Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Deer, the Hawks and the Wind

I once lived in an old farmhouse in (semi-) rural Tennessee, smack dab in the middle of five acres. No one knocked at my door uninvited. Few knew my door existed. I liked it that way. No one to bother me. Back then, I preferred an isolated life - it felt 'safer'. Living in the boonies helped protect me from neighbors and the like.

At the edge of my property was a trail - an old railroad line that had been converted into a hiking trail. Every morning, I would walk that trail. My quiet, contemplative time. It was one of the places I sought out a connection with God.

Almost inevitably, as I reached the old railroad trestle bridge, a gentle breeze would rise up, and brush the hair out of my eyes and caress my cheek. It was if God Himself were saying - "welcome back". I began to look forward to my walks - mostly I looked forward to the feeling of the wind on my cheek. I'd close my eyes as I met it, and breathe deeply.

There were times I'd stop in the middle of the bridge, staring out over the water. Just stand there, be still - sometimes talk with God, but mostly listen. On the cool mornings, as I'd step out onto the trestle bridge, I'd notice the dew on the spiderwebs, glistening on the strands of the webs. I called them the "Dew Drop Galleries" - truly a work of art.

On one of my very first walks there, I remember being new at this "walking with God" thing, and I actually spoke aloud "My God, am I on the right path?" Apparently, my voice started some of the nearby wildlife. Suddenly, I heard a stirring to my left, at the top of the ridge. I turned in that direction, to see four deer running in the direction I was headed.

I'd see deer from time to time - they'd remind me of the Gentleness of God, and they'd remind me of myself. Staring silently out into the world - listening, watching.

Years past, I grew, married, moved, grew, divorced, moved again. From the midst of the woods, to the "holler", then out to the plains - in the midst of a subdivision. Three very different periods of my life. Three very different habitats.

There on the plain, one day, my breath was taken away by another incredible creature. In my backyard sat a hawk. I had seen their nest on my neighborhood walk, but had never seen the hawk so close up. I stood and watched him for a long, long time. Beautiful, majestic.

The deer, the hawk and the wind - all very different - all remind me of God. They remind me of the beauty, and grace that surrounds me here on this earth. They remind me that God's hand is here. They remind me to keep my eyes and my heart open.

Thank you God for the beauty and grace that You have put in my life.

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