We here are on the wrong side of the tapestry . . .
The things that happen here do not seem to mean anything;
they mean something somewhere else.
—from The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton
* * *
He draws great lines across the sky;
he sees the forests like a carpet beneath him, he sees the hills
and valleys as folds and wrinkles in a many-colored tapestry;
he sees the river as a silver belt connecting remote horizons.
We climb mountain-peaks to get a glimpse of the spectacle
that is hourly spread out beneath him.
—from Far and Near by John Burroughs (1904)
This week Zane and I took our first walk together around the Mill Pond since the fall. A big rainstorm was coming, though not for several hours, so it was overcast and humid. I realized almost immediately that, whereas warm weather had been late in coming, it was definitely here and so were the mosquitoes. I hadn’t thought to dress Zane appropriately or to douse him with bug spray, so we hiked up his socks and I let him wear my sweater to cover his arms. We had to walk quickly and not tarry to keep ahead of the bugs.
Ugh, bugs! My husband read the Chesterton quote (above) to me last night and I knew right away that it needed to be part of this post. It so aptly applies to my constant struggle to love ALL of the natural world. Mosquitoes, ticks (we had at least four or five on us while we were walking)—what is their purpose!? Obviously, I’m on the wrong side of the tapestry because I cannot see anything good in them at all, short of their being food for some other, more virtuous, creature.
Yes, I wish I could see these lowest of the low as God sees them, as some integral thread in His tapestry. Instead, I’m mumbling under my breath and feeling perpetually itchy (is something crawling on my leg???). Still, it was so good to be out in the woods. I refuse to be kept out of the spaces I love because of my discomfort with what might be lurking there. We went out, we had a nice walk, we unceremoniously removed the offenders from our clothing and squished them, then threw our clothes in the dryer and took a good shower afterwards.
I have to reconcile with the reality of ticks as part and parcel of my adventures, or live in exile from the things I love in order to avoid them. There is a little bit of grief here, over a childhood spent in the woods with nary a tick in sight, nothing to fear or hold me back but the limits of my own imagination. Like so many truths that come to light as we grow older, this is one I will have to accept. And, just now, as I look out my window at the forest and the pond, it is so beautiful. The tapestry looks whole and perfect for a moment in the morning light.