of grandeur and expansiveness to the beauty of this land--the beauty of the earth.
This Thanksgiving week I am most grateful for this earth. If I could learn to move and work as the earth does, I think I would reach enlightenment. It is what it is. It does not try to be something else. It has stayed the same, basically, for thousands and thousands of years--it does not change with trends, and it feels no need to hurry. I love that that when we take the time to watch the earth it can bring us peace through a slight breeze, and the rustle of leaves. But it can also move our souls to empower us with dark, ominous clouds and crashes of thunder. Finally, I want to point out that the simple beauties of the earth are just that--simple. But they continue to awe and inspire us. Perhaps if we would all simplify our lives we too would inspire more.
For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies.
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies.
Lord, of all, to thee we praise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.


Dianne said...

I am refusing the idea of "cheesy or cheeziness". Whatever one is touched by, no matter how it is described by others, usually is something that touches us. So, no need to apologize. I like it, too.

Courtney said...

Appalachian Spring has always been one of my all-time favorite musical scores. I danced to it as a teenager in a ballet performance. In Michigan I sang a Christmas song based off of the "tis a gift to be simple" melody. So pretty.

liz said...

sweet, sweet... time to come home!!! hooray!!

holly jo said...

girl...your hat esta ready. call me so you can get it!

Dee said...

That was beautiful. Amen to the EARTH!

Marie said...

Yes thanks for the earth and thank you for wonderful family. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our family, we will miss you on Thursday! We love you!!!