Surprise Guests

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(photograph: Julie Cook/2013)

“Nature is the art of God.”
Dante Alighieri

Whenever I work in the yard, tend to the garden or have an opportunity of being out in the woods, there are no limits to the sights and sounds that so often bring me a sense of Divine Joy. I don’t know how anyone can stand outside, in the middle of “nature”, be it woods, ocean, mountains, field, garden–large or small, and definitely proclaim there is no Creator.

I have stood at the base of massive jagged mountains, ominous clouds capping the space above my head, as an angry, churning, black sea roared at my back–all the while feeling suddenly finite and small. I have stood waste high in brush, scanning the field for the infamous resident grizzles that called the very place I stood, home–all the while knowing that I was suddenly back in the food chain… and not necessarily on the top of that chain. I have paddled lazily on an inflatable raft on a turquoise clear sea, only to spy an ominous fin rise silently up then silently down right besides me– knowing all the while that I remained untouched, on my raft, not by my own accord.

It is at these certain moments when I, as the egocentric all powerful human, find myself knocked off my pedestal of arrogance, left but to quickly discover that I am merely a small piece of this place we call earth. We do not control this place, even though we so smugly think differently… it, in the end, will indeed control us.

It is at these moments, the moments of fierce and unpredictable adventures out of doors, when I know I am less and there is indeed More….yet there does not necessarily need to be extreme conditions or moments of fear for me to experience the often elusive glimpse of Divine Wonder—I can do so when I water a container of flowers or even clean out the garage….just as I did the other day and found a surprise guest hiding in a corner.

Mr. Toad had obviously wandered in our garage thinking he could or should hide-out behind the trash bin. I thought it best that he should be returned to the yard–as I gently scooped him up, depositing him near the plants in the garden. I would think the food “pickings” of a better variety and much more tasty in the yard verses the garage.

Even when I have the chance meeting with a toad, I am beautifully reminded that there is a Creator whose handiwork is constantly all around me. I am most thankful for these brief surprise encounters with nature, particularly when they are most unexpected,—these moments draw me out of my finite world, allowing me to see, sense, feel and touch the infinite Wonders which surround and thankfully engulf me.

I hope you have such opportunities on this Monday morning in June. What Wonders will you discover today?