You can make time stand still. Well, it seems like it. Go outside. One prerequisite, the place you go must be beautiful. Let me adjust that, just go outside, it is possible to find beauty wherever your eyes roam-if you are outside. This won’t work if you plan to be distracted with other things. But, no one would be distracted you think. We are all distracted by many things. Are you really prepared to be still outside? Are you ready to spend at least a half hour? It works if you if you are focused on your surroundings and if you stay outside for an extended time. Longer than 30 minutes actually is better.
Allow me to give an example of time spent outside. This example comes from personal experience. Three days ago an urge to go fishing came to me. This was not a spur of the moment urge. My purchase of bait some days earlier was one stimulus. Those waxworms needed to be tested. But bait was not the principal motivation, a search for beauty in quiet places was the real inspiration.
Now, for the example.
A 15-minute drive took me through a tiny town with a man’s name and no main street, small farm fields frozen in winter’s grip, and past thousands of basswood, burr oak, ash, and ironwood trees. My goal a tiny lake. Just 122 acres in size, it is a dwarf compared to the Upper and Lower Red Lakes of Minnesota with a combined 288,800 acres.
My memory reminded me that beauty was there. It also helps when you search for beauty if there are not too many other humans to distract you. In this place on this day, it seemed to me there would be few if any people. My eyes scanned the little parking lot near the lake access. There were no other cars. It was just me on this beauty search.
This little lake has 2.9 miles of shoreline. It has a littoral zone of 49 acres. My memory failed me on what that means. Research told me a littoral zone is the is the near shore area where sunlight penetrates all the way to the sediment and allows aquatic plants to grow. That’s 49 acres where invertebrates could thrive in those aquatic plants. Sunfish would find this zone extremely pleasant, there would be a lot of food for them there. A look at a fish survey of this lake revealed that fish traps held 309 sunfish in the sample taken. For sunfish this is a healthy lake. A further search for information indicated that the water is clear. The most recent Secchi Disk reading for this lake showed that the disk could be seen in 18 feet of water. The water in this lake is beautiful.
With my portable fish-house, and the necessary gear for fishing dragging behind me, my feet took me to the ice of the lake. The entire surface of the lake was glossy, snow free ice. In some areas my eyes could see the bottom edge it was so clear. This was also reassuring. It was possible to see the depth of the ice and know it was safe to walk on.
With no snow to anchor the plastic bottom of my fish-house my eyes searched for a place to fish out of the wind. This was necessary with gusts of wind from the northwest near 20 mph. The lake has a large loaf like island on its eastern shore. A water depth of 30 feet can be found just yards from shore on the west side. My eyes on the slick ice, my feet moved toward the island. The ice on the way had wavy humps from earlier being liquid a few days earlier when the air was 50 degrees above zero. When the air chilled below freezing, the wind formed little hummocks on the surface as the water refroze. They were beautiful.
The walk took me nearly 2/3 of the way around the lake looking for deeper water that might hold fish and still be out of the wind. On the way, my heart was delighted with the tree covered island anchored solidly in the lake. My eyes thrilled at the sight of the white tails and heads of two Bald Eagles, the third eagle, a juvenile was not old enough for white feathers. The shadows of hundreds of trees on the shore created a beauty only tree shadows can make. The northwest wind made its powerful music through thousands of limbs, branches and twigs. My eyes took in the colors of the afternoon, blue, white, gray tan, brown, black, and gold. The impact of this silent lake and the magnitude of beauty on it and around its shore began to creep into my being.
By the time my requirements for deep water and out of the wind were met, there was only an hour for fishing. It did not matter. No fish were caught either. It did not matter.
My goal was fishing. It never occurred to me that seeing all the splendor found at this little lake was significantly more important to me than catching fish. Three days later my memories continue to be fresh. Since my camera is a part of my outdoor gear, the photos that were taken just before my return home refresh the impact of the grandeur my eyes witnessed around this little body of clear blue water. Wanting to capture what my eyes were delighted with my goal was to take pictures of the best views of the afternoon.
An audible gasp came from my mouth as my eyes caught the almost full moon rising about the trees on the eastern shore. It was 3:30 PM. The sun was shining brightly. The moon was a pale white against a marine blue sky. It is clear in my mind now. Beautiful. Time stood still.
You see, we can make time stand still. When the worries and cares of the world drop away from your thoughts, concern about time is forgotten. Worries and cares disappear, for a while; when our hearts are occupied with something beautiful. Glory is another word that works. There is glory in nature. It is there for us to relieve our fears, or worries, there to refresh our souls. You cannot see this glory inside.
God put His glory in His creation. He gives it to us to bless us and reveal His love for us. God outside-He has given us eyes to see it.
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice…The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory. Psalm 97:1,6