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!
“…The Lord is near. 6 Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. 7 Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4: 5-7)
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.
Many thanks to a good friend and excellent nature photographer, Moura Maun, for her inspirational photo of roseate spoonbills. They seemed to be apprehensive about something… perhaps a young egret trying its shaky wings out, oblivious to a hungry alligator waiting below!
A cool autumn evening after a perfect Indian Summer day. The errant breeze has died, leaving a mirror finish on the marsh pond. Pastel hues of white, blue and pink flowing over the water remind me of Monet paintings. As the sun slips slowly toward the horizon, a red-winged blackbird flies over and the first cricket chirp penetrates the silence. From the grassy shoreline, an otter swims across the pond, its V-shaped ripples adding water-glass texture to nature’s watercolor. Lifting my eyes, I say a silent, “Thank you”.
One of my greatest joys is wandering along trails in Louisiana’s swamps and woodlands, always with my camera and hiking stick in hand. Meandering and communing with God amidst nature’s solitude and beauty almost always brings my soul the peace, quiet and happiness it seeks. It is winter now and, after several frosts, the deciduous trees and shrubs have shed most of their leaves. A fresh north wind carries the scent of a campfire as it swirls the dry leaves. A single leaf struggles to hold fast to a cypress branch…