Waking, at half-past six, as the sleepy world roused from her slumber, I set out on my morning walk. Leaves and branches rustled in the early morning breeze. Birds, hidden from view, high atop the trees, sang their greeting to the new day. A frog, out by the pond where the ducks swim, lent his deep voice to the morning. I stopped to take it all in.
What are the trees and animals talking about? I wondered.
“They are talking about the new day,” God said. “They are talking about life.”
Once again, I started out, strolling through God’s creation, listening carefully to the sounds of the morning. When my legs grew tired from the hilly terrain, I sat down on an old tree stump to rest. Surrounded by the symphony of nature, it dawned on me what the trees and the animals weren’t talking about.
The trees weren’t judging other trees. The birds weren’t gossiping about other birds. Nor were the frogs, or any other living thing. They were too busy intent on being what God created them to be. Too busy being full of life.
I walked home slowly, praying that I can remember to talk about life, instead of talking about others.
The sun smiled broadly and chased the clouds away, leaving the sky so blue it almost hurt my eyes to look at it. For a moment, all my worries faded away as I stood in silent gratitude for this fine day. But the buzzing of a frantic bee snapped me out of my peaceful reverie. There, against the sliding door, he tried desperately to find his way back to freedom.
“You don’t belong here, little fella,” I told him as I placed a glass over him and gently slipped a piece of cardboard under it, trapping him inside. I released him at the door, happy that he could once again pollinate the spring flowers and return home.
My thoughts turned to my life—upended by the pandemic—isolating so far away from home. “When will I be able to return home where I belong?” I asked out loud.
“You are where you belong,” God said gently as the wind passed through the trees. “You are home, here in my heart, where you have been for all of time.”
Tears sprang to my eyes. I wiped them with my sleeve and nodded, emotions crowding out my voice. I sat down at the table on the deck, under the ancient oak, under the warmth of the noonday sun, and gave thanks for the home I’ve always known and loved—God’s good heart.
The day moved slowly toward the horizon. Soon, it would drop below the ridgeline and night’s long shadows would come out of hiding. I sat at the window and watched the clouds cling to the last bit of light. Ever-changing, they altered their shapes, moving slowly across the darkening sky. They paid me no mind, intent upon their duties, calling to the earth’s moisture to rise up and join them.
One, in particular, overtook its neighbors and grew into a menacing tower of white. It moved more slowly than the others, too heavy to be nimble and quick. I grew rather fond of it, cheering it on as it gained in girth. The wind suddenly shifted and the behemoth came apart, long strands of fluff spread out from its center.
It’s silly to be cloud watching, I thought to myself and turned away from the window.
“Don’t go,” God whispered. “Turn back.”
I looked out of the window just in time to see the day’s last exhale paint the clouds a fiery orange.
“The clouds know you are watching them. When you appreciate nature, nature lets me know,” God said with a smile. He lifted His hands and redirected the wind, bringing the big cloud back together again for me to see one last time before it was swallowed by the night.
One by one, the stars came out to play. I sat for a long time and watched them shine, knowing that God appreciated me appreciating them.