Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter Walk

Lord, I love the house in which you dwell,
   and the place where your glory abides.  Psalm 26:8

The cold carries my breath away. I can see it in the air, the warm moisture from within me condensing into water vapor as it collides with the icy temperature. The snow has mostly melted in the rains of last week; nevertheless the ground crunches under my feet, frozen once again. Although the days are lengthening, I still have to wait until the later morning for enough light to walk along the forest path.

I call it a forest path even though it is in the midst of the city. Tree-lined, wending its way along a creek, this path has been groomed but still navigates its way across tree roots and around unmovable rocks. At times it cuts its narrow way deep between banks of vegetation--then widens again to accommodate bikers and joggers passing one another without concern. Unpopulated on a quiet winter morning, this bit of woods within the city limits becomes a vast wilderness.

I sink into contemplation as I walk, reveling in the sense of solitude. Small sights and sounds become magnified. A host of sparrows gathers on the bare branches of a bush, vibrating grey bodies suddenly colorful against the sparse backdrop. A peculiar tinkling reveals itself as a trickle of water over frozen rocks. I stand still—hear the rustle of a single dried leaf caressing a twig as it responds to a slight shift of air, smell the damp earth turned up by my shoe, glean the magnificence of God.

This is God’s holy temple. This is the very place in which Christ incarnate sets a foot and begins to walk. Here the glory of God has reigned for a million years, and continues to abide.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch
photo credit: Anne E. Kitch