“The Beloved makes me lie down in green pastures. God leads me beside
the still waters and restores my soul.” Psalm 23: 2-3
Re-imagining a peaceful night spent in a forest, poet Mary Oliver writes:
I thought the earth remembered me, she took
me back so tenderly, arranging her dark skirts,
her pockets full of lichen and seeds. I slept as
never before, a stone on the riverbed
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
mong the branches of the perfect trees.
A Word of Hope
Sometimes the need for nature is as strong as thirst on a summer hike. It has been so for many of us during this long pandemic year. And because travel has been restricted, we have re-learned the treasure of daily beauty. A mockingbird singing the dawn awake. Tiny green leaves unfurling after the winter storm. Rolling on the grass with dogs. A loon’s tremolo before returning North. A crow’s guttural “uh-oh” high in a pine. An early monarch floating on the breeze.
Oliver hits on something important in her lines: Nature welcomes us with her beauty like a relative gone missing—which we do with our self-absorption, busyness and worry. Her embrace can even be “forgiving.”
“I know, I know, she soothes. So much comes between us. And now, especially with these pandemics—the sickness unto death, the hatred and violence, the loss. But come to me, you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will re-member you, restore you to wholeness.”
In a 2018 sermon, Barbara Brown Taylor claims, “Beauty might turn out to be so woven into the hem of the Savior’s garment that we cannot reach out to touch it without being healed, then sent on our way to make more of it in the world.”
On this Earth Day, and every day, may our work be loving this world and restoring God’s creation in gratitude, in deep gratitude. Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon