I glance to the sky above me. It is untainted, awash with an impeccable azure. An airplane steadily proceeds from the west, leaving behind wisps of fading smoke in its trail. I follow it with a fixed gaze until the sky discreetly swallows it and hides any evidence of it ever being there. I inhale the scent of tranquillity in the air. As calm flows through me, a stream of thought begins to ensue. I cannot even begin to imagine how vast the sky is, knowing that the expanse that I’m able to survey is only a small portion of it. Reclining under the shade of an oak tree, scanning the endless blue above me, I become bluntly aware of our size and our significance in comparison to the rest of existence. We are but a small, humble detail. Minutia. Everything alive and present at this moment in time has a void to fill, a role to play and something to contribute to the panoramic picture of life.
Engrossed in speculation of how nature teems with life, with grace, and with purpose, I’m startled to see a butterfly frantically fluttering its wings, eventually coming to rest on a piece of bark lying on the ground. Its wings are intricate, as if embellished with delicate embroidery. The patterns and designs the creation is adorned with are a beauty we are blessed to behold. Countless creatures and beings, each unique and each crafted exquisitely. From the precise arrangement of petals on a rose to the face of the lake that glitters in the sunlight, the beauty witnessed in the life around us is a gift for which we owe gratitude.
As I draw my knees close to my body and clasp my arms around them, I slightly tilt my head to the side. I notice the trees. They stand proudly like majestic sculptures, their sturdy trunks rooted firmly in the ground. I smile and slightly wrinkle my eyebrows as this notion collides and connects with another in my mind. The trees remind me of the resoluteness of faith. When the beliefs of a person are like long, deep roots, they keep one anchored. Someone with faith and conviction is able to remain upright no matter how strong the winds blow or how heavy the rains fall. Nodding my head in confirmation of the realization, I dwell on how much we are in need of strength in our hearts to avoid being uprooted and caught up in the storm of life.
From the trees protrude a network of branches, intertwined like lace, intricately weaving in and around each other. Upon closer inspection, from the branches thrust out a series of perfectly placed buds, destined to blossom when it is decreed. They require the accuracy of time and the sincerity of patience. Nature functions to the rhythm of time. Seasons bring forth change, as does a day and as does a sudden moment.
In a swift motion a fly effortlessly comes to land on a blade of grass, momentarily satisfying its curiosity before flying off again. With what beautiful ease it glides. The tiniest grain of sand that quivers in the wind and the tiniest drop of moisture forming on the window pane on a winter’s day do not go unnoticed by Him. As does not a single beat of our hearts or a single thought. Sincere praise forms and escapes from the seams of my heart.
A melodious harmony interrupts my pondering, the direction eluding me, seeming so close yet like an echo from a distance. A discussion is taking place, one voice stating its opinion and others responding, an animated tone discernible. I wonder what the birds are saying. Are they concurring on who will hunt for the food this evening? Or are they, like myself, simply humbled and invoking chants of gratitude? One of the birds takes flight with a quick flap of its wings, and two more follow in pursuit. I watch as they soar into the air, flapping more rapidly to pick up momentum and then with a simple outstretching of their wings, they glide. I think of how the birds do not stay aloft of their own doing. Indeed, our hearts do not beat of their own accord either.
A cool summer’s breeze drifts by collecting my emotions and scattering them to the tapestry of the nature surrounding me. I let out a sigh brimming with humility, from consciousness of the beauty around me. Picking myself up from the ground and starting to head home, I hear my heart singing a melody. A melody of gratitude.