And the day God breathed upon your still life, stirring into being the green leaf and the flower, bud upon the branch and light
upon your soul. Here you felt the earth’s air on your petals and your leaves, and squinted into sunlight, gazing high for heaven
until you felt the gardener’s hand gently turning soil and soul, and nurturing you, bud in radiant sun.
Cascading rain absorbed in warm earth turning, heaven of fragrance. What is that sound in the wind and dazzling light?
Oh, the sweet sound of your delight in God. Sometimes it is like the sound of running laughter.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More Precious and Rare than any Run

I had run the day before yesterday, and it had been a good trails and hills workout. Pushing out of the house at 9:41am, and over the next 1:41 hours I put down 6.87 miles, ascending 1623 feet and descending 1638. For most of my run I danced along with some serious, driving Christian rock music that seemed to mirror a wild, crazy streak in my running heart that morning. The sun was rich and pulsating, and I wanted to cry out like the old traditional song, “You can have all this world, but give me Jesus….” The trails and the day were gorgeous. And I wanted another rocking good time with God dashing through the woods just like a few days ago. Now it was Sunday afternoon and I had just conceived of how I could slip a run into the remaining day. I was hungry for some trails.

For a few days now I had been saying to my 13-year-old son, “Hey, let’s go for a walk and I’ll show you the woods I’ve been running. You can bring your camera and take some cool shots. It’ll be great!” The typical response was something like, “Yeah, maybe….” So anyway, I was setting up for my run, changing clothes, filling my hydration pack, grabbing my watch, and then…. “Dad, let’s go for that walk.” What did he say? My thoughts bounced between the run and the walk. My hesitation was no more than a blink of the eye. Of course the walk; it held far more worth and promise than just another run in my life. Runs are great, but sons (and daughters) are far more precious and rare than any run will ever be. Plus, sons his age are not usually looking for ways to spend time with their dads. This was a special, rare gift to me on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I redrew my ideas for the afternoon, and a short time later we were out in the forest and on the trails enjoying the natural beauty, the trails, and the countless other things to catch the eye and captivate the mind and imagination in a bustling woodland in springtime. We wandered along. I showed him the west ridge trail and east ridge path, the twisting, climbing pathways, drop-offs and quick descents, and the views from the highest points in Birch Island Park. We practiced careening down a loose sand and gravel slope, and walked on the railroad tracks because they were there. Sure, we were careful to listen for trains, and we heard bees and squirrels. And we saw the sun brilliant through the trees and reflecting full-glorious on the shimmering water of a little marshy lake. And I think our hearts heard things other than words, things shared and enjoyed together, good memories of a quiet Sunday afternoon and a walk in the woods with my youngest son.


Abbey von Gohren said...

Some of my best memories are taking similar "nature hikes" with you too, Dad!

Londell said...

Great post, great pictures. I have two son's. One who is 30 and I am not close and one who is 20, and we are very close. The first son, I spent time in Grad school and getting a career going and little time with him. The second, I realized when he was 6 and it was to late to "bond" with the rebel 16 YO, I took a big step back and made time for my kids... and it is times like the ones you posted about your son will remember well. I know my youngest and I are very close as I took the time to do anything with him when he asked, and they grow up to fast, and there has been much time for me now...

Henry said...

Londell, Thank you so much for your comments. It seems we spend our lives getting things into perspective. And we hope it all works out as we go along. Thanks again! Henry