My grandmother had this lovely little book when I was a child. It was one of a few kids’ titles she had in a plastic shopping bag in the spare bedroom closet. When my sister and I came to visit, she’d often take them out for us to read.
I never read this book as often as I did the others. Perhaps it was because it was a book of poems and prayers, not the stories and narrative-driven books I preferred.
But I found this book again recently, and last night, during a few quiet moments at my prayer desk, I leafed through it. The gentle, detailed illustrations charmed me. And as I turned the pages, I felt a nostalgic sense of cozy well-being, the kind I always felt at my grandparents’ house. Grandma suddenly felt very close; I imagined her seeing the book in a store somewhere (it was long, long before Amazon!), admiring the sweet drawings and poems (Grandma loved all things literary), and buying it to have on hand for her four grandkids.
One poem in particular caught my eye. It’s called “Out in the Fields with God,” and the book lists it as being by an unknown poet. A little online sleuthing, and I found that it’s often attributed to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Either way, it’s a gem:
The little cares that fretted me.
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea.
Among the winds at play;
Among the lowing of the herds,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.
The foolish fears of what may happen,
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay;
Among the husking of the corn
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born.
Out in the fields with God.
I’m not often in fields, in my modern suburban life. The one exception would be soccer fields. And though soccer fields can often feel more like opportunities for tension and care (I die a thousand deaths during every game, I swear, especially if my son is playing goalie), there is something so beautiful about being outdoors in the fresh fall air on a Saturday.
Two Saturdays ago, it was especially true. We’d had the first real rain of the season the day before, and the air was so sweet and fresh and clean, and the colors seemed so much more vivid than they usually do. The entire experience of being outdoors in the morning just made my soul expand.
And then I saw these beautiful flowers growing by the fields, and they seemed like a little gift on a Saturday morning, a reminder that there is beauty everywhere if I am willing to look for it.
In the book of poems, I felt closer to my grandma. In the fields, I felt closer to God.
Every day, there is grace.