Category: Nature


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Yesterday afternoon, it stormed. Thunder, lightning, heavy rain, black clouds, ah! it was so delicious.

While standing atop a rock on a point of land jutting into Lake Bemidji, I was able to see the clouds behind me sweep across the sky. It was like a battle with no fight. The darkness just took over. Quickly.

It made me wonder if that is how easily I would surrender.

I love walking in rain. I think it is the complete abandon, the feeling that if I am to get wet, I might as well get soaked, that I enjoy. The spontaneity of storms or rain showers is also wonderful. 

The power that comes from feeling powerless is perhaps one of my favorite things about being in a storm. It is as if I become part of the wind and rain, a meaningless drop of water, yet I am somehow then more powerful than my normal self.

Hmmm.  I guess I just like puddle-jumping!

I want another storm

Snow!

I watched it snow last night.

As this winter winds down, I have found myself wishing for more snow and cold. Crazy, I know. It is a matter of defiance against time’s mad race. If spring comes, that means I have just lived through almost three and a half months of winter – but, it seems like it has only been a month since I was looking forward to a white Christmas.

Then, there is always that thing about school being close to finishing for the semester…

Yes, so I have recently begun to value snow more highly.  Being caught in a snowing is much the same for me as being suddenly transported to a little snow globe. My rushing world is stilled, enclosed. Made smaller but beautifully less familiar.  Whirling flakes create a fog of white color, nothing is as it was, and the rushing movement of the snow effects a sense of hushed suspension on earth.

If I am in my room when it is snowing, I drop everything I may be doing to simply watch the  brilliant battle out my window.  Down, down, over, down  – every one falls. Some appear to float, others speed,  a few simply drift along.

Out in the street, I see the snow fall in a little sphere of orange light.  All is dark, but I can see the occasional glimmers of snow parading past my look-out post. Only in the light do they appear fully.  Full, as an orchestra of silence, one player after the other, constant reinforcements, constant music.

Individually, they cannot invade the dark; they merely hide in it. But together, in the light, they can cover the whole darkness. Their silent song drowns out the noise to become a melody of quiet brilliance.

Alive

How is it that every time I complain about being busy, someone older than I inevitably says that life only gets busier. Like it can. Right now, I am doing well to be able to get in three meals a day, six hours of sleep, and keep up with all of my school, work, and student organizations. I have an average of three or four hours a day to myself, but they really are not mine, because each of them must be spent in some form of work or study. Dullness at its finest.

What is this dulling busyness, and how can one get rid of it? I know I am not alone in being busy, but it often seems like I am the only one who has to pass up a fun dinner with a friend, or a weekend get-away, or the movie that everyone else has watched. I keep telling myself that it is worth it, that delayed gratification is better than instant gratification. But, if it is true that life never slows its continually accelerating pace, when will I have time to get that “gratification?”

Grades are important, and landing a job is important, and maintaining a healthy body is important, and maintaining community life is important, and making money is important…but when do we get time to live? Isn’t that the most important? I suppose all the aspects of life just mentioned are necessary, but they are merely aspects of life, which, when balanced out, are supposed to form a whole. Without the very necessary aspect of living, they will never amount to a life. You can’t have life without the living.

As a college student, it seems that life wants to pull me in a hundred directions at once, but somehow, I never head in a direction when I am allowing only the demands to direct me. Today I woke up at 6:30 AM, worked one job for two hours, had a class, went back to work for another two hours, then worked at another job for an hour, had class, then came back to my room and worked at my job assignment for another hour and a half, left for a class/campus organization meeting, came back, and finished my silly work project after another two hours. Yes, I got some things done. But did I live? What do I have to show for this day besides a few conversations, some completed assignments, and the consumption of a pumpkin muffin or two?

As I was bemoaning my fated life of busyness this evening, and thinking about just how dull my day had been, I put in a Mozart recording. As I was listening to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23,    I suddenly became alive again. Just like I did late that night last December as I gazed out at the moonlight dazzling over the shadow-filled snow fields. Just like I did when I ran barefoot over the spongy green moss by the creek stones. When I watch the capricious interplays of light in the sun’s heavenly farewells; when I forget to breathe.

 Breath! How wonderful it is! Each respiration a miracle. Tiny sections of life, tiny lives in a section. Isn’t that how I feel? Tiny lives in a section, but no real Life? No real Life that is, until I am caught up in something that is able to shake me outside myself and wake me up to the beauty and life that is all around me.  Not until I am able to lose my life to find it in the One who calls Himself the Life. Thank God for His Creation, Beauty that reminds me who He is and who I am.  John Piper says in his book Don’t Waste Your Life,

“The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. At such moments we are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves. And each of those rare and precious moments in life – beside the Canyon, before the Alps, under the stars – is an echo of a far greater excellence, namely, the glory of God.”

After all, you can’t have living without The Life.

Dull? Life isn’t dull…unless it’s not lived.