It's only fitting as I just made a resolution to go outside more this winter, despite the cold.
Usually the extent of my outdoor excursions at this time of year consist of me running to my vehicle from the house and then from the vehicle into whatever warm building I am headed to. Mad dashes across parking lots, that's my winter sport.
But this weekend we finally got a reprieve from the terribly cold temperatures and I needed a reprieve from being holed up indoors. It was a glorious, sunny day and we have a stretch of wooded trails behind our new house that needed to be explored.
I decided to explore them....alone.
More than the fresh air, and even more than the exercise, I needed the chance to get away on my own and find something else for my mind to focus on, my eyes to look at and my heart to respond to. I needed to recharge my senses the way only nature can do.
I've had a lot on my plate.
With all the stress and transition of moving, and settling, struggles with my health and a very recent miscarriage I'm still grieving, let's just say God and I needed to have a chat.
I emptied my head and heart of everything that's been going on, cried a little and refocused by taking the time to listen to His replies. Sometimes our conversations can seem very one sided, but I think nature is one of His greatest tools to speaking to the deepest places in us. It's something we can all connect to so tangibly.
I won't lie and say I ended my stroll through beauty with any concrete answers, new revelations or enlightenment. It doesn't necessarily work that way. But I did pay attention to things other than my frustrations, other than my fears, doubts, worries and anxieties, and yes, I was blessed.
There's something about winter and it's landscape that particularly spoke to me and the state I've been in. Underneath all those cold layers is joy just waiting to spring up and little bits of the promise of life show up under all that weight if we just pay attention.
Later tucked into my Bible, I found this poem that so aptly fit the whole experience:
All Beautiful the March of Days
Frances Whitmarsh Wile (1878-1939)
All beautiful the march of days, as
seasons come and go;
The hand that shaped the rose hath
wrought the crystal of the snow;
Hath sent the hoary frost of heaven.
the flowing waters sealed,
And laid a silent lovelness on hill
and wood and field
O'er white expanses sparkling pure
the radiant morns unfold;
The solemn splendors of the night
burn brighter than the cold;
Life mounts in every throbbing vein,
love deepens round the hearth,
and clearer sounds the angel hymn,
"Good will to men on earth"
O thou from Whose unfathomed
law the year in beauty flows,
Thyself the vision passing by in
crystal and in rose.
Day unto day doth utter speech, and
night to night proclaim,
In ever changing words of light, the
wonder of Thy Name.