Saturday, September 23, 2017

{A Certain Place}

"Mom, have you seen where the frogs hide at the pond?" Aidan's eyes gleamed over his discovery. "They're tucked in the little holes between the fence posts!"

Sure enough, the next time I walked the pond, I drastically changed my pace with my frequent stops to peer into the openings. The little frogs -- green, brown, orange -- peeked from their hiding places like proper little men poised under so many arched door frames. I had heard their song often, but I'd never actually seen them. Now that I knew where to look, I saw them everywhere.

This morning I found myself in Luke 11. Right off the bat -- with verse one -- I was drawn to the phrase, "Jesus was praying in a certain place . . . ." I looked up and soaked in my living room surroundings. Ensconced in The Big Chair (a hand-me-down gift from a friend and our family's very favorite place to sit), I was wrapped in a cream-colored, knitted cotton blanket (a thrifty find that thrilled me to the core with its five dollar price tag). A candle flickered on the coffee table (a birthday gift from a friend) as I sipped tea from my Polish pottery teacup (a gift from my husband when he and Bethie visited our family in Slovenia a few years ago). I was surrounded by simple yet deeply personal gifts.

This is my "certain place," my little hollow tucked in the split rail fence. And this morning I reveled in what it meant: the Lord is faithful. For years I've prayed that the Lord would give me time with Him and that I would delight in it. And He has done this. He has given our relationship "a certain place" where we meet together and -- whether it's a brief tete-a-tete or a lengthy conversation over weighty issues -- it's sweet and it belongs to my Savior and me.

We need Thee to bring us to Thee.
C.H. Spurgeon

The Lord has faithfully brought me to Himself. And just as He tucked Moses in the cleft of the rock, just as He created frogs with the instinct to seek the protection of frog-sized niches, so He has said, "This is our certain place, and I will always be here."  


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Crows on Ice (And Other Firsts)

In keeping with the spirit of a NewYear, I have lately experienced a number of firsts at the pond. It fascinates me that I can visit the same place again and again and still experience something new. (I shouldn't be surprised. This is the work of God.)

Today's excitement? Crows on ice. Temperatures have dipped below the 30s around here, which is somewhat unusual in our corner of the world. The pond was still and quiet; not a ripple or murmur caused the waters to stir. At first I couldn't get close enough to see if the pond was indeed frozen. But when a crow walked on water, I knew.

Although I usually find crows to be brazen and obnoxious, I couldn't help but stop and marvel at their winter behavior. The tapping of their beaks on the ice echoed across the pond as they gathered around clumps of water grasses; here they could more easily penetrate the barrier to their source of hydration. I also noticed that the crows weren't as quick to bolt as I walked the path: they allowed me to come within 5 feet or so. (Not that I really wanted to, mind you. But still. An interesting change.)

The crows were the most noticeable birds today. The water birds, of course, were nowhere to be seen. The only other voices I heard belonged to the finches, flickers, chickadees, vireos and robins. As Avery would say, the robins behaved like "stereotypical" robins. (This is lately her word of choice.) They hopped from limb to limb plucking away at bright red berries as though they had leapt from a charming, stereotypical Currier and Ives print.

I must briefly rewind the clock to include a few other noteworthy firsts that occurred last month. The light, fluffy snowfall on New Year's Eve was decidedly poetic. It was made even more so by the contrast of soaring fireworks. Our neighbors released beautiful bursts into the sky that raced toward the icy heavens and then descended in brilliant umbrellas of color. Never before had I seen fireworks cascading with snowfall.

Another first: (I think) A frozen spider's web. I looked at this picture again and again for days after that cold, frosty, foggy morning.

Speaking of frosty, foggy mornings, did you know that frozen fog at sunrise could do this?

The icy fog particles whirled through the air, nipping at my nose and cheeks à la Jack Frost. As the sun eased its way into the morning sky (at that stereotypical winter slant), a golden arch stretched benevolently over the pond. An additional beam shot toward the apex and, although not vivid in this picture, the colors of the rainbow were quite discernible. I don't know much about light and refraction and such, so we'll once again go with Avery's awe-inspired word choice: "It looks like God threw glitter across the whole world."