Tuesday was one of those days when all goes well and you are so glad to be alive at this special moment. Douglas and I went for a walk in Long Hunter State Park. We walked the two-mile loop around the lake, and the woods and every living creature in it seemed to welcome us. The peace on the trail seeped down into my very being, and I knew immediately that all was well with my soul.
As I enjoyed the vibrant colors of the trees and flowers, a prayer escaped my lips, thanking God for the beauty all around us. I felt a sense of wonder that there was a world of animals below my feet that I could not even see or hear, but one vital to the my good health on this planet.
Douglas and I did not talk, for that would have disturbed the transquility of the place. Even as we passed other walkers, we simply smiled at each other and waved, as we acknowledged our shared gifts.
We rounded a bend in the trail, and there was a family of deer eating leaves. As we approached, they just kept enjoying the meal nature was providing for it. Even when we took pictures, they stayed there, unafraid of us. I marveled at the fact that the deer and I are connected through our Creator, different in form and purpose, but, nevertheless, both valuable to the steady forward beat of the universe.
We walked on, enjoying the different voices of the birds. At one point, we became aware of the susurrus of the wind rattling the leaves, and it was like the earth was relating its secrets to us. I listened with bated breath, as the wind proclaimed that it was as glad to see me as I was to be there to witness its sweet music.
The learner in me was captivated by the plaques with names of the different trees and bushes. Some of the names were really quite comincal, such as the Rusty Blackhaw, Shagbark Hickory, Roughleaf Dogwood, Hackberry, and the Chinkapin Oak, to name a few.
Some are hundreds of years old, outliving many a human who has walked this trail and marveld at the old trees, as I was doing at that moment. I learned a lot about the uses, durability, and value of each tree. Looking at how well the different trees compliment each other, I was reminded me that people are the same, different according to the categories we are placed in, but equally valuable in what we contribute to the world around us.
Nature has so much to teach us about how to live, such as the need to make time to rest and be rejuvenated, so that we can be even more fruitful and live longer lives. Job 12:7-10 states, “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of these does not know the hand of God has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
We all need a sweet taste of nature every once in a while, for in the forest, time seems to slow down and our bodies sync with nature, as our breathing slows and our heart beats at a slower rhythm. We become aware of ourselves as part of a created whole, able to see and appreciate our wondrous God.