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


Anonymous 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.