It’s Always Been There
The spectacular fall colors were the perfect backdrop for our Forest Therapy walks at Firstfruits with our gifted guide Allison. (See pictures below.)
We learned the valuable practice of slowing down and allowing our senses to come alive to the often-overlooked treasures God provides in nature. The sights, the sounds, the smells, and the textures are signs of God’s tender and thoughtful love for us. Pure gift.
We can live without swaying tall grasses, mighty towering trees, hollowed out acorns, and giant puffball mushrooms, but what a boring life that would be. Nature is God’s icing on the cake. As one participant shared, “I can’t believe all of this has always been there and I’m just finding it now.”
Finding and learning to love what is right in front of us, and acknowledging God’s fingerprints and footsteps in all of it, is the very foundation of any religious seeing according to Fr. Richard Rohr. And it is the beginning of the path to loving our neighbor.
Perhaps once we can see God in plants and animals, we might learn to see God in our neighbors. And then we might learn to love the world.
Before they are all gone, take a moment this week to admire the beauty of the leaves. Take in the smells of autumn, touch the prickly remnant of a coneflower or the pale brown whisp of a tall grass, and thank God for his abundant gifts.
For all the great thoughts I have read
For all the deep books I have studied
None has brought me nearer to Spirit
Than a walk beneath shimmering leaves.
Golden red with the fire of autumn
When the air is crisp
And the sun a pale eye, watching.
I am a scholar of the senses.
A theologian of the tangible.
Spirit touches me and I touch Spirit
Each time I lift a leaf from my path
A thin flake of fire golden red
Still warm from the breath that made it.
Choctaw elder Steven Charleston