There are some things that were very much a part of my life when I was younger. Raising a child, focusing on a career, answering the Lord’s call and the activities of daily living pushed those things far into the background. It’s not as if the time to do those things that brought me joy and peace in my childhood doesn’t exist. It’s how I have filled the time, since.
I attended a private high school. There was a series of hiking trails on the grounds. Students were encouraged and invited to walk the trails whenever they wished. Now, because we are sheltering in place, I have rediscovered the serenity of walking through trails and wooded places. I am taking the time to enjoy being a part of our Lord’s world, taking in the beauty of Spring blossoms in their full array of colors.
I have seen robins, cardinals, orioles, ducks, geese and even a hawk or two, winging through the skies. As my neighbor mowed his lawn last week, I watched a groundhog sunning itself on my back porch. There have always been rabbits and a few skunks that meander through my yard most nights. Last week, there were several deer who munched through my front yard, just after night fell.
This is God’s natural world that I have taken for granted for far too long. I have been traveling through it without really seeing it. Like many of you, I am still getting used to the new normal. There are aspects of sheltering in place and practicing social distancing that are a struggle for me. Even though I am working jigsaw puzzles more frequently, I miss going to Barnes and Nobles to discover new titles over a cup of tea. I haven’t been to a movie theater in two months, and don’t know when I’ll do so again. I haven’t browsed through my favorite craft store in about 10 weeks. But all of those things happened inside.
I’m walking outside more. I am looking up at the sky, for the sake of looking up at the sky. Whether it’s that heavenly blue, or there are clouds that take on a variety of shapes, I see it differently. As the nights begin to warm, I am thinking of setting up my telescope to gaze at the stars in their courses.
And I am remembering the words to a hymn I first learned at camp. “This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.” Once again, I am hearing that special song which comes from God’s creation. I know these are trying times. I also know that they can be spirit filled, spirit nurturing and a time for each of us to connect with our Lord in ways that are both new and familiar. May it be so. And Amen.