As we turned about to retrace our steps, more of. the idealizing beauty of the light came to view. Just below us a bit lay a little group of negro cabins. "We knew them, too, and what they looked like in full daylight, close up. For an errand had carried us there only the day before. The unkempt yards, the broken-down fences patched up with things not originally in the architect's plan for a fence, the familiar rootings of black swine in unabashed closeness of touch to cabin and children, untidy garments, untrained speech, and narrow prejudices—all combined to make a rather unattractive picture, relieved only by the ever present charm of human life, from which the touch of God's gracious hand is never absent.
That was what we knew was down there. But it wasn't what we saw now under the transforming touch of the early morning light. The scene took on something of the beauty of the light of God that shone upon it. The light that softened the rough exterior of the cabins made us think of the caressing hand of God upon the lives within. We remembered that God was not thinking of crude speech, nor ragged outside, nor narrow prejudices, but of the human lives that under His touch could be so transformed.
A bit later the sky changed. There were clouds, and they played well their part. For clouds are God's reflectors; they catch the light, and spread out its great beauty before our sight. They are meant to brighten and soften, not to darken. This is true of all clouds, those up in the sky, and those in the sky of your life; though so many have never learned how to look at clouds, and so miss so much. Our new year's clouds caught the yellow glory-light, and played the chemist for us changing it to a wondrous rose-colour.
It seemed as if all the native sweet-brier of England, and all the wild roses of our own land had been absorbed into one great flood of rose-colour. And as we watched we thought—yes, we were sure, it was no fancy—there was a fragrance in the air, so fresh and soft and sweet, blowing in our faces; and we knew they were really roses, the roses of life, the flowers of God, up yonder, though unlisted in the cruder botany of our school-books.
Then we came back to the town, to the commonplace round that fills up a part of every day for everybody who is doing his share of the world's work. But somehow the glory of the rising sun cast a mellowing light over the commonplace things. And better yet, the glory of that other Light, behind and brighter than the sun, which lighteth every man, crept gently into our inner spirits, sweetening and refreshing, strengthening and breathing in a great peace. And the commonness of the round, still there, and still common, fell into its secondary place, for the glory of the Lord was shining round about us. The rough outer shell of things was transfigured by the glory of the ideal in our hearts There was standing One in our midst whom we knew, and recognised. And he idealized life for us, while our hands were tugging away at the rough tasks.