And then the road in my head gets a bit congested and I realize it wouldn’t work, wouldn’t be the same with a chattering little crowd of folks scraping their feet beside me, crunching through the leaves. I probably wouldn’t find my “belt-it-out-loud” singing voice like I did today when I kept seeing those wing clouds, and heard in my mind that wonderful old hymn from my childhood, “Under His Wings.” My humming was innocuous enough, but when I supported those welcome words with diaphragmatic strength, I spooked a small flock of wild geese grazing in a nearby cornfield into a frenzy of flight and honking.
Under His Wings
(W. O. Cushing)
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
Under His wings—what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest.
Under His wings—oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I’m safe evermore.
Plus, I’d miss the quiet. And so would you. Such amazing things can happen in the quiet.
So, I think about ways I could share this wonder-filled, ordinary Hickory Lane walk with my friends in far places, or even the ones close by who might have missed it because of...football. Or racing. Or a nap. Or God knows what else. (Oh, yes He does.)
(And it would take me forever. Thus my love of digital photography...but I digress.)
I could sketch the intricate pattern in that patch of puddle ice (yes, ice!)
but how could I share with you the catch in my throat when I see the bent heads of the plucky, frozen buttercups?
My thoughts are spinning into creative crazy now...
Perhaps you could wear some sort of VR headset or gaming suit, and we could be linked by iPhone, thus enabling you to see long fingers of light reaching for clouds above the setting sun, giving you a glimpse of that stand of willows, misty against the darkening mountains.
I know I’m thinking nonsense. Technology can buck and kick like a half-broken horse, and all that setting and resetting, turning off and turning on would be a deterrent to the goal of simply being present in this place, in this space.
Instead of all those options, what if I just try to describe to you, using my words and a few photos, the smudge of sunset color fading along the mountain, the squirrel nests that dotting the oaks along the creek, crazy chaos like a teenager’s room where they claim to know where everything is.
Could I make you smile when I mention the noisy lambs...yes, lambs, there is always that one farmer who keeps the ram with the flock at the wrong time...scampering toward the barn with the ewe trailing behind them. (Is it my imagination, or does she have that glazed over, mother-of-toddlers aura of weariness in her eyes at the end of this day?)
It doesn’t matter where you are, there they are.
Because I think the wonder is everywhere.
If we take time to listen.
To really see.
(Yes, I really am talking about pause again. Because we all need it so much.
Especially me. )
It doesn’t matter where you are... but you do need to be all there,
fully, quietly present, for a bit of time,
to breathe deep the kitchen scents drifting over from the apartment next door,
to see the rugged outline of tree branch against the sky or across the uniformity of the brick wall,
to hear the murmur of "your" birds,
to wonder about the garish color of pigeon feet,
to see the dilapidated trunk from which grows that lovely tree...
But how about ten minutes?
To simply stand still somewhere if you can’t “take a walk;”
to breathe in the reality of God’s Presence...
to breathe out some of the heaviness of your day,
to breathe in grace,
to breathe out thanks for whatever is before you, around you.
To hear the whisper, to see the wonder, the beauty
in the ordinary-in. your. world.
That’s what I want you to see most of all.
Not Hickory Lane wonder, although I love it here and I would gladly take you along on a ramble, (one at a time, very quietly), but I want you to see whatever it is that is wonder-full where you are.
Just for a few minutes, wherever you are, be all there.
In the Presence.
Go ahead, try it. Today. (Maybe...right now?)