Thursday, July 31, 2008

Midnight Skies

Last night before turning in for the night, I did what I always do. I kneeled at the side of my bed and thanked the Lord for another day of mercy, providence and grace, and then I told on myself and everyone else I know that has asked me to pray for them, or that simply needs the Lord working in their lives right now.

When I raised my head and opened my eyes, my gaze was immediately drawn to my window. My eyes had already adapted to the darkness of the room so what I saw out the window just left me breathless. In a perfectly clear sky, countless stars shimmered and sparkled as if they were flung there just for me to watch last night. It was such a brilliant sky, that I had to get up and go sit under the window for a while and just watch. Within seconds I was treated to two shooting stars that were both so brilliant, I actually said "wow" outloud. With my eyes trained on the sky, in my peripheral vision I could see countless numbers of bats flying around in the yard and right up to the window I was standing at. I just stood there for several minutes thinking how incredibly cool the midnight skies are. (Okay it was actually 1:38 am according to the clock, but that's besides the point).

I know it may seem trivial to a lot of people, but God's creation just fascinates me. From as early as I can remember, it has. I recall as a little girl, sitting in my gma's backyard under the apple tree and collecting the brown, curled up leaves from under the bushes in the flower beds, just so I could carefully uncurl them and flatten them out. Now that might sound strange to most people, but it was just one of those things that captured my attention as a kid. Whenever I'd come across a curled leaf that had a spider or some other critter inside creating an egg nest, I'd curl it back up and stick it back under the bush. I did this so much that it become common for me to try to peek through the end first, to see if it was an "egg" leaf so that I didn't disturb whatever was growing in there. That, plus sitting in the park creating daisy chains (yeah, I grew up on the tail end of the hippie era, and daisy chains were just a part of that world) was such a common thing for me to do, that when I started drawing, it was flowers and leaves that I would draw the most, and pay most attention to detail in every petal or stem. I still love to draw them, and they're still the only thing I can really draw well.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, if you're anything like me and your life is anything like mine, you're probably busy a lot, and don't take the time you might like to really stop and smell the roses. Or, to sit outside on a clear night and watch the skies, or the fireflies, or the bats. Or take a walk in the woods, or alongside a creek, or on the beach and just listen to the sound of a slower ecosystem. Life can get so busy and so hectic that by the end of the day you just may not get to unplug and detach from "stuff" so you have to really make the time to do this. I remain convinced that we need that slower time to balance out the craziness of modern life and modern technology and conveniences.

I was chatting with a fellow channel rat (#prosapologian regular, for those who aren't sure what a channel rat is) last night, about sky photography, and she (hey gracey!) asked if she will ever tire of looking at the skies and taking pictures. Being a fairly recent convert to the joys of scenic photography, I think she thinks this is a passing fad or novelty. I assured her, that God's canvas is so rich in beauty that she will likely never tire of capturing it with her camera. For most people, once they are captured by the beauty of creation, it's for good.

So, here's what you should do today, or tonight. Whatever is on your planner for today, however busy you are, do your very best to set aside 30 minutes or an hour to just be still and take in the scenic beauty around you. Sit in your back yard and enjoy your garden, or go to a park and enjoy theirs. Go somewhere where there's more grass than concrete, more trees than buildings, and more birds than cars, and thank God for the beauty He's surrounded us with. I promise you, you'll be glad you did that, and it may even become habit forming. :-)

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