The Daffodil Dance

I grew up near St. Louis and while it doesn’t have any mountain or ocean scenery, it does have an amazing beauty each year when Spring seemingly bursts onto the scene in an instant. Over 30 years ago, the city planted over 12 million daffodils and tulips along all the embankments of the interstate highways that come together near downtown. It’s quite a sight to behold every year in early spring.

Then last week, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how the poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy were on a spring hike in the Lake District of England when they came across a field of daffodils. Dorothy recorded in her journal that day in 1802 how the “flowers tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake”. Later in 1815, William published a poem about that day called “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” which contains one of his most famous passages about the beauty and power of nature: “For oft, when on my couch I lie/In vacant or in pensive mood/They flash upon that inward eye/Which is the bliss of solitude/And then my heart with pleasure fills/And dances with the daffodils”.

In the 1990’s, I was into landscape photography as a hobby. I never got very good at it, but it helped me better appreciate and understand the beauty of nature as well as the creation narrative in Genesis – “let there be light”. In landscape photography (and probably most any type of photography), lighting is critical to the beauty and quality of the resulting photo. The famous impressionist painter Monet evidently was also a fan of light as he painted many paintings of water lilies and haystacks at his garden in Giverny at various times of day and in various lighting conditions.

Whenever I’m standing in awe of the great beauty of God’s creation, I become more aware of both God and his creation. It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that God is the creator of all things. The beauty of nature is a constant reminder that everything falls into two categories – Creator and created. It’s almost unfathomable that God “who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with breadth of his hand marked off the heavens”, still cares about me, is intimately involved in my life and has numbered the hairs on my head. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Amen!

Brad Gauen

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