Sunday, April 27, 2008

Will You Indulge Me Yet Another Post About the Weather?

(We’re all feeling much better now, I’m happy to say. It feels so good to feel good again, to get up in the morning and be productive again.)

Yesterday we had the most glorious weather. It was the first time this year we’ve all been outside in fewer than two layers. Not only was it sunny and a balmy 70 degrees, it was Saturday. A warm, sunny Saturday and all of us were healthy! So after breakfast we got dressed, packed a quick lunch and set out for some woods we’ve been hearing about.

I love the woods. I do; I do; I really, really do. I don’t know if I can adequately describe the tranquil feeling that comes over me when I’m walking through woods, but it’s like suddenly everything is right in the world. I’ve had a lot on my mind in these first months of 2008, but stepping into the woods yesterday -- watching a tiny stream trickle down a crease in the ground, listening to the gentle birdsong floating through the tops of tree branches just starting to turn green again, smelling the freshness of new life emerging from between last year’s fallen leaves and from within no-longer dormant branches -- I felt all my weighty concerns being lifted and carried away by the soft, warm breeze.

When I was growing up, between the ages of four and nineteen, our family lived in a house on the edge of a subdivision that backed up to some woods. I realize now what an incredible gift that was, to have nature so close at hand in a town where man-made things like bricks, cement, tarmac and steel covered most of the ground’s surface and where nearly everyone’s dad worked for the auto industry in one capacity or another.

My sister and I played in the woods nearly every day all summer long -- climbing trees, building forts and crossing the creek back and forth, balancing ourselves on rocks that peeked above the current and trying to keep our feet from slipping in. That was back in the day when we could disappear out of the gate in our backyard for hours and hours at a time, and Mom didn’t have to worry. And when -- without parental supervision, a first-aid course or a safety net -- we kids would climb 20 feet up a tree, hoisting ourselves up over steps made from bits of two-by-four that had been nailed there at some point by someone’s big brother, gaining confidence and independence with each rung until finally, reaching the remnants of a tree house, we'd sit there and look d-o-w-n at the world as we’d always known it and realize: Aha! there are more dimensions to life than we’d thought.

Now that I’m -- I was going to say too old for tree climbing, but I think I’d rather say I’m just 30 years out of practice -- one of my favorite, most relaxing things to do is lie down underneath a tree and look up at the branches waving above. In our back garden here we have an anemic, old apple tree that produces four or five sorry little apples each fall. I haven’t wanted to cut it down, though, because of this very thing. As much as I love summertime for sitting out on the patio -- for lunch with the kids, tea with friends or just to unwind after the day -- if I want to chill all the way out I lie beneath that crazy, gnarled apple tree and gaze up at the beauty in the movement of its branches.

Yesterday, wandering through the woods -- a National Nature Reserve, no less -- felt so lovely, so luxurious, even. After far too many months of being cooped up inside while it was cold, wet and gray outside, this weekend's weather was -- quite literally -- a breath of fresh air. And since the forecast for the next ten days is lots and lots of rain, it couldn't have come at a better time.

I just keep reminding myself: There's another dimension to this life, and whether I recognize it now or years down the road, one day I'll have a better appreciation for how "all things work together".

* * * * * * *
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

1 comment:

Bev said...

Hi Laura,
wow, you made me want to leave work right this minute & go out for a walk in the woods. i grew up playing in them all day long too. the creeks, the mosses & ferns, even the rickety old steps up the tree (which eventually died because of all our nails, how sad) I'll have to take a blanket with me when i go though, terrible fear of something crawling across me as i lay under the tree! lol.
you should write books, you are an awesome storyteller :)

have a blessed day,
Bev Birckhead