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" A good traveller has no fixed plans,

and is not intent on arriving "

Lao Tzu

These Temples Grew

July 15th, 2011

I have seen in a sky a chain of summer lightning which at once showed to me that the Greeks drew from Nature when they painted the thunderbolt in the hand of Jove. I have seen a snowdrift along the sides of the stone-wall which obviously gave the idea of the common architectural scroll to abut a tower.

The Gothic church plainly originated in a rude adpatation of the forest trees with all their boughs to a festal or solemn arcade, as the bands about the cleft pillars still indicate the green withes that tied them.  No one can walk through a road cut through pine woods, without being struck by the architectural appearance of the grove, especially in winter, when the barreness of all other trees shows the low arch of the Saxons. In the woods in a winter afternoon one will see as readily the  origin of the stained glass window, with which the Gothic cathedrals are adorned, in the colours of the western sky seen through the bare and crossing branches of the forest. Nor can any lover of nature enter the old piles of Oxford and the English cathedrals, without feeling that the forest overpowered the mind of the builder, and that his chisel, his saw and plane still produced its ferns, it spikes of flowers, its locust, elm, oak, pine, fir and spruce…These temples grew as grows the grass; Art might obey, but not surpass.     Emerson

One Response to “These Temples Grew”

  1. I keep hoping someday to attend a Mass celebrated in the woods…Peter Standford and Thomas Moore, both spoke of having done this once or twice I believe. Maybe Rev. Peter Owen Jones will do it at some point in time…so much depends on “the congregation”, for better or worse.It certainly would be refreshing and there could be no better sermon Re; the environment than in the Greenwood. Thank you, Virginia

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