I live in an Indiana city. However, for most of my life I’ve lived in the rural parts of the plain states. Sometimes I long for the wide open spaces of nearby sandhills and of hayfields with distant shelter belts of trees. I miss the song of the meadow larks, the ability to see miles in all directions, the occasional tree by the road, the sparse traffic and the sense of peace in spaciousness.
Here, I’ve needed to become aware of and appreciate a different kind of beauty. Trees abound, ponds are plentiful, traffic seems constant and there are different songbirds.
My relationship with my current geographical space grows with the variety of nature here. I’ve delighted in the budding of the redwood trees and the lacey white dogwoods as they introduce the spring season. I enjoy watching the goldfinches compete with the red-headed house finches at the bird feeder. I’ve yet to learn the names of the warblers that sing early in the mornings. I’ve enjoyed the playful squirrels chasing each other. However, I’ve not appreciated their destroying the bird feeder to get to the bird seed.
I’ve learned to marvel at the greenness of the overhanging trees as I drive home. I like to think of the trees as reaching out to give an invitation of hope. I’ve observed the leaves turn from green to colorful autumn pink, orange, red and brown. I’ve watched them fall to the ground as winter approached.
I’ve reflected on the leafless trees in winter, trees with their roots deep in the earth. Trees, who seem to be resting to burst forth with life in the spring.
Robert M. Hamma in Landscapes of the Soul: A Spirituality of Place writes about learning from children to simply be in place and be in relationship with all in that space, as children do.
In the Genesis creation story (Genesis 1:1-ff) after God creates, God said that it was all good. There is beauty all around if I look for it.
My challenge is to honor the earth where I live now and honor all creation. It’s to use wisely what I need and recycle what I can.
Creator God, thank you for the variety and beauty of all creation. Help me to honor all creation. Guide me to live simply and use all things wisely. Amen.