God’s bells are ringing a call to prayer in the woods today — in the shadows of the woodland I found Mission Bell blooming by the pathway — all its beauty blending with the shadows round about. Bronze Bells and Rice-Root both describe it — flowers of various modest shades, all mottled and checkered over — roots like little pearls or tiny grains of rice. Fritillaria is the name the scientists know it by; but to wee children’s hearts the name Mission Bell is most dear – God’s little prayer flowers, calling us to think of Him and all His goodness.
Opal Whiteley – The Fairyland Around Us
I have written in previous posts about the extraordinary story of the nature writer Opal Whiteley. Her childhood nature diary was published when Opal was an adult but later became the subject of controversy, its authenticity brought into question by many who believed that Opal had forged the diary as an adult.
Whatever the truth behind Opal’s writings, her work is deeply touching and does indeed possess a child-like, mystical and magical engagement with the natural world.
There is now a film about her life; an independently made and beautifully shot movie that deserves wider interest. For a short time the film will be available to buy at the movie’s website www.opalthemovie.com and it is also available via the Tribecca Film Institute’s Reframe Collection at http://reframecollection.org/films/film?Id=2282 .
Here is a poem from her 1923 collection The Flower of Stars:
The Little Room
In Man’s heart is a little room.
He has named it
And things are arranged along its wall
That he does not wish
To think about.
Every time he pushes something in there
He closes the door very tightly
But in hours when he is weary,
In the hours that walk around some midnights,
When high fires have burned
To a low flicker,
Then the little door swings on its hinges.
And no thing
Will make it stay closed
All of the time.
When he is near death
All the velvet-footed wanderers in there
Join the throng around his bed,
“We will not die,” they whisper
To one another
While Beauty waits with drawn lips and dry eyes.
But there is heard
The patter of a little sad rain
In her heart’s garden
Where some little flower buds
That were once thinking of the sun
Will never open
Because man keeps a little room
Of oblivion in his soul.