When we first moved into this place almost two years ago, my husband was immediately called to work in Louisiana for a couple of months. I remember it was raining. It was February. My oldest daughter had barely had a proper third birthday because of moving and here we were, without the help of Daddy and overrun by cardboard boxes. I was alone with a house to create.
I remember the first Monday we were alone while Daddy was at work. The first Monday in our new, very unfinished place. I was rocking my three month old in my room, and I remember feeling completely overwhelmed. So many boxes. Just staring at me. With no hands to help, and no idea where to even put things, I just sat. I remember just sitting in my rocking chair looking out our window and drinking in the trees wet from rain. I thought about how nice and fulfilling it would be to attack this mess and frantically unpack, put it all away at once and come out feeling like a victor in my battle of “To Do.” But I didn’t. I just sat. I decided right then and there to just keep on sitting and forget about the boxes, forget about a house that needs creating, forget about “To-Doing.”
There will be other days for that. But this day,
So that day my children and I took a walk through our magical new woods. We were surrounded with trees then. It was before my husband had cleared anything but the driveway and the plot for our house. The trees enveloped us completely and were so dense we could barely walk through them. They hugged us and protected us from the outside world. Shielded us from a world that screamed “Be busy! Get things done!”
In the woods, everything else was forgotten.
In the woods, the only thing that mattered was how the rain dripping down the canopy of leaves sounded exactly like a million little hands clapping. Clapping in awe and wonder and glory. In the woods, the only thing that mattered was that you look carefully when stepping between trees, so that you didn’t accidentally walk into a silver web where some hardworking spider lived. And in the woods, the only thing that mattered was that you listened to a symphony of new sounds:
The thud of the pinecone when a tree releases it from it’s grip.
The stamp of deer hooves sprinting through the thicket.
The crunch of leaves and branches beneath your feet.
That day I ignored all the things I needed to do, and just sat. And rocked. And drank in the woods. I’d like to say everyday is like that but it is not. Some days I yes to the never ending to-do list and I forget that the woods are calling. But then the wind blows, and its cool, or bright and perfect, and I step out of my shell to be in it.
I’m learning how to be in it.
It takes un-doing things to learn how to be in nature, enjoy it and be a part of it. It takes recognizing that nature has a way and a rhythm about it, one that will go on long after you’ve been a part of it.
I’m learning how to listen.
Even now, today, you can stop and listen too. You can learn to just be. During this time of year with turkeys and presents and concerts and everything; the best thing we can do is just be still. Rest. Forget about everything. Whether it’s the woods, or a meadow, or a stream, or a mountain, or an ocean, something will call us. It will beckon us to step out of the busy world and to enjoy all the simple beautiful that God created. It will call us to unwind, unplug and let go.
We need only listen.
What is calling you today?