O break my heart; but break it as a field
Is by the plough up-broken for the corn;
O break it as the buds, by green leaf seated,
Are, to unloose the golden blossom, torn;
Love would I offer unto Love’s great Master,
Set free the odor, break the alabaster.
O break my heart; break it victorious God,
That life’s eternal well may flash abroad;
O let it break as when the captive trees,
Breaking cold bonds, regain their liberties;
And as thought’s sacred grove to life is springing,
Be joys, like birds, their hope, Thy victory singing.
—Thomas Toke Lynch (1818-1871)
On a recent visit to the Seattle Art Museum, I enjoyed their exhibit, “Beauty and Bounty,” featuring 19th century west coast landscapes by artists such at Albert Bierstadt, George Inness, and Frederic Edwin Church. These paintings were instrumental in gaining support for conservation projects and the formation of national parks.
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. –J. Lubbock
Happiness is sharing a bowl of cherries and a book of poetry with a shade tree. He doesn’t eat much and doesn’t read much, but listens well and is a most gracious host. –Terri Guillemets
Nature has spread for us a rich and delightful banquet. Shall we turn from it? We are still in Eden; the wall that shuts us out of the garden is our own ignorance and folly. –Thomas Cole
A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself. –John Muir