We’ve had some beautifully warm weather where I live. It’s not normal for this time of year in Montana. And although it’s created a shoe-store affect in my foyer with an inventory from snow boots to flip flops, it’s been a treat for the kids to get out and play in the sun sans coats and boots.
I enjoy nature, but usually from the kitchen window. Too often, I’m apt to let it frame my day rather than enter into it. It’s just a pretty backdrop to live everyday life. Like those fake photography backgrounds I had to choose for my kids school pictures, it’s pretty but really affects none of my senses.
Yesterday, as I drove home with warm air wafting in my cracked window, I had the urge to get out in it. To join the day and the sun and create a moment within the context God gave these hours.
So rather than consult my To Do List–I could get to that later–I slipped on my tennis shoes and set out for a walk with my husband and my preschooler. We veered off the paved streets and sidewalks onto the trail hidden beneath Aspens and winding beside a creek. Although I wanted to talk big strides and huff and puff this walk out as some serious exercise, we chose a relaxing pace instead.
I made lots of stops to let my girly point out moss and Robins who came close. I taught her to play Pooh sticks on the bridge, which delighted her (and me). I stood quiet and still enough for my fly fisherman husband to show me trout hiding in the water, glistening their rainbow scales in the sunlight. We listened to the Cedar Waxwings hiding from us in the treetops, hoping to catch a glimpse.
I resisted the urge to think about what needed done at home. I didn’t dwell on how few hours until the kids returned home. Or what would need done for dinner preparations. I entered the day and let it sweep me away, if only for an hour.
I came home and while I was spent from the long walk, I was also invigorated by the tiny spots of majesty I saw in the secret places beneath the trees. The fresh air cleared my brain of muddled thoughts and worries. The time spent slowing down with my family created a memory for each of us. One with all the senses enlivened–the best kind for remembering years and years from now.
After we crossed a bridge, we came to a creek-side picnic table with a plaque of dedication on it for a young girl who’s life had been cut short. How her parents must have counted every day in the sun precious with her.
Is it so small a thing
To have enjoy’d the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done?
Matthew Arnold (From the Hymn of Empedocles)
This poem resonated with me long after my walk. And it reminds me how precious each day is to take hold of beyond the flickering screens that flash in my faces screaming of importance and timely information. I don’t think I created a single memory for myself or anyone on Facebook this week.
I’m learning slowly that the things that matter most are the hardest to make happen each day. It’s easier to check my email than do my Bible study. Less work to read than to write, to putz than to pray. But my necklace-reminder to ‘invest in things unseen’ dangles just above my heart as I greet each day. Lord, help me remember to do that. Daily. Hourly.
Will you join me in taking a break this spring? Not just one Spring Break, but lots of little ones. Daily. Let’s exit our busyness and enter into the day He made for us. Put it on your To Do List if you must.