Silence surrounds me except for the chirp of a flitting red cardinal. From the blue sky, February’s sun filters through the leafless cypress and tupelo trees, imprinting the still waters with a kaleidoscope of browns and blues. I drift silently along, feeling a cool breeze and breathing nature’s scent.
One year into our Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, how the priorities of my life have changed! No longer do my wife and I plan fun shopping trips, cafe lunches, or casual visiting with family and friends. Add to that the stress of politics and the realities of turning 80, and we are now living in a new ‘normal’, maybe forever.
The one thing that makes our situation bearable is an unwavering FAITH in a loving, caring God, and the love and companionship we give each other! And one of the best ways to feel and hear Him is in the solitude and beauty of nature, where no words are needed but only awareness.
Christmas Season 2020. For me, a quiet time of reflection on the trials and tribulations this last year has heaped on the world, on us all. The ‘why?’ is the big question and the possibilities are many, including God’s retribution for the world’s turning away from him to purely random happenings in our complex world according to the ‘Chaos Theory’. Yet, while we humans struggle to understand the why and how of events, only Nature simply lives quietly with acceptance.
Whatever the cause (if any), we have an opportunity to re-evaluate our lives and our priorities for the new year. We should put faith, love, prayer, empathy, understanding, and compromise back into our lives. And for me, the beauty and solitude of nature is the best place for a meditation with God/Jesus about my needed new outlook on life. As survivors of 2020, we still have so much to be thankful for, so let the loneliness of this Christmas season be a time for rekindling faith and trust in our loving God. Blessings and peace.
Nymph, angel or spirit? Walking through untouched nature in a autumn wonderland this morning, I feel an exceptional closeness to God… actually I always feel this way in the woods. But since our loving God, ‘I am’, is an indescribable presence to us dust mote humans, I find myself looking for signs of His/Her presence in Mother Nature usually as a mysterious, fleeting nymph called Serendipity.
As I meander along the trail, I recognize Serendipity (God’s presence!) in the murmuring tree tops, dancing shadows, fluttering leaves, bird songs, and burbling brooks. Through them, I hear Him gently say to me, “Be not afraid…My peace I give to you,” and I smile. A squirrel chatters overhead.
Another day of coronavirus self-quarantine dawns and the TV shows another night and day of riots and shootings. A quiet prayer for peace and law and order forms in my thoughts as I slowly sip my coffee. Then, in my old age, I sadly reflect on the state of my America which I have always loved, respected, and honored. But enough for now! On my iPad Pro, a Facebook memory pops up from four years ago. As nature’s beauty and simplicity are always my escape from the evil and hate rampant in our world, I happily share it again. God’s blessings and peace.
Along the road at nearby Lake Martin on a warm spring morning, I see a decaying stump spotlighted in a sun beam. Around this old stump, a new creeper vine spirals upward toward the light, grasping tightly to the dead wood where it can for support. I remember my father’s smile. Life rises from death and will not be denied!
My wife, Bobbie, and I love the mundane or ‘garden variety’ beauty of mother nature, such as the wildflowers, small creatures, shadows and nuances of colors and textures that the casual observer fails to notice. Even the subtle changes of the beginning or closing day present a trove of moments for haiku and photos.
They say she is a ‘whisperer’ and that she can ‘talk’ to God’s smallest creatures. I saw her today while wandering a nearby woodlands trail with my camera as I looked for that elusive nymph, Serendipity. She was picking wildflowers in a field, wearing a blue and white gingham dress, and carrying a half filled basket. A late summer breeze frolicked across the field and the flowers bobbed their heads at her as if asking to be picked too! Dragonflies and butterflies flitted about her while a pair of doves watched from an old wooden fence. She saw me and smiled sweetly as I walked past on my search for Serendipity.
A quiet walkabout in the woods, along a stream, or even in a garden is a necessity for me. With the stresses and anxieties of our world, seemingly always in constant turmoil, I often search for the grail of inner peace in the solitude of nature. There I feel God’s nearness and sense the warmth of his love as he speaks to me in bird songs, cricket chirps, rustling leaves, whispering breezes, and trickling streams. Wherever the path winds, there is no loneliness…only a feeling of peace, hope and trust that all is well and in accordance with God’s will.
Why it took most of my 79 years of life to fully open God’s gift of faith is a mystery. Why did I waste so much time, especially when he also gave me my most treasured earthly gifts, my precious wife and children? Perhaps it was always his plan, as time and space is irrelevant to God and only how we use His gift of faith is.
Note: Thanks to my good photographer friend, Teresa, for her wonderful photo which inspired this haiku poem.