Tag Archives: meditation

Woods and the Rising Sun

It’s always a treat to be outside to meet the morning sun. The woods are at their best even for an audience of one. #getoutside. #PhotoPoetry. 

The sun comes up on the woods out behind our house. I can hear the woods come to life, while Black Brook rushes through the ravine below me.

At Peace in the Forest

20160105_132143.jpgI walked in the woods. It was cold. The chill on my face was cold enough for me to notice. I thought that maybe it was cold enough to freeze condensation into my moustache. The snow was hard. It was frozen, molded by the beings that had trodden there before me. My steps were my own, but nearly every one of them landed where another had trod this space recently. My own passage through this place was loud and I wondered who, or what else, knew I was there. I assumed that all animals were keenly aware of my presence. When I stopped to tickle the depths of my throat with the crisp, clean, cold air, I heard nothing else. Save, the fluttering beech nut leaves that clung in the slight winter’s breeze to the twig that gave them life. Now and again I heard the pop of some piece of tree bark that finally succumbed to the temperatures. But for man, I heard nothing. I listened to my heartbeat as my eyes and ears sought out other sounds deep in the forest. The trickle of distant water half covered in ice seemed so loud even when it was still far enough away that I could not see it. The steps I took were in earnest as I couldn’t wait to get to a place where the path ran away to disappear somewhere around the next bend. Finally, after checking a spot along a trail that I had not explored before, I noticed that the foot prints in the snow ended, reversing themselves along the trail as they had entered.20160105_133126.jpg

Ahhh, I looked around and made no haste in determining my new direction. As a matter of fact, I even removed my heavy outer layer of clothing as I had created too much heat on my walk into the woods. I stripped down to my bare back in order to cool down and make sure all layers of my clothing were dry. I was worried that if my shirts were wet, and my pace slowed in the shadows of hills and forest, that I might quickly get too cold. It was only 14°F with a wind chill in the single digits back in the forest. I re-layered, and I wore the heaviest layer like a belt around my waist, because I knew if I was moving, I would be warm enough. I did not want to cut my time short, for there aren’t enough hours available to fully enjoy this landscape already.

Then I decided it would be the tiny deer tracks that I saw, tracks that made the faintest of impressions on the snow dust, like a thin layer of powdered sugar covering the crusted snow, was where I would follow. I walked in the woods. I walked on crusted snow. There were no other foot steps. There was no trail. I followed some animal tracks, but mostly just the lay of the land. The crusted snow was slick in spots but I thought of how much more difficult this walk would be in the summer months of growth. I knelt by a small stream to listen while my eyes searched for each instrument that played such a rhythmic trickle. I looked through the crystal clear sheet of ice and watched the water flow over the bed of the stream. I followed the land and its ease of passage feeling for the contours I would seek if looking at a map of the terrain. I came upon a large wetland that was fed by several small streams, a couple of which I had encountered during my walk. I skirted around the wetland checking the tracks in the snow and noticing the age of the massive fir trees around me. I noticed almost no hard wood trees and figured that the land had been cleared generations before me. Then as the ground rose, away from the water, I noticed a super highway of animal tracks. There were deer, muskrat, turkey, bobcat, coyote, otter, and another bird tracks that I wasn’t sure of. There was probably even more tracks that I missed. But during my time there, only the water, the wind, and I were moving. I stood in silence and let the sun warm my face, as I daydreamed of being there in that spot on some early, early morning to see all the activity connected to the tracks I saw. 20160105_133155.jpg

I listened to the sounds, the silence found in the absence of sound. I talked with my Lord aloud. I figured the nature around me was already familiar with The Lord Almighty, and that it would be just fine to speak aloud. I prayed aloud. I prayed in reverence. I prayed a thankful prayer. I prayed for the vision and attentiveness to notice the awesomeness of the Lord’s works in so many people, places, and things that I encounter every day. I prayed for my Dad, for my whole family, and for many more. I prayed for our leaders to boldly go where true leaders must go. I prayed for God’s direction for them, for me, for my family, for us all. I prayed about a lot of things. I talked openly with God. Finally I prayed for more opportunities to be in such wild and natural places as often as His will would allow. For me, there’s a calming, encompassing, peace and a connection to God that is unmistakable when truly engaged in the forest. For all of life that whisks by us in a blur that seems to be an endless loop at times, I was so grateful for these couple of hours in nature. I knew I had other commitments that I needed to attend to, so I made my way out of the forest, reluctantly returning to reality. As I left the woods and was returning to the places I needed to be, I saw a large, beautiful, wandering coyote going about his or her day. I smiled and I thought, perfect, I am leaving, let the animals return to their business. 20160105_133840.jpg

Blessed Mornings

So, time and time again I stop and consider just how fortunate I am. I mean life is hectic. Something always gets in the way of something else. Demands on my time seem to have no end. Others come first, and there just seems to be so many ‘others’. Days run right into weeks and the top of to-do lists turn upside down, and even start over again. Sometimes I think this pace approaches madness. Early morning, late nights, full days, never enough time.

Then; Then right in the middle of overtired, battling every cold that comes home, body aching, attitudes in need of adjustment, and a list of things to get done that just won’t quit; there is peace in prayer. There is peace in meditation. There is peace in the quiet moments that never seem to linger long enough.

The twins on a quiet fall morning. The sun was rising and the shadows were long. My oh my, they're beautiful children. I'm a blessed man on another blessed morning.

The twins on a quiet fall morning. The sun was rising and the shadows were long. My oh my, they’re beautiful children. I’m a blessed man on another blessed morning. photo by 1inawesomewonder (C).

Sunday Morning Peace

Last Sunday morning I found peace in a place I’d never been before. Sitting on the top deck at the rental house in Waves, NC, I prayed, I wrote, I listened, I drifted, I sang, I sat and tried to ponder the depths of blue in the sky above me. The sun was bright. It was at my back. I stared out over Pamlico Sound from my deck perch, and I wondered how the water that was my horizon as far as I could see could be blue but still close to charcoal color and dark purple at the same time.

Mostly though, I listened to gospel hymns and old style country gospel songs as I sang the words I knew, and thought deeply on the applications through life of the words I didn’t. The Outer Banks’ strong breezes dried tears still on my cheeks as I thought of the tender love afforded me by my Lord that I don’t nearly deserve. Emotions bubbled up with the memories of loved ones who sit at His throne now. The sound of the wind, the beauty of harmonies I only wish to conceive, and the silences in the distant corners of my mind, were the peaceful backdrop I so needed that morning.

Blue doesn’t get much more perfect than this

 

In the Garden

Often times, as I stroll through the quiet, God created, wild places, I find myself praying, if not, talking with my Lord. In those moments, the balance of life, my peace of mind, and feeling of blessed assurance is mine; mine alone. It reminds me of the truths found in words to a song I remember singing in church…

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,

And He tells me I am His own;

And the joy we share as we tarry there,

None other has ever known…”

The joy is mine, and it’s always available; always. Thank you Lord. Oh, to be there now.

In the Garden

What’s on my mind?

Thanks to Facebook, I answer this question a lot, What’s on my mind? Usually I answer that question quietly, to myself. Since last night though, I have noted a few things that are wandering through my mind. No agenda, just thoughts. Boring? Probably, but it’s my blog so here I share.

What’s on my mind…between last night and this morning? Well, I was thinking about a few things, in no particular order…

1)         My parents are on my mind. How much did they think they knew about parenting when I was born and forced their hand?

2)         Did they ever search for a script on how to get through a day or night?

3)         Just as I am sure the sun rises everyday, I know I am prayed for by my parents every day, 46+ years and counting

4)         These words rattle in the space between my ears today…So I wrote these words, and I hope they last. For the years have come, and the years have passed. Think of all they gave, think of all the debt. But can’t find a way, to repay them yet…

5)         Does everyone have a band they relate to like I do with TSO?

6)         I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument

7)         Maybe someday I will learn to play guitar or the piano

8)         I miss skating on the Rideau Canal with my kids this winter

9)         I wish I had more time with all of my kids, at all of their ages, past and present

10)     I could have been so much better

11)     I am actually glad that I cannot post this stuff from my phone

12)     That’s not a dig Jim Cardello

13)     I really do get frustrated with the level of development, or lack thereof, among baseball players from Little League ages all the way into the college ranks

14)     Don’t hold a title, perform the job description

15)     If you don’t like the job description, redefine it (written word not necessary)

16)     There’s black and white, and there is grey, but there’s always right

17)     Don’t forget the chase in “dump and chase”

18)     I have the best people in the world all around me, and I need to hold my end of the bargain

19)     Imagine how much more we would respect and appreciate the land around us if we couldn’t drive or fly, and had to walk every inch of it

20)     Wouldn’t everyone be better for having been a part of a team that truly defined all that is team, at least once?

21)     Does anyone else scour Google Maps constantly just to look at various places in the world? I am always searching Alaska, Maine, Northern Ontario, and Montana

22)     I love teaching kids about our national pastime, even if nobody thinks it’s our pastime anymore

23)     Quality of life is what I measure jobs, titles, and salaries against because happily living each and every 24 hours is way more important than the other stuff

24)     Each day should give us enough time to just be alone with our thoughts for a time

25)     I once called in sick to work just so I could be outside and take 1,000 free throws on a public outdoor basketball court

26)     I made almost 900 of the 1,000 shots I took that day

27)     I can’t wait for the Olympics

28)     It’s cold, but I find enjoyment in all of the seasons

29)     Seeing my breath and feeling a chill to the bone reminds me that I am very much alive

30)     Being very much alive reminds me that I am blessed more times over than I could ever count

31)     I have a truly awesome wife

32)     My kids are incredible

33)     I can’t stand how much I/we rely on gas/oil/propane

34)     Moose are my favorite animal but I have always thought horses are absolutely beautiful

35)     I wish the open range was still open

36)     If only there was more time to make lists like this…