When the World Wakes Up

It was that period in the vernal quarter when we may suppose the Dryads to be waking for the season—The vegetable world begins to move and swell and the saps to rise, till in the completest silences of lone gardens and trackless plantations, where everything seemed helpless and still after the bond and slavery of frost, there are bustlings, strainings, united thrusts and pulls—altogether, in comparison with which the powerful tug of cranes and pulleys in a noisy city are but pigmy efforts.

Far from the Madding Crowd p. 106

The work of man—the great work of man—the noisy work of man to pile up his edifices is a pigmy effort compared to the budding and unfolding of the world in spring. Whatever power man can harness, he cannot turn bulbs into blazes of color, nor seeds into sustenance. When the world wakes up, it is awesome to behold. Man is merely a sub-creator, mimicking at best, distorting and destroying at worst, the regular, consistent maintenance of the Maker’s creation. But this paragraph by Hardy does more than just communicate that truth. It does so in a way that opens our eyes to that truth: these aren’t just facts; there’s poetry here: “The vegetable world begins to move and swell and the saps to rise.” 

And that poetry reminds me of Rich Mullins’s, “With the Wonder”:

And in the winter it’s white
In the summer it’s green
And in the fall it’s orange and red and gold
Then it comes alive
In the rites of spring when the rivers thaw
And the flowers unfold
And there are beads of dew on a spider’s web
And there are motes of dust
In these beams of light
We who are bone and spittle and muscle and sweat
We live together in a world where
It’s good to be alive
‘Cause it flutters and floats
It falls and it climbs
It spins and sputters and spurts
And You filled this world
With wonders ’round every turn
And it buzzes and beeps
It shimmeys and shines
It rattles and patters and purrs
And You filled this world with wonders
And I’m filled with the wonder of Your world

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