Friday, November 25, 2022

From My Nature Journal: Rejoicing at God’s Wonders

Three weeks ago today, Gail and I had the ‘blessing’ of the season’s very first snowfall while battening down the hatches to abandon for the winter our little cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula woods. I use quotations because that blessing certainly can be mixed, as it was this year. Whenever we stay through to the last half of October we often will experience the first snow, but it typically comes in flurries or a good dusting, coating the conifers with a crystalline beauty that takes breath away. Not this year. It was a bona fide storm, thrilling for our visiting grandchildren on fall break from school; after snowmen and snow angels, they even got to eat dinner and go to bed during an end of the day power outage, which made it feel like a true Little House in The Big Woods experience for them. But six inches of snow did indeed put the permanent parking brake on the fall raking yet to be completed, and just served to complicate the closing in general. Still, it was better than the blizzard during which we left several years ago. That one made loading the car a real treat.

I admit the result of the storm was beautiful, though. It had been a gorgeous fall in full color. Many trees were still holding on to some of that, so the mixture of the pristine white with all the reds, golds, oranges and forest greens made one’s heart sing. But very warm days leading up to that pre-winter weather event left a lot of warmth in the ground, especially the gravel roads; so though the woods and yards were a thick snowy blanket, the road was wet but relatively clear. 

About halfway through the snowfall I went out for a walk on that road and discovered dozens of these magnificent little snow sculptures where leaves had fallen. You may identify the maples easily. How did you do with the birch and large tooth aspen? In all my comings and goings over the years, I did not recall seeing anything like it before. The conditions must have been just perfect for it, and it reminded me how often a naturalist sees things they’ve never seen before nor ever may again. I love that part of being a nature observer, but it always takes me a little by surprise. (Continued below photos.)

The Northumbria Community of the U.K. has a lovely blessing that is part of the morning liturgy in their book Celtic Daily Prayer, a prayer blessing I have loved for years and offered over many. It goes like this:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you wherever he may send you.

May he guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.

May he bring you home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you.

May he bring you home rejoicing once again into our (or his) doors.

The wonders God has shown me… I see them every day, large and small. I hope you do as well. They’re out there. I am grateful. 

Gitcha some outdoors.

~~ RGM, November 7 2022

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