Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days

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Graham B Usher

Places of Enchantment:Meeting God in Landscapes

ISBN: 9780 2810 6792 3

SPCK, 2012, £10.99

As Canon (now Bishop) Usher says in his introduction, many people find that beautiful scenery evokes for them a feeling of God’s presence; in this book he examines why this might be. In the first chapter he describes what he intends by ‘landscape’ and his perception of linkage there with God’s presence. Subsequent chapters are each devoted to a different contour, for example, forest, mountain, sea, and indicates its beauty and his understanding of God there. We are reminded that the Second Vatican Council documents contained a reference to ‘the recognition that God discloses himself in what is beautiful in creation’. Usher asks ‘What is beauty?’ and replies that ‘Beauty is an expression of, and comes from, God’s very beautiful self’. Hence each chapter of this book moves from the natural to the supernatural, the material and physical weaving in and out of the spiritual and evoking understanding of the God who created all. His final chapter, appropriately named ‘The Focus of our Gaze’ sums up the whole. This volume indicates an author who, besides his love of the countryside, has remembered and collected from a wide choice of literature, thus offering many further explorations for the reader. I enjoyed the book immensely and recommend it to all, country or town bred, as a depth of wisdom to be relished or as a source of relaxation. It stands re-reading.

Elizabeth CSF