I knelt beside a tiny brook in Uwharrie National Forest this morning and watched it slowly, slowly push past the rocks. The stream is nearly dry but continues to trickle along day after day. Small crawfish [ref]Or more properly “crayfish”, I think, in this land of foreigners that is North Carolina.[/ref] dart around under the rocks in the shallow water. Water bugs that look more like spiders scatter over the surface. They zip along in all directions at amazing speeds like tiny jetskiers on a busy Saturday at the lake.
I rise more stiffly than I’d like and continue walking along the creek. My companion, WillAtHome, is nearby paralleling my track through the trees. We are a mile or more from the nearest road.
Huge oaks tower over us. They are mixed with poplar, pines and other trees that I can’t identify. It’s a cool day in early fall and the sky through the trees is perfectly blue.
We move through the woods watching for signs of deer but finding something much greater. When we talk we talk in hushed tones. The deep woods seem almost sacred to me here. There is beauty in every crevice. Amazing intricacy and detail in every little corner. Beautiful and huge spider webs stretch between some of the trees and on several occasions I backtrack a bit to go around them; more to preserve them than for any fear of spiders. It is, for lack of a more perfect word, perfect [ref]perfectly so![/ref]. At any time you can find all stages of the cycle of life around you in the forest like a single frame from a “Nature” documentary writ large.
Here among the trees is where I find God. Here in the quiet of the forest is where I hear Him best.
The leaves rustle underfoot and branches snap as we tread on them with heavy boots. There’s no need to be quiet; we’re not hunting as much as hunting a place to hunt.
We move through the woods slowly, trying to see every detail, every sign of deer. I find an old can that’s nearly rusted away laying beside a pile of rocks. The pile is unnatural and is old. We discuss its origins but can’t really guess. Maybe some farmer a hundred years ago tossed the rocks there as he cleared his field to plant food for his family or maybe it was a hastily constructed defensive position built a hundred years earlier. Still again, maybe it’s an old Indian sweat lodge built a hundred years before the civil war. Whatever* it was, now it’s just another pile of rocks and doesn’t hold our interest long. The forest is always moving, growing, changing but always, always still and peaceful[ref]one might even say that it’s perfect[/ref].
Later, after I’ve returned home, I walk through the house. Mrs. Jinksto has all the windows open and the inside air is cooler than normal. She is laying on the couch reading a book with the cool outside air gently flowing through the window behind her. Because she’s reading she has her glasses on which I think makes her look cute. It’s a lazy Saturday and she’s dressed for it with sweats, bare feet and a long sleeve t-shirt. I realize again how much I love her.
George Straight sings a song called “I Saw God Today” about a man who sees God in the miracle of life as it struggles into existence in the smallest ways, every day.
All in all, it’s been a perfect [ref]there’s that word again[/ref] day and I’m sure that I saw God today. More than once.