When I walked out the door this morning for my 5 mile walk, it was 30 degrees. By the time I got back 2 hours later, it had warmed up to 34 and I was actually sweating. No heavy clothing. Just tights under my usual lightweight jogging pants, long sleeve T-shirt and a fleece hoodie. I started out with gloves but had to take them and the stocking hat off after a while.
I love my walks: neighborhood sidewalks to the park, asphalt walking trail around a couple of ball diamonds, woodchip trail through the woods and along a creek, another rocky trail that requires a little climbing, and then through the neighborhoods back home. Just enough variety to keep me from being bored and to give me a good workout.
I needed this walk today. I've been feeling under the weather lately, both physically and emotionally. So much to think about lately, weighing options, wrestling with emotions, considering consequences of every course of action. Fighting the temptation to hibernate and sleep takes all my energy.
So on this walk today, as I entered the woods, I determined to slow down a bit, take in my surroundings and pray. I asked God to give me a deer. I often ask for deer when I walk through the woods and He often provides because I think He knows how much that makes my heart smile. But there were no deer today. Instead, as I was following the part of the trail that runs alongside the creek, I stopped and peeked through the trees and saw this:
I had to climb down over a few rocks and found a perfect place to sit and just take it in. The water has begun to freeze as it spills over the flat rock slabs, as has the top layer of the pool of water below. But you could still hear the water tinkling down and the way the light was playing off the icy water was mesmerizing. I sat and listened and watched a small school of fish swimming below the ice. I prayed and meditated and listened for a good 20 minutes before the ache in my backside told me it was time to pry myself off the cold rock I was sitting on. But even with that cold ache, I felt lighter somehow, like a weight had been lifted.
I'm feeling very grateful for these tiny gifts. These times when God reaches down and gently touches my life, knowing just what I need at just the right moment. It isn't always what I ask for or in the way I expect, but if I slow down and pay attention, listening, asking for His presence, He is always there, as if He has been waiting for me all along.
These are sacred moments, these times. They are Visions of Grace.