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.
The rain finally stopped as the sun opened her sleepy eyes and peered over the horizon. I tugged on my boots and zipped up my heavy jacket. Outside, I sucked the cold air deep into my lungs, grateful that they were healthy, and set out to explore the promise of the new day.
Hiking down the hill, I saw a kettle of vultures circling over the treeline, intent upon something below. Off in the distance, at the base of the slope by the gravel road, the song of the creek called to me as it made its way over sticks and stones. I cupped my hand to my ear and heard the tapping of a woodpecker somewhere deep in the forest ahead. Shakespeare, my little dog, caught up to me, his tail wagging his whole body with joy. I reached down and stroked his head before he bounded off, lured by some invisible scent.
I watched and listened to life waking up around me— to life seeking the same things we all seek—love and safety. “We are all in this together, aren’t we, God,” I said.
“Yes. All of my creation is bound together as one,” God replied.
I closed my eyes and lifted my face to the sun, allowing her to caress my face with her warm fingers. I whistled for Shakespeare and the three of us began the uphill climb back to the house, my heart full of all that is.
Out beyond my bedroom, the murmur of voices pulled me from the sweetness of sleep. I cocked my head to one side to better listen—newscasters discussing the ever-growing pandemic. It was the same grim news that we’d heard for days. I wanted to pull the blankets up over my head to drown out the gloom, but I kicked them off and walked to the window instead.
I looked out over the trees growing in a hodgepodge line up the hill. They stood quiet and still in the cold of the waking day. “They aren’t scared of the virus, are they, God?” I asked, my breath fogging up the chilly pane.
“No, they aren’t, Sparrow,” God replied. He put His hands on my shoulders, then pursed His lips and blew through the trees, softly swaying their branches to and fro.
“They look so strong and wise,” I said, “as if they know something I should know.”
God gave me a gentle hug. “They know to grow where I planted them,” He said. “They don’t fight what comes their way. They accept the sun and the wind and the rain, growing deeper roots every day.
“Is that what I need to do?
“Yes. Accept life on life’s terms,” God said gently. “Grow your roots deeper and deeper into me.”
I reached up and squeezed God’s hand resting on my shoulder. “I’ll do that,” I said, then turned and went to join my son and his girlfriend as we wait out the virus here in the seclusion of these majestic hills and God’s glorious creatures.