And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
One of the sweetest things about creation is the way nature can connect what our eyes see to what our soul feels, and then our mind understands. Such a moment occurred for me on our nature hike this past week.
There is a deep ravine that runs in a semicircle away from the pipe under the road: a long curve of clay and sand that stretches far overhead. To the left there is sun-burnt vines and tangled weeds and harsh gravel that stretches out to meet the road. I step down, half sliding and half tumbling to reach the sand below. Suddenly the steep wall shrouds me in shadow and the day is cool and still. I hear the faint voices of the children as they dash through the storm pipe and search for crawdads. I know that they are just around the bend a few yards away, but tucked into this sheltered nook I can barely hear their voices.
The wall reaches far overhead, dwarfing me beneath it. I feel an unfamiliar peace stealing over me, a restful coolness that starts in my soul and migrates outwards. It has been so long since I felt this. His presence has been far from me for many months, my faith shaken to the core and my own actions often less than admirable. I have studied the Bible but avoided prayer, not knowing how to approach Him in my current state of doubt. I have been hiding from Him, and since I would not come to Him He has come to me. Here in the shadow of my great sand wall I am forced to face Him and admit to what I am: a fallen human who needs His help. I feel the touch of His presence and weep. How I have missed this, the feel of Him close by! A child screeches in the distance. I am unsure if it is with terror or delight, so I continue on around the bend to join in their play, knowing I will return for a picture so I can remember this moment.
This is the essence of Nature Study: being unable to escape the reality of God.
Eehhmm. Emotional moment over. Rosie is deeply fascinated by the various types of moss, and in the process of photographing her finds I discovered that my 4-year-old camera possesses a setting for “Taking close-up photos in bright light.” Who knew? So I played around with that a little.
Things are happening in the woods. New growth is stretching from the soil and reaching towards the sky, grass is blooming and dogwoods are preparing to burst forth in all their glory. It makes me wonder about miracles. Is a miracle big or is it small? Is it out of the ordinary or everyday? Can it be both? Can a miracle be explained? If it is explained, is it still a miracle?
Last but not least, the rocks that face west have developed this tough green growth during the winter. Further investigation is called for.
I love our rocky hillsides. I wouldn’t ever trade them for pasture land. Thankfully, the goats don’t mind. :)