Earth’s immeasurable surprise

Ewe with two lambs in the snow by Andrew Hill, CC BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons

“Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro
All they find, outside the fold,
Is a wretched width of cold.

As they wait beside the ewe,
Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
Hidden round them, waiting too,
Earth’s immeasurable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew,
What so soon will wake and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.”Β Β Philip Larkin

What more can one add to such verse? Nothing, really, except to wish you the immeasurable surprise of mercies that are “new every morning.”


  1. It seems there are many intangibles that are immeasurable.
    I have been commemorating Vietnam Veterans Day (March 29th) with some friends, including a Purple Heart recipient and a widow.
    Though I did not share the words from a”Les Miserables” song that have been repeating in my head, I know there are some here who will appreciate them:
    “There’s a grief that can’t be spoken;
    There’s a pain goes on and on.
    Empty chairs at empty tables, now my friends are dead and gone . . . .”

    • Reading those words “empty chairs” brought back a song I have loved for years, by Don McLean:

      Morning comes and morning goes with no regret
      And evening brings the memories I can’t forget
      Empty rooms that echo as I climb the stairs
      And empty clothes that drape and fall on empty chairs

      And I wonder if you know
      That I never understood
      That although you said you’d go
      Until you did
      I never thought you would

      • MaryAnn Clontz

        Touches my heart for you!

      • Did not know about this – very different from “drove my Chevy to the levy, but the levy was dry” πŸ˜‰

        • So often, artists have many lesser known works that outshine the ones they are famous for. My personal favorite by Don McLean is Vincent.

  2. Amy

    It sure does feel spring like spring is far away this morning but I will keep in mind that it’s not very long before I am on a beach in HI and when I come back maybe the trees will be green. πŸ™‚ I trimmed my hydrangea up so here’s to hoping.

    • Amy, I do think the trees will be sprouting leaves when you come home, and maybe even a few blooms on the azaleas. Here’s to hoping, indeed! ❀

  3. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. β˜• Thursday morning is always special because I start my day with you, your words and thoughts to ponder! I haven’t even turned on a lamp this morning as I knew sunbeams would soon fill my kitchen. The circumstances of nature are most welcomed by me this time of year. Bill refers to it as ” when you can’t FEEL the weather, neither hot or cold, but perfect”! I wish “walking on sunshine” for you and Matt today! β˜€οΈπŸŒž

    • Thank you, Sheila…it is always a joy to hear from you. Isn’t it amazing how much weather can effect our moods? Today is just a bit chilly, but the sun is shining and the birds singing…instant happy! πŸ˜€ Hope you and “the guys” (including Walter and Jack) have a great weekend!!

  4. Carolyn

    Good morning, Julia. 😊 We had a surprise this morning, lots of wind last night, our neighbor’s tree was in our back yard . Part of his fence is down also. Nothing of ours was hurt. Terry just has a lot of cutting to do . It was one of those Bradford pear trees. The news told about other trees down. We slept through it. I hope that you and Matt will have a good day. Always in my heart and prayers. Hugs and love.

    • Hi Carolyn, sorry about the tree. Years ago I was at the kitchen window and saw a HUGE tall one falling on our property from the home across the creek behind the back corner of our lot. I was scared to death it would hit our detached garage but it just missed it. From that experience I learned that the person on whose lot the tree falls is responsible for clearing it, not the person on whose property the tree was located. Hmmm, that doesn’t give people much incentive to take care of their trees! Oh well. Thanks for your prayers…we need them now more than ever. Love & hugs to you and Terry.

  5. MaryAnn Clontz

    the immeasurable surprise of mercies that are β€œnew every morning.” Indeed! To fill our hearts w/ Hope!

  6. It always amazes me how a bird can build a nest. It has never been taught to do so, yet it can. What amazes or surprises us, to God, is simply all in His thought/plan. That birds will know without learning, and by the grace of reason we know by learning.

    • Alan, it is quite wonderful to watch the animals doing, by what is often called “instinct,” what they must do to survive and thrive. Not always wonderful, I guess…I can’t watch those graphic nature shows of animals tearing other animals to bits. But birds building nests are amazing indeed. And when we trim our shrubs in the autumn and remove an abandoned nest or two, I never cease to wonder at what strong constructions they have built. I like to think they have divine engineering instructions! πŸ™‚

  7. Amen! Wishing you the same. πŸ™‚

    • πŸ™‚

  8. Harry Sims


    • It may not always be fun, but it’s always an adventure…

  9. There’s a line in the children’s book “All is Well” by Max Lucado that says something along the lines of “When you’re the author of the story, sometimes you know things that the characters in the story don’t know ….”
    We simply can’t see all of God’s blessings prepared for us, from where we’re standing, here in the snow. πŸ˜‰
    Love to you!

    • Susan, thanks for the reminder, which I really need today. As has often been said about this particular day on the calendar, “Sunday was coming, but they didn’t know it yet…” πŸ™‚ Sending love to you too!

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