Dappled Days

Lately I have been drawn to Pied Beauty, a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Glory be to God for dappled things-
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-fire coal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced- fold, fallow, and plough;
       And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
       With swift, slow; sweet, sour; Adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change.
                        Praise him.

For starters, dappled means “marked with spots or rounded patches.” This is significant because as I have pondering why this poem has struck me so deeply lately, the thought struck my mind that with the return of puberty-like acne to my chin lately, I have looked a bit dappled myself.

Seriously though, beyond just looking a bit spotty in the face department, I have felt more dappled lately than I care to admit. As much as I try to have my life/our lives run smoothly, I keep bumping into spotty patches, surprises that seem to run against the grain of my intentions and desires. We are not talking big things here, people. Just little inconveniences, little setbacks, little failures and disappointments. A little dapple here, a little dapple there. A cross word here, a short glance there. An ungrateful kiddo here, an exhausted momma there. Dapple. Dapple.

I spend so much mental and emotional energy trying to keep things uniform and smooth in my home and deep in my heart. I crave conventional and predictable because they give me a false sense of comfort and control. But there is such little brokenness and beauty and so much boredom in the smoothness and uniformity I seek to create.

God was so gracious to give me little physical images of dappled beauty all around me this week. When Phin and I were feeding the ducks (read: when the scary geese were trying to eat Phin and I), a goofy goose with a dappled beak kept following me around. At the Safari Park, I stood in awe of dappled wings in the aviary (read: I chased in awe as my boys were chasing said birds). I saw dappled leaves, dappled sunsets, dappled eggplants in my garden.

Okay, God, I get the point, at least this week, anyway. You love to create dappled things. Dapples keep things interesting, they keep life beautiful and mysterious. Freckles and fickleness are not blemishes to you. They keep people humble and looking up to the Great Dappler.

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