Somehow It Seems Sufficient

Today, while driving back from Newcastle in the late afternoon light I marveled silently at the moors of Northumberland unrolling into the far distance. Perhaps I’m appreciating them all the more knowing that I will be leaving England for Canada in just a few days and will not be back for a year or more. An email was awaiting me when I arrived at Throssel with a web page attached. In it was this poem. It fits the moment, its arrival is timely.

”Somehow it seems sufficient
to see and hear whatever coming & going is,
losing the self to the victory
of stones and trees,
of bending sandpit lakes, crescent
round groves of dwarf pine.”

-A. A. Ammons(1926-2001)

The dwarf pine refered to is probably the pinus mugo. Here is some information copied from the web page mentioned earlier.

Pinus mugo, is frequently listed under the variant spellings P. mughus & P. mugho, & the species is synonymous with P. montanus. A common mispelling adds an extra letter to this pine’s name so that it becomes Mungo or Mungho, after Saint Mungo, Bishop of Strathclyde, Scotland, circa 540 C.E. Saint Mungo’s name means “Dear One.” One of his first reported miracles was restoring a serf’s pet robin to life after ruffians had killed it. The correct name Mugo, however, is of such old origin that the meaning is lost to time, but may be an old Italian dialect word for “mountain,” or possibly tracks back to a Nordic word meaning “misty” for growing in mists of high mountain plateaus & ledges. http://www.paghat.com/mugo.html

After thought: Is it not heartening to know that at one time serf’s keep pet robins!

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7 thoughts on “Somehow It Seems Sufficient”

  1. Safe travels Reverend Mugo. It’s been very helpful to read your notes during the year, sometimes in ways you may not expect. Not mentioning the Toshiba for example reminded me that something bugging me this week just had to be put aside! As you say “walk on…and forget”.

  2. Having heard of your plans to go to Japan, Rev.Mugo, I thought I’d check how you were getting on, only to discover you’d returned some time ago! It seems that time has a life of its own. Anyway, I hope your stay in Canada goes well.

  3. Those rolling Northumbrian moors are my native land. Even after twenty or so years living in Lancaster I feel that sense of “coming home” each time I return.(Some trace of attachment here?)
    Anyway, Northumberland has always be referred to as “Gods own country” by those from these parts. Best not think about it too much I reckon. However, I will be in Byrness, near Otterburn next week for another cultural dose.
    Take care of yourself back in Canada. I look forward to seeing you again when you re-cross the pond.

  4. I’m so happy to have you back in Edmonton for a while. I went for a run today. When I ran past our urban lake, a wonderful scent filled the air: green water, fall leaves in the forest, and freshly-mowed hay from the field nearby. The sun was warm behind the slightly cool air and no one was around except for the geese resting on the lake. See you soon.

  5. My first visit to Northumberland was February 2001. We left Lancaster in bright sunshine and stopped at Tebay for a coffee and bought a picnic to eat in the car at the top of Hartside. The weather was glorious if cold.

    We got to the top of Hartside and I Was looking forward to this wonderful view that Brenda had talked about, we parked the car got out our sadwiches and looked out on a howling blizzard, the snow was blowing in a horizontal direction. What I could see of the landscape looked black, bleak and uninviting. We ate fast and got on our way, we arrived safely at the Abbey. The next day there was snow on the ground.

    Each time as I go to Throssel I wonder how I could have found it so ugly that first time I guess the beauty must have crept up on me when I wasn’t looking.

    Kate

  6. It is great to hear from you all, thank you for continuing to visit movingmountain. Did any of you know that on the old OS maps Throssel is ‘Thrush Hall’? I know this only because on my second visit I had to nip into the council offices in Alston to find out where the priory was. My friend and I walked from the main road junction after Nenthead all the way down the valley. Ah memories.

  7. Bon voyage, Dear Reverend, and thank you for your previous comment and email.

    Emulate means to strive to equal or surpass in achievement …. but what is that achievement? It’s easy to see the outside and not easy to emulate that, but perhaps the true nature isn’t so difficult to emulate, eh? (My granddad was Canadian.)

    My students always want to copy. They don’t want to listen to spoken English, much less speak it themselves. Instead they want to copy words from the dictionary, sentences from the grammar book, and anything written on the board. They can copy hundreds of words without being able to pronounce or understand even one of them.

    As teacher I constantly exhort them, “don’t copy, listen!” Maybe I should listen to myself!

    Best wishes for a safe and peaceful journey.

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