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It was 1881. A singing lark so fired the imagination of the British poet George Meredith that he composed The Lark Ascending, a paean of joy to his messenger from God, flitting and soaring above a summer meadow. When recited, listeners still pick up his song, a piece of which is quoted here:

He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound,
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake…

For singing till his heaven fills,
’Tis love of earth that he instills,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup,
And he the wine which overflows
To lift us with him as he goes…

That same year, the British Ralph Vaughn Williams, composer of classical music and a literary adept, happened upon Meredith’s poem, The Lark Ascending and using the same title, scored notes around his experience, featuring a solo violin and orchestra.

Both compositions still inspire: it’s as if the lark had jettisoned the words/notes that kept it in print, transporting listeners to idyllic fields in which Nature’s freshness invigorate languid spirits. In the face of such beauty, imaginations expand, eyes brighten, another song spirits our steps into the next moment. Again, we feel. Fortunate for us that Meredith and Williams were attuned to the lark’s gift, despite the evils of the Industrial Revolution, colonization, and World War I that besmirched many at that time.

Internally, our times are not that different. We have only to listen with open hearts to Beauty. Psychic transformation occurs, followed by gratitude for Life and new learning, and another day passes.

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