Nothing is more peaceful in the summer than a cypress swamp in the dead heat of day. The stillness is broken only by cicadas harmonizing, peepers chirping, and occasional egrets calling. Nature’s pungent perfume wafts on a random light breeze that gently moves a few lily pads. Sweat drips from my brow onto my camera. I love it! okay
A hot mid-summer day at the beautiful Cypress Island Wildlife Preserve near Lafayette, Louisiana. Not much is stirring on this ‘dog day’ as I walk quietly along, under hanging moss, listening to the cicada chorus in full voice with a random peeper chiming in. It hasn’t rained recently and the earthy smells of sun baked swamp, moss, and duckweed drift heavy in air.
Trickles of sweat run down my neck, but I am happy passing the afternoon capturing nature’s unscripted haiku moments with my mind’s eye and camera. Such moments abound as Serendipity exposes them one by one with each turn in the path. I loose myself in nature,.. some call it ‘forest bathing’.
Finally I am reminded of reality when a mosquito buzzes my face and a nearby owl hoots! A peaceful stillness gradually settles with evening cooling as my day closes with a chug of much needed water and a silent prayer of gratitude to God. In evening’s waning light, a young raccoon ambles across my return path with hardly a sidewise glance and our eyes meet for a brief second. I smile.
Spring has sprung here in south Louisiana and it is so welcome! As I walk along the gravel road bordering the cypress filled Lake Martin, almost every step exposes another sign of new life! My camera stays at the ready as my eyes search out Mother Nature’s fresh tidbits of color and textures. Wildflowers with their faces turned sunward, greening trees and lotus pads, the calls of nesting egrets and herons, a sunning alligator, and smell of bedding fish overwhelm my senses. Thank you, Lord, for this day!
Occasionally I run across an article that sparks meaningful thoughts in my mind. After a year of social distancing (actually self-imposed isolation), my wife and I begin the latter part of our lives, our eighties, amidst worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, family and friends illnesses and deaths, economic turmoil, and civil unrest. It would be so easy for me to just fade back into the woodwork, waiting for some change that may not come, and die a slow death of mental dullness watching TV movies. But that is not me or my wife! Creativity has always been a big part of our lives in many varied ways.
For me, nature photography and haiku poetry have been my creative interests for many years. I realize how important such activities are for mental exercise and personal enjoyment. I also realize that continued pursuit of these activities requires certain physical adjustments that aging requires. Such changes were, at first, hard to accept but prayer, meditation, and trust in a loving God always light the way.
The first snowfall in a late autumn woodlands is a glorious sight! Almost a cleansing of the year’s trials and pains as translucent whiteness slowly overlays the remaining leaves, branches, and grasses.
Standing alone amidst this wonderland, I can only marvel at one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind: nature’s beauty. I hear only the faint, pervasive sounds of falling snow, and raising my face to heaven, say “thank you, Lord!”
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 God’s 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.