Can You Believe —
Just two weeks after a big snowfall, where did it all go?
We had a decent additional eight inches of snow on January 26. By February 6, we had lost almost all of it.
The groundhog was wrong! But so warm so soon?
No matter, my friend, Brandon and I were out hiking at eight this February morning and already seeing hikers coming back from their hikes!
The great thing about hiking year round is that I get entirely immersed in nature, each nuance of the changing seasons — every change embeds the essence deeper within.
I feel very much a part of it all. I know these dwarfed pinyon pines at 8,000 feet on the side of Divisadero Peak. I know them giving off their summer scent in the heat of June, their enchanted snowy boughs ofJanuary, their muscular strength bursting forth beneath sunny skies, their millennial durability in all seasons.
I am completely absorbed into their peace and tranquility when I’m out here.
Brandon and I talked of nature’s eternal spirituality on a rest stop today.
Where is God in Nature?
One of my favorite poets, William Wordsworth, speaks of nature’s teachings:
One impulse from the vernal wood
Will tell you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
It’s similar to St. Bernard’s bow to nature:
What I know of the divine sciences
and Holy Scripture,
I learnt in woods and fields.
I have had no other masters
than the beeches and oaks.
The language is similar, though the deeper meaning is different.
To St Bernard, nature is loved as a means to God, not enjoyed as though she is God.
Out here I get a strong everlastingly peaceful sense of presence in and of everything, as deep a connection as in meditation.
The woods, hills, brooks, open skies bring me to that inner peace that is always there. It is the same as the peace I experience every night when I drift off into deep, dreamless sleep.
Ordinary, everyday life takes me away from it.
I try to avoid the tumult of town and TV where there is so many harsh voices.
Yet, even in that, the wise have said, there too is the divine, which perhaps if I live long enough and try hard enough, I may eventually find the way to that divine there as well.
That is a challenge!
For this life though, I suspect I will have to be content in finding it in the woods.
That will be just fine with me!