According to Hopkins, God shows his greatness or grandeur everywhere in the world. Wherever we look, he is there. He's even in the soil beneath our feet as we tread upon it. Indeed, nature as a whole is deeply imbued with the divine presence. ("There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.")
Yet all too often we ignore God's presence, treating the beautiful natural world that he has created for us as if it were nothing more than an object to be used and exploited. A prime example comes in man's abuse of the environment. Successive generations have trod upon the soil, changing the landscape forever, leaving behind outward signs of work and toil.
But because we no longer walk upon the soil in our bare feet but wear shoes instead—"nor can foot feel, being shod"—the ancient connection between man and divine nature has been broken. As such, men no longer see God in his creation. They no longer "reck his rod"; that is to say, they have long since stopped paying heed to God's power as expressed in his creation.
He created this wonderful world for us, deeply infused as it is with his divinity wherever we look, and yet we've spoiled it by treating it as an object of exploitation without realizing that we are turning away from God by doing so. But all is not lost. For whatever happens, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, will brood over the world each and every morning. Even if we've turned our backs on God, God still hasn't—and won't—turn his back on us. He will remain forever present in his creation.