Oh, the possibilities which exist in spring! If being outside brings possibilities, then spring in north country may be the season most filled with possibilities…if you go outside for a walk.
I took walks outside today. I’ll share my experiences to encourage you to walk outside.
Spring brings promise. The Eastern Cottontail in the photo was already enjoying the promise of spring. Grass is becoming green, the energy of the sun and warming earth fills it with nourishment this cottontail needs. After all, how palatable is a winter long diet of bark? The mostly nocturnal rabbit was risking life being exposed and visible to predators just before noon. Perhaps it was the shade, more likely, it was the promise of something tasty, in spring.
Spring has potential. Warmer air temperature increases the likelihood of north country humans being outdoors and comfortable-at the same time. Walks outside have potential for unexpected surprises. My afternoon walk first took me through a thicket of willows. There, my eyes fell upon the two sticks. The vertical stick has been rubbing on the nearly horizontal stick. Not vigorously, just slightly when the wind blows. One stick rubbing another over time equals a smooth surface. It is probable that no other eyes but mine and yours will ever see this. While two sticks rubbing together is not a world wonder. It is a delight to see what time, wind and friction do to wood.
Spring holds wonderful prospects. Walking further, my attention was captured by the winter survivors of Prairie Licorice seed still clinging to the stems they ripened on last summer. That’s at least eight months ago. This brown, completely prickly seed pod still holds to the vine as it did during winter wind, snow and cold. Inside these pods are the next generation of wild licorice plant. The fact that the root system of Prairie Licorice grows down to 12 feet into the earth may give evidence why the seeds are still firmly attached months after ripening.
Spring presents opportunities. (Actually, the opportunities happen every time we mortals venture outdoors.) My walk was nearly over when a cluster of cottonwood trees attracted my attention. Thinking they would provide me with cover to closely approach ducks on the wetland just on the other side of them, I moved into them. Then the sunlight on the large limb which had broken off the top of one tree appealed to my photographer’s eye. The ducks, forgotten, my attempt to position myself for the best light brought my eyes to see the real subject of the cottonwood tree. Two limbs from the top of the tree had been driven into the ground when the top of the tree fell to earth. Still in the earth, they formed a duet of lines pointing back to the tree they came from. The trunk has been broken off for a considerable time. This is the first time the parallel limbs captured my attention. Other walkers may have passed them by. This afternoon against a background of spring cumulus clouds they were beautiful.
Spring gives opening. For each of us who shrugs on a sweatshirt or slides arms into a jacket to venture outside for a glimpse of life there is promise. Each walk holds potential to open our hearts. Walks in any season open to us the reality of God as Creator. Whether we witness green grass nibbled, friction smoothed wood, a one-of-a kind plant, or the impact of wind, mass and gravity to drive tree limbs in the earth, we see God’s power, and might. The Psalmist who wrote these words knew about openings-and God. He took walks outside. He said, One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. Psalm 145:4-5 David, the shepherd who became king had months of time to take walks outside. Sheep usually do not move fast.
May I commend the earth works of God to you? Walk outside, meditate on what you have seen.