Sometimes phrases enter deeply into us. Tonight, at dinner, Roger laughed about putting out the "conflagration of beef" when flames shot up on the gas grill. The term "conflagration of beef" triggered a forgotten memory of a dear children's book called St. Francis by Brian Wildsmith.
I remembered words that I'd loved when I used to read the book to my young children: "exultation of larks." The photo below doesn't fully capture the lavish colors of the book's illustration of the "exultation of larks" but offers a sense of it:
The text is as follows, St. Francis telling his life story in his own voice:
"Very gently I was carried to my little church ... I could not see my beloved Assisi but I could feel it. I blessed it and all the people who would come to it in the future. We arrived at the little church. I knew the sun was about to set. An exultation of larks flew over, singing in glory as I walked through the Gates of Paradise."
The phrase "exultation of larks" has a lovely alliterative sound and also works as a double entendre, for a flock of larks is called an exultation, and we also imagine the larks, loving and beloved of Francis, exulting for him as he entered heaven.