In Nature

I have been asked my whole life as some sort of personality test whether I like the beach or the mountains better.  There are those who feel the call of the sea, and then there are those who commune with trees.  And then there’s me.  I feel most at peace in nature, no matter where that is.

I am writing this sitting next to the ocean, and right now I feel like I could be one of the ancient mariners whose heartsong was the call of waves crashing on the shoreline.  Standing at the shore and seeing only water and sky until the edges blur and they meet in a haze of blue, I feel how vast this small section of earth is, how small I am, and how eternally enormous God is.  The feel of the water lapping at my legs in a push-pull rhythm is timeless and echoed in my veins through the chambers of my heart.  Sand shifting beneath my feet and running back into the ocean like my spirit running after God even when I seem to be standing still.  I can stand there for hours facing the wind, lifting my arms to feel it rush by me and feeling grounded, connected to the universe, the sound of the waves encompassing my soul.

But in the mountains, in the woods, I feel the same tug on my soul.  Sunlight dappled forest floors hint at the marriage of leaves and branches.  The rush of the wind through the trees sounds as big as the ocean, but I can still hear a twig snap and a single bird chirping.  I can trace the line of ants crawling across boulders bigger than me that form mountaintops I have to lean back to see.  Minutia and magnitude in one glance.

That’s God: eternal and present, everywhere and with me, an infinite depth of wonder to study for the rest of my life.

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