Winter Consolations

Friday, January 9, 2009

When I walk around the lake these days, I understand why Spring comes as such an extravagance of joy. Winter is beautiful - cold, but beautiful - when everything is covered with snow, mounds of white, crystals of frost sprouting on twigs like glass flowers.

But let the snow melt, and mostly what I see is a world like wilted lettuce. Grasses lying limp and dispirited. Ruined blackberry vines matted over brown puddles in the mud.

And days, long days without sunlight.

I go to my lake, and visit my geese, but to tell the truth, the place looks like it's seen better days. And it will again. Sometime around March, maybe.

Still, there are consolations. A grey heron that I've seen once, and then only briefly, has now taken up residence on the icy shore. I love herons. There are places where they are plentiful, but at my lake, there's only the one. These days, he's been posing for my camera.

Not only that, but two days ago, someone pointed to the top of a tree, where a bald eagle perched, proud as the whole US of A. I'd never seen one before.

The more I walk in this place, the more it seems the right thing to do. How did I ever spend whole years without getting out to see what the world looked like? Never knowing how the geese were, where the heron was, what a bald eagle looked like, staring down at me from his exalted height? (I did wish for a telephoto lens at that moment.)

If I have a resolution this year, it's to extend what I've learned at the lake into the rest of my life. To pay attention. To take time. To learn the kind of rest that isn't about doing nothing, but about doing just one thing at a time, in faith and great love.

Somehow it all prompts me to pull a favorite book from the shelf. I open it up and browse through the many passages I've highlighted. And find this:

Then run, faithful souls, happy and tireless, keep up with your beloved who marches with giant strides from one end of heaven to the other. Nothing is hidden from his eyes. He walks alike over the smallest blade of grass, the tallest cedars, grains of sand or rocky mountains. Wherever you go he has gone before. Only follow him and you will find him everywhere.

~ Jean-Pierre de Caussade, in The Sacrament of the Present Moment

P.S. Today I also posted for the first time on Novel Matters, the new blog about the reading and writing of sumptuous fiction. This time I talk about the writer's calling to wrestle with angels. Care to take a look?


Jan Parrish said...

What a beautiful post. Are those your photo's? I would love to go walking around that lake. Even in the winter.

Kathleen Popa said...

Thank you, Jan. Yes, they're my photos, and that's where I walk (almost) every day. It's beautiful. You can come with me anytime.

Mindy Grant said...

Everything about you is so poetic, Katy. Can't wait for you to meet little Abbie. She'll love you for sure. XO XO!

Kathleen Popa said...

Mindy, I can't wait to meet little Abbie either. I'll bet she's gorgeous beyond words.

Thanks for your kindness. So good to see you here.

Karen said...

Kathleen, thank you for stopping by my blog! I did indeed enjoy your book--tore through it in less than two days! Thanks also for your encouraging words about our church-hunt. I do think we're going to try our hand at being Baptists. :-)