I’ve just finished reading for the second time an essay by Denis Haack in the past month’s issue of Critique, an excellent periodical of which Haack is the editor. In “Seeing Beyond the Traces,” Haack writes:
“All creation is called into existence by God so all creation reflects his glory, which means that signals of transcendence can be found across all of life and reality. Some are touched or moved by things in nature, a flower or goldfinch or nebula. Others find traces of glory in human creativity, in art, humor, play, science, technology, and the myriad crafts that bring utility and beauty into the common tasks of daily existence. And then there are the deep yearnings that are so rooted in the heart and imagination that they are indistinguishable from our humanity—the yearning for a father, for a home, and for love that will not leave with the morning light. The inexhaustible desire for justice, the insistent search for meaning, the hopefulness that is born with the birth of a child—all all of which are present even when warfare, famine, plague, drought, and flood ravage a countryside.”
He goes on to recommend the poetry of Wendell Berry and the writing of Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Holy the Firm), writers who perceive signals of transcendence particularly well, and then continues:
“Reflecting on all this reminds me to be grateful for all the ways there are traces of God that appear around me in this broken world. It reminds me to order my life so that I do not miss the signals of transcendence that are in my path. It reminds me to develop the wise disciplines of observation and waiting that permit my view of reality to have greater clarity.”
You can read the whole essay, in fact the entire issue, at this link.
Speaking of signals of transcendence, an essay of mine that was originally published in the journal Lake Effect (and received notable mention in Best American Writing 2013) was reprinted last week online at Art House America. It's about a tour I went on of labyrinths in the Minneapolis metro area. But it's about more than that, of course. I'd be honored it you'd take a look at "Prelude."
[Photo: taken from hammock, looking up, signals of transcendence all around.]