Spirit Quest

Spirit Quest

' . . . til earth and I are one'

“I feel the tumult of new birth;
I waken with the wakening earth;
I match the bluebird in her mirth;
And wild with wind and sun,
A treasure of immortal days,
I roam the glorious world with praise,
The hillside and the woodland ways,
Til earth and I are one.”

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

The beautiful and evocative words by Archibald Lampman (1861 - 1899) quoted above,  which he called April in the Hills, is the last of four poems named The Lyrics of the Earth.  Set to music by Thomas Annand, a well known Canadian organist, harpsichordist and composer, and sung by the Musica Viva, an Ottawa choir, filled the audience at Centretown United Church with a sense of the awe and joy of the season.  What a gift it was for me coming at the end of a warm and sunny spring day.

“A tumult of new birth....the wakening earth....til earth and I are one,” sum up a spiritual experience. But that was not all. 

 
 
Stained glass at Ottawa Public Library features Charles Dickens, Archibald Lampman, Duncan Campbell Scott, Lord Byron, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, William Shakespeare, Thomas Moore. Image: Wikipedia.

The second half by this large and accomplished choir under the direction of  Marg Stubbington presented the audience with songs of an African  genre, e.g. Rain Dance, Zulu Mamma, Dubula, a traditional Xhoshan folk song, and more, accompanied by percussion, violin, recorder and piano, sent us tapping our feet and clapping hands and swaying our bodies.

But the piece de resistance was saved for the very end when Vanessa London sang (is that the right word?) Rain is Over and Gone by Paul Halley: the last verse that brought the audience to their feet:

“Sing of life and love and laughter,
Sing of freedom to live in peace,
And there shall be no more crying,
Only joys that never cease.”

Her passion and vocal range recalled for me Mahalia Jackson and Odetta. Those who poohoo my preoccupation with the movement of the spirit are totally discredited by that spring event.

It has been my privilege over the past three years to be involved in a Spirit Quest, a rich experience of discovery, the evidence of an energy that pervades all creation, and beyond — who knows!

Impoverished indeed are those who seem relegated to the left brain, and strictly linear in their thinking. I challenge them to expose themselves to music and poetry, to art and to the beauty of science.

I had a friend who was an artist and scientist. In his latter years he was intent on showing not only the utility of science, that is, what we can do with it,  but the fact that the laws of science are beautiful in themselves. I think that he shocked many people out of their purely materialistic thinking by devices such as the one that demonstrates the growth, the pulsations and finally the drop of water as it falls from its source, all revealed by a laser beam. No, it has no practical use other than to open the mind to wonder.

Visitors stood for a long time  as if mesmerized by this phenomenon  as it repeats itself before their eyes. The late Juan Geuer of Almonte managed with his artistic installations to bridge the gap between the material and the spiritual world.

Our Earth, the cosmos, mind boggling dimensions, infinity itself, cannot be understood by finite minds. In awe we stand before a mystery.

Spring, as Lampman writes, is an awakening. We view this mystery and whisper:Veni creator spiritus, Come holy spirit, our hearts inspire.

Thanks to Juan, thanks to Lampman and Musica Viva for lifting for a few moments that gossamer curtain that separates the “real”  from the spiritual “til earth and I are one.”

Yes, there is a spirit, I sense it everywhere.

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