20020307 Woods Walk March 7 2002

Tonight, on television, I am missing several programs that are complete with dirty jokes, sexual innuendo, alternate sexual orientation, "normal" sexual orientation, featuring bedroom scenes, of people out of wedlock, and a whole host of other unsavory "in fashion" entertainment features. One can only wonder what this country is indeed coming too, and if is actually Babylon, as one email writer recently postulated.

But enough of that. My cousin Marion, whom know only through email, used to like to walk in the woods, but no longer can. I had thought to write about some of my own "woods walking," to cheer her up, and to edify.

As I was sitting here, pondering what I wanted to do with my evening, the "still small voice" that so often speaks to my spirit hinted that I might write about my walk today. I attribute that Voice to God, especially when it leads towards sharing His peace, His joy, and how He gently likes to minister to me.

I sat down, beside a stream today, where it had gotten wide by the action of the water turning a corner. In point of fact it had made an "S" shape, and there were several trees fallen into the water. This is an unkept, un-managed woods, from our point of view. There remain there trees that have not been disturbed since they fell. They are gradually re-joining the forest floor.

That un-noticed corner of that un-kept woods was indeed a place of beauty. There are several levels of dirt banks, from steep to gradual, and the small "waves" or the stream have made a classically beautiful "ripple" pattern in the sandy floor of the stream bed itself. The water ranges from crystal clear to murky in its miniature "depths." I have seen small fish in this stream, but saw none today.

People and animals share the same trails, in my woods. I commonly track both deer and squirrel among the " people tracks," and today I scared up a raccoon.

At least I think that is what it was. The little beast was so much the same color as the surrounding woods, and at such a distance, I could not see it clearly. You could just about make out the little "Lone Ranger" mask around its eyes, so I guessed it to be one.

I saw one squirrel sort of bound away from me, and then stop as if to talk. They often move quickly and then "freeze" thinking you can not see them. Not a good "survival" trait, because, if you are hunting them, it makes a perfect time to shoot.

This one stopped, and I was suddenly distracted by what must have been the fastest ground racing squirrel in Christendom. I may have seen this character before, in that same area.

That little critter breaks out in a mad, dashing, bounding, noisy run that would be credit to any track team member or "bolt of greased lightening." He makes a wide arc in through the woods as he flashes by. That is one quite large, and quite noisy, speed racer. The speed with which he streaks by is partially intimidating, and wholly amusing.

You would never stop that guy without a hand-grenade, and would not get much meat if you did.

Anyway, I ambled through the woods as I am ambling through this story, and sat down on the bank of my stream where it makes that large "S" shape. See, I have you out there walking with me, now.

Looking at the arranged root pattern of a medium sized tree growing out of the side of the bank I thought of how wonderful God is. He arranges tree roots, the ripple patterns in the bottoms of streams, and the wonder of the sky, just for our enjoyment. Most people miss that.

I noted one tree, gently arching up from higher on the bank, towards the sky. This time of year, there are no leaves on them.

I wondered how long that tree had been growing there. Guessing, it seems it was probably about twenty years old, when I was born. That means, all these years, as I have struggled with my various problems, and wondered where God was, this tree has been weathering storms, varmints, and various things that want to kill it, and not worrying once.

You sometimes have to wonder which is the higher form of life, trees or men. God provides for both of us, and we worry and they don't. Of course, trees are not much to talk to, but I like to think they know about God, and that He is there.

Every time I walk in the woods, I marvel at the beauty so easily given, and so temporary in nature. You can only think that maybe God can handle your problems if He so wonderfully provides every smallest detail in every un-noticed, un-managed corner of His woods.

That's all for now, have a blessed day. Paul