Tag Archives: G.K. Chesterton

The height of the fall of God.










There has fallen on earth for a token
A god too great for the sky.
He has burst out of all things and broken
The bounds of eternity:
Into time and the terminal land
He has strayed like a thief or a lover,
For the wine of the world brims over,
Its splendour is spilt on the sand.

Who is proud when the heavens are humble,
Who mounts if the mountains fall,
If the fixed stars topple and tumble
And a deluge of love drowns all—
Who rears up his head for a crown,
Who holds up his will for a warrant,
Who strives with the starry torrent,
When all that is good goes down?

For in dread of such falling and failing
The fallen angels fell
Inverted in insolence, scaling
The hanging mountain of hell:
But unmeasured of plummet and rod
Too deep for their sight to scan,
Outrushing the fall of man
Is the height of the fall of God.

Glory to God in the Lowest
The spout of the stars in spate-
Where thunderbolt thinks to be slowest
And the lightning fears to be late:
As men dive for sunken gem
Pursuing, we hunt and hound it,
The fallen star has found it
In the cavern of Bethlehem.

~G.K. Chesterton

Shy and Peruvian, black and beautiful.

salvia discolor

This unusual Peruvian or Andean Sage that I found at a nursery nearby has grown up and started blooming. I almost didn’t see the flowers, they are so shy and mostly hidden. I saw a website that said they were large and showy… if they become that I will be sure to take another picture.

Even without the blue-black flowers, the plant is very pretty, the way it drapes its graceful stems in the air. The stems and the backs of the leaves are silvery white, and the newer parts of the stems are very sticky.


It makes me happy, the way it has quietly thrived and come into itself. I hope it will survive the winter and come again in the spring. It’s not listed in the Sunset Western Garden Book, but since it was propagated locally there’s a good chance it’s suited to our area.

I thought of it when I read this email from Salvo Magazine this morning. Beauty like this naturally makes us humans remember the Creator and Giver of beauty:

Is Planet Earth Trying to Tell Us Something?

You may know the standard line of evolutionary biologist-atheists like Richard Dawkins, which goes something like this:

Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. (Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, p. 1)

Got that? “Have the appearance.” Don’t be fooled, warns Dawkins, for:

Natural selection is the blind watchmaker … does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the illusion of design and planning. (Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, p. 21)

It’s all an illusion of design. So ignore what your eyes and brain [and heart? -GJ] are telling you. They’re mistaken.

But apparently this habit of the mind that sees purposeful design in biology has spread beyond biology to the entire planet!

From the Daily Mail:

Sir David Attenborough and Brian Cox’s TV nature shows are ‘putting viewers off science’ because the beautiful scenes reaffirm belief in God.

* New study suggests nature programmes are putting viewers off science.
* Religious people often ‘have faith reaffirmed by the beauty on the screen.’

In the first bullet point, put “science” in quotes. They don’t mean science per se; they mean materialism or scientism.

There is no escaping it: The Planet Earth is stunningly beautiful. A wiser man wrote:

If the beatification of the world is not a work of nature but a work of art, then it involves an artist. -G. K. Chesterton

Draw your own conclusions, but don’t let someone tell you don’t see what you do see.

Summer whites and lesser colors.

gl 6 chamomilegerman.jpg 6-16I got confused about my chamomile. All I could remember was that one is perennial and the other annual. When I noticed that they are both starting to bloom now, I had to try to figure out which was which again. This is what I’ve found.

<< The annual German or Hungarian chamomile is the taller of the two, to 24″. From what I read it often self-sows, and I hope it will do that in my yard.

German: Chamomilla recutita syn Matricaria chamomilla 

gl 6 redpoppies

It’s growing near the red California poppy that I planted from a nursery pot, and whose flowers just opened this week. The white variety of this plant that I put in at the same time bloomed a couple of months ago, much less enthusiastically.

That makes me think about something I read in the Summer book I mentioned last week, a quote from Chesterton, from “A Piece of Chalk,” in which he gives an account of how he reluctantly tore himself away “from the task of doing nothing in particular,” and set off into “the great downs” of England with his brown paper and his brightly colored chalks, all on a summer’s day.

To his dismay he had neglected to bring any white chalk — and he begins to hold forth on how the color white, in art and in morals, is essential:

One of the wise and awful truths which this brown-paper art reveals is this, that white is a colour….a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. When, so to speak, your pencil grows red-hot, it draws roses; when it grows white-hot, it draws stars….Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell. Mercy does not mean not being cruel or sparing people revenge or punishment; it means a plain and positive thing like the sun, which one has either seen or not seen.

Perhaps my spindly white wildflowers, just starting out and blooming faintly without any other color around them to contrast with (even their foliage was already faded when the buds opened), do not provide a fitting metaphor to match this principle, but it did seem like a good place to tuck in that quote about something I do believe in.

93e53-yellowcapoppy4-11So far I haven’t sown any seed for the standard orange color of our state flower because I am a little afraid of them taking over. The other colors are not as vigorous, but some of them are really special in their rarity and subtlety, and when I have had one re-seed itself or, more often, go dormant and hidden for the winter only to surprise me the next spring, I am thrilled. This pale yellow one did just that for several years in my old garden, but could not be saved.                                                                                                           >>

The red ones are my first variety that are both rare and bright. I hope they self-sow — but much of the garden is experimental. I’ll see over the next months what likes growing in this environment, and not fuss over the things that aren’t thriving.

Back to the chamomile… Just in case the Germans don’t bear children next year, I planted a perennial type, the Roman or Nobile. It grows half as tall and is sometimes used as a walkable ground cover, or part of an herbal lawn mix.

gl 6 Roman 1

<< Roman: Chamaemelum nobile syn Anthemis nobilis

An hour after I took this picture, I strolled past again and noticed that ten more buds had swelled enough to be noticeable. History in the making!

I had a house guest for two nights and a day – we spent a nourishing and relaxing time, even though we did no artwork or gardening or poetry-reading. We did eat and shop and update our family birthday lists. But now I have lots of garden work that needs to be done, before I go to see brand-new Baby Brodie next week. Here’s a yarrow bloom for you to look at while I am out tending to my beds.

gl 6 yarrow 6-16