Monday, October 17, 2011

Out of the Gloom

Off I went this morning when it was still gloomy and the traffic heavy with commuters. My goal was Second Marsh, the wetland jewel between Canada's busiest highway and Lake Ontario. Sometimes I don't have the energy to go for a walk and yet I sense that it is exactly what I need for my spirit.

We are getting to that time when birds are staging for the flight to milder climes and today I saw more blue herons together than I can recall -- somewhere around twenty. Some flapped lazily away from my approach, others seemed oblivious to my presence. A couple of trumpeter swans flew directly overhead and honked so loudly at that moment I was startled. It was a calm morning yet the water of Lake Ontario was so lively from the windy weekend that the waves kept me from walking the beach.

My mind raced with the busyness of this Fall season. Literally hours after our return from Colorado in early September I was into the fray and the activity of our congregation has not relented. Today I told myself to receive the gift of the setting I found myself in, to see and hear the creatures around me. After all, Jesus instructed us to ponder the birds of the airs and the wildflowers if we desire balance.

When I did open myself to the moment I thought of a blue heron I photographed when I was on restorative leave three and a half years ago. Not far from the remote farmhouse I holed up in for a couple of months was a series of rapids or chutes of the Mississippi River (the Ontario one.) The heron was as still and focussed as any that one might see in a tranquil pond. This heron was standing in an eddy, fishing intently, oblivious to the roar and rush of the water. The image above is my computer home page to serve as a reminder that I can find ways to be spiritual ly still in the turbulence if it is my heart's desire. It has been there long enough that I take it for granted. To my peril.

On the walk back out two white tailed deer bounded across the trail, effortlessly cleared a stream and disappeared into the woods. I realized that they had followed a trail I hadn't noticed on my walk to the lake. A third deer stood in the trees from which the others had emerged. There is a setting of Psalm 42 which begins:

As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after You.

You alone are my heart's desire, and I long to worship You.

You alone are my strength, my shield; to You alone may my spirit yield.

You alone are my heart's desire, and I long to worship You.

I'm not big on "signs and portents" but the herons and the deer did speak to me today.

It is a challenge to keep your life and spirit in balance? Do you ever feel the "tyranny of the urgent" takes over? What do you do to re-establish equilibrium?


johnny said...

It can be a challenge to keep life balanced. I am fairly efficient at keeping exercise a regular part of my life; without it, I just don't feel nearly as good.

I decided long ago that I would not define myself by the job I do, but rather the relationships I have with family and friends. Work is obviously important, but I try to ensure it doesn't take over.

So far, so good...maybe because I have too many hobbies to try to fit in after my work day!

janet.rice said...

David - did you hum the psalm as you walked back out?! VU 766 - a perfect blend of text and chording so sensitively played by Greg on opportunity to pause and restore equilibrium.

lionlamb said...

I'm with you on the importance of exercise johnny. I do try to include walks like yesterday that are less task oriented (like the gym) and more contemplative.

High praise, and deserved coming from you Janet. Greg will be pleased knowing what a fine musician you are. I really like that hymn.

Read4ever365 said...

This is a little off topic....a facebook friend shared this video and I wanted to pass it along. I find I need to get away from my "to do" list and little escapes via youtube sometimes do the trick!

or on youtube search: everyone who can breathe needs to watch this