Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement


Violent Freshness of Spring

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The rain here has been intense the last two days. Last night, it hit hard not long after I finished my run in the early evening. From my second storey bedroom window, it smelled of worms, fresh grass and the wet wood of my deck. The violent freshness of Spring is here.

Thunder and lightning came, and still is coming as I write. Thin streaks or gathered ribbons of hot electricity brightly spew thousands of degrees from sky to ground. Something on one ends burns.

I consider the economics of life with sobriety: how robins tear worms from their desperate squirm back underground to be ripped into lifeless shreds by newly hatched young, and how the most delicate, innocent bunnies wince in a futile death scream as red-tailed hawks and coyotes pierce their furred skin with talons, claws, teeth and beaks, and how yellowjacket wasps poison gentle, silent caterpillars, predigesting them through trophallaxis so that their own larvae might live. This often all goes unseen, but surrounds us here everyday in the Midwest. Whether city, suburb or rural dwellers, these creatures, like we humans, exchange life for life. Even the most timid lamb, like all ruminants, torrently chews away the once green life from grasses and flowers at dawn. As the sun rises, so does the aggression of life against life.

Spring's rage is mitigated by an equal measure of peace. Not all rain storms shake my windows. Nightly, I see a plump bunny calmly hop through my yard for no apparent reason, pausing periodically to examine the dew in the air. Daily, new leaves tremulously consider how far they will stretch and shadow the land. And in the evening, flowers will fold liked tucked-in children for a dreamy slumber.

Even as the rains themselves fall, the drops twitter upon the ground like the beat of the fastest snare drum or sizzling fireplace. This is not violent. This is a fierce peace, restful and refreshing.

A violent freshness? Yes, such is Spring, but also it brings repose and grace after a winter from which no kindness was wrought. For this, I am thankful.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins
(Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works (Oxford Worlds Classics))
Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Top: Lightning credit.
Bottom: View from My Door on a Rainy Night. © 2010 Anthony Trendl

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