I’m finally back on track with my trail-walking regimen. It is always a double-dip of joy to walk in early spring in the North Country. It feels so good to be moving, truly moving, sloughing off winter. Just about every creature under the North Country sun seems to agree.
My favorite time to walk is early morning, when the forest is most alive. Every day there are new friends along the path. Runny babbits scamper alongside for a panicked moment or two before ducking into the undergrowth, safely obscured. Red squirrels and cousins gray run up one tree and down another. Chipmunks skitter back and forth underfoot, busy, busy, busy! Occasionally, I cross paths with whitetail deer on their way from the stream.
Songbirds abound early in the morning: jays, finches, wrens, robins and sparrows, sometimes a cardinal, last week an oriole, tweeting loud and proud, seeking a mate. They are easiest to observe now, hardwoods barely beginning to leaf out. Last week I observed a most charming courting ritual as mister skip-hopped his way to a new missus. Ready the nest!
Day by day, new wildflowers emerge in early spring sunlight. Pearly white bloodroot are among the first, blossoms closed in coolness, relaxing open in the sun. Buttery yellow trout lilies are not far behind, foliage dappled like the forest itself. Soon clusters of violets appear on spindly short stems. Then ferns unfurl like flags of the forest. The display underfoot is rivaled only by the occasional burst of pale pink and white blooms in the canopy above, foreshadowing fruits of the summer.
The past couple of weeks I have been paying special attention to the sunlight. It’s chilly yet; unseasonably so. Yet where spring’s rays rest awhile, the forest is verdant and richly varied. Stems, leaves, buds, blossoms, and seeds create a miniature Eden for furry and feathered friends. Living in the light yields abundant life indeed.
My spirit lifts by the sight of swaths of sunlight illuminating the forest. Light is a familiar meditation theme; scripture tells us that God is the Father of light. His word lights our path — every encounter somehow illuminating. Jesus said he is the light of the world. In all of this, there is the overriding assurance that God is and owns the light; darkness has no purview in his kingdom.
I love Michael Card’s sentiment, “Even the darkness is light to Him / the night is as light as the day.” What a powerful image — so brilliantly bright as to see through darkness as if it does not exist. It is completely dispelled! Indeed, as surely as dawn pushes back the darkness of each new day, the Father of Light can be or do no less.
It is a privilege to work and play in this life-giving light. Every once in awhile, I’m reminded to cease scurrying around like a chipmunk long enough to say, thank you.
~ René Morley
Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. (James 1:17)
God is light. There is no darkness in Him… If we live in the light as He is in the light, we share what we have in God with each other. (1 John 1:5-7)
Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” (John 8:12)