By Amy McCollom
When I was younger, I was faster. I had to be. I was busy because life around me whirled like trains rushing by on both sides. Life was moving so fast that I didn’t have too much time to linger in thought. There are few places and moments that I could find myself with the opportunity to hear myself think, at least from the age of 10 to 45 or so.
But life has moved past quickly, and suddenly I looked down and noticed I’m not young anymore. Most of my kids are almost grown and gone, and a fresh batch of grandbabies have come for spoiling. But I have grown weary and I like naps.
I ache, and hurt, and limp, and I am not fast. My little dog outruns me to the back door. I have slowed down because I have to and now I find myself with moments where I can just think. It’s a nice little luxury. With thinking comes wisdom. If only I would have noticed and appreciated that wisdom more from the older people who were in my life when I was young.
So at our new house, we have a big concrete patio in our backyard. When I tie the dog out on her lead, I sit a spell in a chair, and watch and listen. Sometimes I will bring my teacup and let the dog sun herself on a warm spot on the sidewalk. I haven’t seen it, but I know that a block west of us there is a house with kids who play outside, loudly. Across the street, a mechanic tinkers in his garage while listening to an oldies station on the radio. A dog to the north will bark, causing a small dog to the south to bark once or twice. Three small squirrels don’t mind if we are out there, and will bravely navigate from the neighbors fence, to our tree, down the trunk, across the yard, and onto a stack of cut wood. At times I will hear a strange chattering and cry from the tree above me, which I discovered is a baby squirrel calling for its mother. I love watching those little acrobats. I wonder how different life would be if humans had fluffy tails like squirrels?
As the sun drops behind the houses, a cool dark shadow shifts across the yard, and gives everything a forest green appearance. Millions of miniscule bugs and insects zoom through the cool air at warp speed, not once colliding with each other. What a great and puzzling world we live in! I watched in amazement through the misty fading sunlight at the tiny flecks of white darting this way and that way, millions of them, like stars and galaxies in the heavens, dust specks if you will, all going their own way, all on course, planned and performed flawlessly.
It made me think of the Dr. Seuss’ story, Horton Hears A Who, and what if Who’s really were on a dust speck, and what if we all were Who’s on a dust speck ourselves. Perhaps in a way we are. The Word says life is as a vapor, a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow. I wouldn’t be able to hear a Who if a million Whos cried out; I have tinnitus and it’s getting louder. These days I hear a constant chorus of loud hissing cicadas chirping along to an AM radio that is not set on the station. If you can imagine such a thing. Losing my hearing would be ok if it wasn’t for this loud racket I hear all of the time. Gee whiz!
I drove down Hayes Road at dusk the other evening, swarms of black birds wafted up from a dry golden bean field. They swirled in three separate clouds, rolling in the air like waves tossed on the sea. The best synchronized swimmers in the world could not have performed so beautifully. It was like a symphony in the sky. The last of the days sunshine slipped through a hole in a cloud, and shot a spotlight on the spectacular show that made me catch my breath. All I could say, feel, or think was, “Wow!” That was God’s handiwork. I felt so privileged to have been there to see it.
It’s everywhere you look, if you want to see it. The colors in the sky, the stages of the flowers going to bed for the winter, the fruit of the vine as we gather pumpkins and squash, and the winds that bring the chill and fragrance of fall. The song of the trees as the limbs blow in unison, the whisper of the grasses on a country road. The promise that is born in a new baby’s face, and the caring hands that raise them up; God’s purpose and great plan is everywhere we look. No wonder one of God’s names is simply Beautiful.
I urge you to find the time to appreciate one thing that God made, and enjoy your thoughts after a long day.