Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
Henry David Thoreau
And He said to them:
“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”
― Henry David Thoreau
Every day they came and went.
In and out
Day in and day out
Rain or shine
Relentless and driven
Upon each approach, deep within,
a loud din of chatter rose to a deafening crescendo. . .
Which would immediately cease upon each departure. . .
Were they or weren’t they. . .really inside?
Two came and two went
Yet the sound of many existed.
How many lived within?
How big have they grown?
And yet which is witnessed with all of life,
consistency and forever grow more and more elusive
The arrival of the quiet strange day proved just that
The zeal of activity was missing
Things had grown eerily quiet.
No flurry of the comings and goings
Emptiness hung in the air.
Oddly a cache of feathers was discovered nearby.
Had there been a struggle?
Had there been a violent encounter?
Were they the feathers of parent or child.
What had happened?
Had they all flown away?
Had they all made it?
Watching and waiting
There was nothing, no one
No one in
No one out
With trepidation and grave concern
Slowly and carefully
The door is painstakingly raised.
There is not a sound
No shrill peeps
No squeaking or jabbering
No yellow wide opened mouthes
No bulging eyes
No downy feathers.
Nothing but a lone, tiny blue egg. . .
and the myriad of question as to what might have been. . .
I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.
Henry David Thoreau
It often borders on the spiritual. . .
It is when Nature is at her best with the local, and not so local, residents known as
Most often times, these intimately captured moments and / or encounters
are much more sublime than wild.
These are the marvelous moments which. . .
soothe our nerves
slow us down
and wow our senses. . .
We take on the role of voyeur with our indirect interactions stealthily from afar.
To be so close, yet to go unnoticed as to allow “their” life to go on as it normally would, without our interruptions, our disturbances, our infringing, our alarming, our misguided desire to be closer than we should. . .
We see them as they are. . .
Reckless with abandon
Just simply happy to live
To exist. . .
Uninhibited and unhindered. . . without our intervention and interaction—
Allowing those so fortunate a brief and tender taste of the Divine, just by merely being in close proximity.
We are humbled, being taken out of ourselves for but a brief moment.
We reconnect a part of ourselves to them.
A natural order seems to return to the world which otherwise is frustratingly spiraling out of our control.
There is a harmony and rhythmic accord which sweetly slips back into balance. . .
Which leaves us feeling forever grateful.
We may exhale and rest in the tiny window afforded us, a sneak peek into God’s masterful order
Be it quick,
Be it brief
Be it short lived
We regain our humanness
Our sense of wonder
Our decency. . .
For the quickly passing precious secret moments of observation, as well as for their presence in our lives, helps to make our existence happier, calmer, more joyous and seemingly better. . .
But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?
“Almost all wild apples are handsome. They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye.”
Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples
I think that perhaps we are a lot like the wild apple—not all handsome nor perfect but instead rather gnarly, a bit disfigured, lumpy, bumpy, less than perfect…and yet, there is something thankfully redeeming in us all…..It would greatly behoove each of us to remember such when we look at those who we feel are full of imperfection, who appear “less than” in our eyes and who are a bit gruff and gnarly….as we all have our little imperfections–be they external or internal—
(photographs: wild crab apple tree/ Troup County, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2013)