The clouds hang like draperies, thick and low, shifting from charcoal to purple, then green to white. Tiny flakes of ice swirl and fall down intermittently with the biting wind. It can't be more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit today. Without sunshine, it reveals no emotion. It's swollen due to recent rains and probably a little sore from shouldering so many twigs, seedlings, waterfowl, fish and silt. The leaves of the towering Maple are now fully formed. It will soon provide refreshing shade from the sun for the ducks when temperatures soar into the 90s. The pink and magenta blossoms from the shrubs forming the perimeter along the south bank shout out their beauty in contrast to the silent, colorless waters. A few heavy branches and sticks with torn bark and other debris lay clustered around the Maple, most likely sliced off by the impressive thunderstorm winds a couple nights ago.
I think about the power of water, ice, wind and lightning on all plant life and recall how massive branches and leaves and twigs choked the streets of my former tree lined neighborhood in Kansas after a tornado. We look with dismay and call it destruction. Maybe nature calls it pruning and trimming.
There are multiple life lessons to be learned from communing in nature because it reflects the wisdom of our Great Creator. Regular visits to the pond have reminded me of this during the past few months.
- Life is seasonal. There are seasons of renewal, rebirth, growth and death. There are periods when it appears nothing changes or happens because the activity is hidden and silent. And when you least expect it, everything changes. This is how nature teaches us patience.
- Sometimes it is necessary to let go of what may seem to be a precious treasure in order to receive something even better. What if the Great Maple refused to drop its leaves last fall? What if it was so proud of its beautiful colors that it tried to keep them? Then there would be no room for new leaves to sprout forth now.
- The ducks don't quack, "I don't need you!" to the pond. The birds don't twitter "I don't need you" to the trees. The trees don't bark "Stay off my branches," to the squirrels and birds. There's a beautiful display of interdependence. Each living thing is sustained and nourished by the other. We can accept this in nature, but often fail to apply this elsewhere in human relationships. We were not created to be emotionally or spiritually self-sufficient.
At the conclusion of this final required entry, I ponder "turning over a new leaf" in choosing another physical place for the summer and visiting regularly to write about it here. This exercise has become a form of meditation and prayer and has thus changed me. It's taught me to observant to the present moment.