(*Quote of the Month)
Keep within me
as deep and sweet
as a forest's
in mid of winter.
~~Alistair MacLean, Hebridean Altars
Says the Psalmist, speaking the words of the Almighty, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
In my estimation there may be nothing in nature that epitomizes stillness more than a snow-shrouded winter wood. We were able to enjoy a bit of that this week during our holiday visit with family in Minnesota. Having brought our snowshoes along in the event the snow would be deep enough to do some shoeing, we were not disappointed; it was a veritable winter wonderland. Gail and I also get to enjoy lovely forest environments blanketed in snow just several miles west of our Colorado home.
The quotation is from a 1937 collection of Celtic prayers, sayings and blessings, titled Hebridean Altars: The Spirit of an Island Race, by Scottish historian Alistair MacLean. (Interestingly, this is a different Alistair MacLean than the prolific Scottish novelist who wrote The Guns of Navarone; I had thought they were the same man!) Altars is a classic in Celtic spirituality and includes quotes the historian MacLean gathered from the Outer Hebrides, the rough islands on the northwest of Scotland facing the North Atlantic. It may be that he also gleaned some of his material from the earlier and more voluminous Carmina Gadelica of Alexander Carmichael published in 1900.
I love the quote, though. Of course, the simile’s main evocative purpose is not to reference the woods but rather the inner peace also spoken of in the Psalm 46 Bible verse. That feeling of repose or tranquility would be a welcome sense for us all to enjoy as the Christmas season winds into the New Year. May you know, and know well, the peace of God that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
~~RGM, December 27, 2013