Madbury’s Carolyn Hutton On Living in the In Between

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Carolyn Hutton is pictured at a home near where she grew up in North Carolina.

Carolyn Hutton debuts her column “Dappled Things: How To Live in the In Between” in InDepthNH.org just in time for our second anniversary celebration weekend. Welcome Carolyn. — Nancy West

By Carolyn Hutton
Dappled Things: How To Live in the In Between
Good morning friends. I am calling this column “Dappled Things” from a poem by Gerard Manly Hopkins called “Pied Beauty.” (see poem at the end).

Rod introduced me to Gerard Manly Hopkins’ poetry many years ago and I always loved this line “Glory be to God for Dappled things.”

I think it is a hymn to imperfection, to things not symmetrical, to lives not lined up just so, to an in-between space between dark and light. I want to start by saying that I don’t think our lives have to line up “just so.” They don’t line up, obviously, but I think sometimes we think they are supposed to.

This beautiful world we live in tends toward chaos naturally —remember Newton’s second law of thermodynamics, that what is ordered and whole tends toward disorder and decay. It takes a great deal of energy to keep things from falling apart.

Maybe that is the place to start, just remembering that falling apart is our natural state. What we can know, though, is that there can be  beauty, joy, and even created order in the mess of our lives.

I want to talk about those three things in this blog. I invite any of you reading to post comments, thoughts. Everything you say is welcome and we can all inspire each other.

Pied Beauty
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.


Caroyln Hutton is an English teacher. When she was in 5th grade, she read “Harriet the Spy” and loved Harriet so much that she started keeping a notebook that got her into as much trouble as it got Harriet in because she always told the truth in her notebooks. But she never stopped writing. A native of North Carolina, Carolyn is also a musician and plays bluegrass and old time music  with Drowned Valley and the duo Long Journey. She lives with her husband, Rod, in Madbury where their four grown children sometimes visit.

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