You are welcome here

August 08, 2018

Let me know if you can identify this interesting creature.

Let me know if you can identify this interesting creature.

    It was a tad warm and far too muggy, but Mark and I decided to take an evening walk across the run-off creek we affectionately refer to as Anam Cara Creek. The goal was to check out the trail we’re planning on clearing to the back ridge, but we also needed to walk off the apple pie and ice cream we had for dessert; and our pups, Claire and Lily Rose, needed to burn off some energy. We managed to find the trail we had marked the year before with orange tape tied to tree branches and wound our way up through the brush and old cedars. Along the path, I found a couple of interesting spiders weaving their webs among the branches, a variety I had never seen before. After several attempts, I finally had a decent photo and will definitely work on identifying this unusual arachnid. 

    We had just reached the summit when Mark whispered “Deer— buck.” I managed to grab Claire’s and Lily’s collars as I ducked low and saw one of the two bucks Mark had spotted. The handsome gentleman within my line of sight was at least a 10-pointer, possibly 12. Fortunately, the dogs never caught the scent of the bucks or I most likely would have been dragged pell nell through all sorts of underbrush—and poison ivy! Mark decided to walk the rest of the property line down to the road, but one close encounter between dogs and deer was enough for me. I headed back down to the little creek, calling to the girls the whole way.         

    There was a moment coming back from the ridge when I wasn’t sure of the way down, but then I would spot an orange marker tied around a tree, a simple reminder of the way to go. Sitting here at my laptop, the memory instantly drew me to a section of Psalm 25, one of my favorite prayer passages: “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (NIV Ps 25:4–5). God is our compass in life, through death, and into new life. More importantly, God is our guide to divine truth, a willing Teacher if we’re willing to be taught.

    One last splash in the creek and the girls and I headed back to the house. We reached the backyard just as Mark walked up the drive from the road. I talked Mark into helping me shovel my prerequisite 7 to 8 wheelbarrow loads of mulch per night and we dumped them on the labyrinth. I did a bit of raking, and then called it a day. My clothes were soaked through from exertion and humidity, but I enjoyed every minute: the hike, the dogs splashing in the pools of muddy water, spotting unusual spiders as they wove their intricate webs, the majestic buck alert to every movement, and even my stint with pitchfork and rake. 

    I love this place, I love the hard physical labor it takes to maintain it, and I love the lessons regarding rest, quiet and remembering to breath deep that God teaches me here. Our gift to you is to come and participate in rest, quiet, and remembering to breath deeply the holiness of God; or, to stretch desk-tightened muscles with a bit of physical labor. The mountain of mulch is endless; the love of God is even more so. Come ready to sweat or to spend much needed time remembering to obey the one commandment we most often violate (Deu 5:12-15). You are welcome here.

JUDITH STALLONS