post and photos by Lisa Scandrette,
I fall asleep under the vast summer skies, a multitude of stars twinkling above. I breathe deep the smell of giant redwoods and duff from the forest floor. I wake to the morning songs of birds. I am part of this creation—right in the middle of it—made from the dirt and the stardust. I am not separate from nature. I am breathing your breath, soaking in your love in the coolness on my skin, reading your messages in the twinkling morse code of stars. When I am here, my daily cares are put in perspective. I am small, you, Creator, are big, and I am both less significant and more precious than I sometimes imagine. I belong, without question, in this place.
Here I am stripped down to what is essential. I am open to wonder and curiosity. What is that bird I am hearing? How old is this tree? What is this tiny flower? Where does this path lead? You and your creation are full of mystery. These redwoods grow to the size of 30 story buildings and weigh a million pounds, intertwining their roots to help hold one another up. When they fall, they feed multitudes for hundreds of years. My mind cannot fathom. Yet, I do not need to understand this mystery in order to enter in. I am content to simply bathe in it.
Your paths are gentler to my feet and joints than the paths I create for myself. You carpet them with redwood duff and moss. Rocks under my feet, cool river water running over my ankles. You lead me beside quiet waters, you restore my soul. The air you surround me with refreshes me. Your fragrances are everywhere. You smell like redwoods, water, connectedness, and freedom. You are spacious—attentive to the very small and the very large. Nothing is beyond your notice.
I wonder if I will become acclimated to this ancient forest, forgetting to stand in awe. Yet, each new exploration catches my breath. You stun me. You have thought of everything—the intricate interconnectedness of every species, the way they nourish and protect one another for thousands of years. You haven’t forgotten anything.
I confess that I forget, that I do not remember our interconnectedness, that I do not care as well for creation as I would like. As humans, we have taken more than we should. We have destroyed these ancient cathedrals and have given up abundance and connectedness for a lie of more and bigger and better. We have been ignorant and greedy. We’ve not understood the mystery. We have destroyed rather than nourished. Forgive us and help us remember how to be a harmonious part of this finely tuned system. Give us wisdom and heart to move forward with healing steps.
Being surrounded by your works heals me. When I wake up and wander, breathing the redwood air, or plunge my feet in cool waters, when I settle into quiet and wonder, it is easy to believe what is most real and true. You meet me, envelop me, surround me. I am safe, companioned by you.
As we navigate healing from the past year and a half of COVID-19, raging forest fires, division, and continuing struggles for racial equality, it is easy to become discouraged. We need to heal to keep participating in God’s good dreams for our world. Can you nourish yourself by taking some time to listen to creation speak? Can you find a place to walk in wonder and to listen to God speak through the gift of creation? What will you hear?
Want to experience more of the awe and wonder that God offers us? Check out the Gift of Wonder Online Retreat by Christine Sine. This retreat allows for 180 days of access for only $39.99 so you can move through the sessions at your own pace.