This week, my husband and I spent a bit of quiet time at a nearby county park. VERY nearby. It probably took all of 10 minutes to arrive in this peaceful wetland just north of Danville. This park was developed in the early part of this millennium, and I remember hearing about it, but I am embarrassed to say we had never been there. We love being outdoors, but we don’t take time out often enough to enjoy what beautiful things we have right here in our community. Any one else guilty of that?
So Monday, which was Labor Day, Bruce recommended we go up to Heron Park and check out the boardwalk. He knew it made the park wheelchair accessible, so this should be a perfect quiet activity after a fairly busy weekend. I was nervous that it would be too hot and humid…it’s a wetland area, for goodness sake! But the temperature cooled off a bit, and there was a gentle cool breeze. I cannot tell you how peaceful it was!
We saw lily pads and reeds and flowers I didn’t recognize. And the colorful dragonflies were everywhere! Green and blue and purple…flying and “dancing” over the water. We saw swans and a couple of herons. I was most excited about seeing this huge “field” of flowers with huge round leaves. They were gorgeous! They looked familiar, but I couldn’t place them…but another man at the park said they were lotuses. I had never seen them in the wild. Not only were they beautiful, they smelled amazing! The soft breeze would carry the fragrance so perfectly. No wonder candle and perfume makers try to imitate the scent.
We also heard many sounds. The cicadas (or were they locusts?) were chirping non-stop, and a wood pecker was nearby (though we couldn’t see it.) Bruce commented that there would probably be more early in the morning. I was so enthralled that I recommended we go first thing in the morning to catch the sunrise. This is borderline miraculous…I am NOT a morning person! To agree to get up and be somewhere by 6:30 a.m., let alone SUGGEST it, is a bit crazy. But I am so glad I did! Tuesday morning was chilly and cloudy, so we barely saw the sun, but the scenic peacefulness of the park was a blessing to be sure. We even did our morning prayer out there together.
While I believe that human life is the most precious of all God’s creation, I do believe we must treasure the rest of creation as well. We must embrace the beauty with every sense we have…the sights and sounds and smells. The taste of a fresh harvest, the feel of a flower’s petal in our hands. He has given us these things as gifts to enjoy, and as reminders of His sovereign, creative power. Here is a brief excerpt from a Scripture passage we had read at our wedding (Tobit 8:5)
“So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, “Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors, and blessed is your name in all generations forever. Let the heavens and the whole creation bless you forever.”
To God be all Glory, forever and ever!