As I draw to a close this series of postings from my time at the hermitage, I hope I have been able to share more than just the images but something of the experience as well.
If informally observed, the place where I go for hermitage would not appear particularly impressive: a cabin, some trees, a field, a little creek. It is nice but nothing the average visitor would think breath-taking.
It is the experience of hermitage that transforms. I rush around, wrapping up my tasks in the world, packing together a few things and then I arrive in this other world where everything simply is.
I arrive like a tight bud that needs to open and blossom. I do not know what is needed for my heart to open – does it need sun or rain, heat or cool? I am the tight bud – I do not know.
But there is One who knows. And He always gives what is needed – for He can give nothing other than His loving Truth. And, in time, my heart opens…
All glory to Him…
Yes, I think we are nearing the end of the hermitage pictures. But just one or two more.
These images came to me in late spring and summer is now very ripe. Today’s hot, dry weather seems to be scorning…
A most unusual thing just happened. Less than 90 minutes ago, I was typing the above words when suddenly an intense wind started blowing, rattling my blinds ferociously. Though thunderstorms had been predicted, they have often bypassed us this summer and it had been sunny this evening at the times they were predicted.
When this occurred, however, I decided that perhaps I should get offline and secure the sliding doors. Within minutes, huge rain drops were pelting the panes and a hearty thunder rumbled its approval. The grass here has long been brown and crunchy and I’ve been keeping the garden alive while praying for rain.
Now, shortly before midnight, the earth is dancing with joy. At 10 PM, the temperature was 90 degrees. It dropped to 73. I too shall dance.
And the particularly fun part about it all is that the hermitage image I had chosen tonight before this transpired was the following:
…an image I had loved because it appeared to me that, with its branches swung wide, this plant was trying to dance its way back to life this spring.
Yes, let us dance, let us dance, let us dance!
(And praise our God for the gift of rain, the gift of life.)
I keep thinking to myself, “It’s about time to end this project of hermitage images – it’s been many weeks since you were there!”
But then I see another and yet another that has a certain loveliness about it or a bit of a story that I feel called to tell.
And I think, “Why rush?”
And this is such a good question for me to ponder, as the hermitage experience is very much about not rushing but being still. It is not so important to consider what was or what will be – but what is.
Sometimes the observations are so small, so ordinary, that it seems almost absurd to make them.
But all of the earth was created holy. Even this little fellow…
Just an ordinary ant, going about his work day. I do not know what his mission was – but he seemed to know, as he marched the length of this log, alone and determined.
Who, passing by, would consider his contribution to the world or even to the forest to be of any consequence at all?
And yet he was created to be there, to be doing precisely what he was doing.
How glorious in beauty is all that God has made – a grand symphony with billions of players and singers and dancers – yet utterly simple.
When camera and I make the transition from the world of concrete and asphalt to our beloved hermitage, it is, at first, almost like entering another world.
I remember the thought occurring with that first step into the woods this past May, “I wonder if God’s favorite color is green… He uses so very much of it.”
Certainly I am unable to name all of the green growing life that I hereby dub “grass”. I only know that so often we take it for granted, hardly noticing it even when it lies directly under our feet.
But camera and I were drawn to it this spring, feasting our focus on all of that chlorophyll, as though we had never seen any before.
But the woods were filled with it…
While the wetlands bloomed an unfamiliar feathery frond…
And, of course, in the open fields the spring grasses burgeoned with blades beyond counting.
Like everyone else, camera and I can too easily fail to see what is literally beneath our feet. Too easily we favor those who have eyes or wings or legs as though they are more “alive” or interesting than the leafy life.
Meanwhile, it is the chlorophyll of the ordinary that brings about the transfiguration from above. With water and the light of the sun, it makes the energy and oxygen without which we could not live.
Yes, yes – green must be His favorite color. It is the color of life, His most precious gift.
All praise to Him…