Friday, April 08, 2011

The Grandeur of God~Wadi Dana

Last week the city folk got out of town to enjoy each other and the unique beauty of a small yet grand corner of God's creation. We love Amman, but it is after all a city, and we anticipated--with no small hope of temperate weather--escaping the traffic, pollution, grimy streets, and winter-chilled houses for the warmth, wide open spaces, star filled night skies, and rugged beauty of Wadi Dana. I was hoping for, as writes Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Grandeur of God:

"The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod...

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings."

In the vastness of a nature never spent we joyfully rediscovered the dearest freshness deep down things.

I used to be an English-Garden-beauty kind of girl but now it is the expansive, sandstone terrain with its sparse but exquisite flora which captures my imagination.

The silence serenaded me as I walked the trails and sat on sandstone rocks, letting the sun melt away a couple months worth of winter chill.

I think I understand why so many migratory birds pass through Wadi Dana on their way to and from Europe: I can imagine they are enjoying themselves as I watch them float effortlessly through the gorge, riding from one wind current to another.

Palestinian Sunbird

The broom, in full, fragrant bloom was a-buzz with hundreds of bees. This particular bush was so big that I could easily imagine the prophet Elijah taking shelter under it as is mentioned in I Kings 19--without the bees!


This bird, among others, found it a choice shelter.


Rains had been light this year and flowers few, but once I focused my desert eyes I was not disappointed with the flora beauty I found.


Brightening the landscape in chartreuse clumps, the Euphorbia looked especially fine. And if one looked very carefully they could find a tasseled hyacinth putting on a show:

Leopoldia comoso

Somewhere along the way unruly clumps of wild mustard became more beautiful to me than beds of tulips...

and the late afternoon vision of desert sage than a bunch of long-stemmed roses.

I didn't spend all my time alone: we scrambled and hiked...

and otherwise enjoyed each other's company.

Our shrinking family--sniff, sniff. And when did Artist Son get so tall??


Up next: Wadi Dana, The Food

3 comments:

Lauren said...

This brought back so many memories!
Andrew is SOOO TALL!!

Sara said...

The GMH poem is one of my favorites! It suits perfectly your post. I love the photo of the desert sage glowing in the sunlight...truly a beautiful vision.

Jodi said...

Families - First they shrink, then they grow again! Thanks for the congratulatory well wishes. :) These photos are amazing; I can't imagine what it must be like to stand there in person.