God of the Open Air

Turbulent Calm   MOUNT HOOD  16x24 Satin Metal Print    Thou who hast made thy dwelling fair With flowers beneath, above with starry lights, And set thine altars everywhere,— On mountain heights, In woodlands dim with many a dream, In valleys bright with springs,  And on the curving capes of every stream    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Turbulent Calm

MOUNT HOOD

16x24 Satin Metal Print

Thou who hast made thy dwelling fair
With flowers beneath, above with starry lights,
And set thine altars everywhere,—
On mountain heights,
In woodlands dim with many a dream,
In valleys bright with springs,

And on the curving capes of every stream

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Rialto Afternoon   WASHINGTON COAST  16x24 Satin Metal Print      Thou who hast taken to thyself the wings Of morning, to abide Upon the secret places of the sea, And on far islands, where the tide Visits the beauty of untrodden shores    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Rialto Afternoon

WASHINGTON COAST

16x24 Satin Metal Print

Thou who hast taken to thyself the wings
Of morning, to abide
Upon the secret places of the sea,
And on far islands, where the tide
Visits the beauty of untrodden shores

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Tiers of Autumn   TAHOMA / MOUNT RAINIER  16x20 Satin Metal Print       And thou didst meet thy child, Not in some hidden shrine, But in the freedom of the garden wild, And take his hand in thine,— There all day long in Paradise he walked, And in the cool of evening with thee talked.    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Tiers of Autumn

TAHOMA / MOUNT RAINIER

16x20 Satin Metal Print

And thou didst meet thy child,
Not in some hidden shrine,
But in the freedom of the garden wild,
And take his hand in thine,—
There all day long in Paradise he walked,
And in the cool of evening with thee talked.

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

A Mountain Sanctuary   SKAGIT VALLEY  11x14 Matted and Framed Giclée Print    Lost, long ago, that garden bright and pure, Lost, that calm day too perfect to endure, And lost the childlike love that worshipped  and was sure! For men have dulled their eyes with sin, And dimmed the light of heaven with doubt, And built their temple walls to shut thee in, And framed their iron creeds to shut thee out.    But not for thee the closing of the door, O Spirit unconfined! Thy ways are free As is the wandering wind, And thou hast wooed thy children, to restore Their fellowship with thee, In peace of soul and simple-ness of mind    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

A Mountain Sanctuary

SKAGIT VALLEY

11x14 Matted and Framed Giclée Print

Lost, long ago, that garden bright and pure,
Lost, that calm day too perfect to endure,
And lost the childlike love that worshipped

and was sure!
For men have dulled their eyes with sin,
And dimmed the light of heaven with doubt,
And built their temple walls to shut thee in,
And framed their iron creeds to shut thee out.

But not for thee the closing of the door,
O Spirit unconfined!
Thy ways are free
As is the wandering wind,
And thou hast wooed thy children, to restore
Their fellowship with thee,
In peace of soul and simple-ness of mind

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Reverence   SNOQUALMIE PASS  11x14 Matted and Framed Giclée Print        But One, but One,—ah, child most dear, And perfect image of the Love Unseen,— Walked every day in pastures green, And all his life the quiet waters by, Reading their beauty with a tranquil eye.  To him the desert was a place prepared For weary hearts to rest; The hillside was a temple blest; The grassy vale a banquet-room Where he could feed and comfort many a guest. With him the lily shared The vital joy that breathes itself in bloom; And every bird that sang beside the nest Told of the love that broods o'er every living thing. He watched the shepherd bring His flock at sundown to the welcome fold, The fisherman at daybreak fling His net across the waters gray and cold, And all day long the patient reaper swing His curving sickle through the harvest-gold. So through the world the foot-path way he trod, Drawing the air of heaven in every breath; And in the evening sacrifice of death Beneath the open sky he gave his soul to God. Him will I trust, and for my Master take; Him will I follow; and for his dear sake, God of the open air, To thee I make my prayer.    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Reverence

SNOQUALMIE PASS

11x14 Matted and Framed Giclée Print

But One, but One,—ah, child most dear,
And perfect image of the Love Unseen,—
Walked every day in pastures green,
And all his life the quiet waters by,
Reading their beauty with a tranquil eye.

To him the desert was a place prepared
For weary hearts to rest;
The hillside was a temple blest;
The grassy vale a banquet-room
Where he could feed and comfort many a guest.
With him the lily shared
The vital joy that breathes itself in bloom;
And every bird that sang beside the nest
Told of the love that broods o'er every living thing.
He watched the shepherd bring
His flock at sundown to the welcome fold,
The fisherman at daybreak fling
His net across the waters gray and cold,
And all day long the patient reaper swing
His curving sickle through the harvest-gold.
So through the world the foot-path way he trod,
Drawing the air of heaven in every breath;
And in the evening sacrifice of death
Beneath the open sky he gave his soul to God.
Him will I trust, and for my Master take;
Him will I follow; and for his dear sake,
God of the open air,
To thee I make my prayer.

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Beauty from Ashes   LOOWIT / MOUNT ST. HELENS  16x24 Canvas Print      By the faith that the wild-flowers show when  they bloom unbidden    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Beauty from Ashes

LOOWIT / MOUNT ST. HELENS

16x24 Canvas Print

By the faith that the wild-flowers show when

they bloom unbidden

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Spring at Wahkeena   COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE  16x24 Satin Metal Print    For the cool of the waters that run through the  shadowy places    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Spring at Wahkeena

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE

16x24 Satin Metal Print

For the cool of the waters that run through the

shadowy places

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Long Way Around   MOUNTAIN LOOP HIGHWAY  16x20 Satin Metal Print      These are the gifts I ask Of thee, Spirit serene: Strength for the daily task, Courage to face the road, Good cheer to help me bear the traveler's load, And, for the hours of rest that come between, An inward joy in all things heard and seen. These are the sins I fain Would have thee take away: Malice, and cold disdain, Hot anger, sullen hate, Scorn of the lowly, envy of the great, And discontent that casts a shadow gray On all the brightness of the common day.    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Long Way Around

MOUNTAIN LOOP HIGHWAY

16x20 Satin Metal Print

These are the gifts I ask
Of thee, Spirit serene:
Strength for the daily task,
Courage to face the road,
Good cheer to help me bear the traveler's load,
And, for the hours of rest that come between,
An inward joy in all things heard and seen.
These are the sins I fain
Would have thee take away:
Malice, and cold disdain,
Hot anger, sullen hate,
Scorn of the lowly, envy of the great,
And discontent that casts a shadow gray
On all the brightness of the common day.

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Unwavering   SAN JUAN ISLANDS  16x20 Satin Metal Print      From the prison of anxious thought that greed has builded, From the fetters that envy has wrought and pride has gilded, From the noise of the crowded ways and the fierce confusion, From the folly that wastes its days in a world of illusion, (Ah, but the life is lost that frets and languishes there!) I would escape and be free in the joy of the open air.    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Unwavering

SAN JUAN ISLANDS

16x20 Satin Metal Print

From the prison of anxious thought that greed has builded,
From the fetters that envy has wrought and pride has gilded,
From the noise of the crowded ways and the fierce confusion,
From the folly that wastes its days in a world of illusion,
(Ah, but the life is lost that frets and languishes there!)
I would escape and be free in the joy of the open air.

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Morning’s Sculpture   SAMUEL H. BOARDMAN STATE SCENIC CORRIDOR  16x20 Gloss Metal Print    And when at last I can no longer move Among them freely, but must part From the green fields and from the waters clear, Let me not creep Into some darkened room and hide From all that makes the world so bright and dear; But throw the windows wide To welcome in the light; And while I clasp a well-beloved hand, Let me once more have sight Of the deep sky and the far-smiling land,— Then gently fall on sleep, And breathe my body back to Nature's care, My spirit out to thee, God of the open air.    - Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

Morning’s Sculpture

SAMUEL H. BOARDMAN STATE SCENIC CORRIDOR

16x20 Gloss Metal Print

And when at last I can no longer move
Among them freely, but must part
From the green fields and from the waters clear,
Let me not creep
Into some darkened room and hide
From all that makes the world so bright and dear;
But throw the windows wide
To welcome in the light;
And while I clasp a well-beloved hand,
Let me once more have sight
Of the deep sky and the far-smiling land,—
Then gently fall on sleep,
And breathe my body back to Nature's care,
My spirit out to thee, God of the open air.

- Henry van Dyke, “God of the Open Air”

An antique book given years ago by my dear friend Katharine inspired the theme for my current showing at Onelife Community Church in Wedgwood, displayed through Thanksgiving Weekend.

Henry van Dyke’s poetry collection, Songs out of Doors (Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1922) includes the poem, “God of the Open Air” which reminds me of God’s knack for relating to us through wild Creation. How God walked with Adam in the garden, how Christ fasted and rested in the wilderness, how our church buildings cannot contain God, and how we are a beloved part of Creation. When I stand next to a towering cedar, or walk a trail that wanders through a hillside of alpine wildflowers, or look down from a bluff onto turquoise ocean waves, I am reminded that the God who made this and called it good also made us, and called it very good. May we strive to live up to this.

Just a note, I didn’t strictly follow the poem’s meter with the excerpts. The entire poem can be found online.