More from the Canyon

I did not expect the birds to delight me so. That first morning during my quiet time I am visited by a Nuthatch that I have never seen in my feeder and he is so cute with his showy white breast and fan tail. His quick movements lift my spirit and I find I am watching him instead of contemplating scripture.
Later, after breakfast, in morning worship, Jeffrey talks about letting God speak into us through nature—through the crouching redness of the sky slowly unfolding, the way light is a second skin on water…through a tiny Nuthatch visitation and the beauty in our winged creatures? All weekend long I can’t take my eyes off of them. I take small crumbs of bread and bits of dehydrated fruit back to my room to leave for these feathered angels. I see my friend the Black-capped Chickadee, a sweet-faced Titmouse, the familiar vibrant red of the Cardinal and a strange dusty blue bird I’ve never seen before. The one morning I run, a flock surges through the quiet overhead and I am amazed at the sound the wind makes under wing.
“It feels different this year,” I tell Cheryl, when she asks. “Good, but different.”
The landscape speaks to me and I feel my smallness. We are kayaking—or rather he is. I’m just along for the ride–when I ask David, “Can you get closer to the canyon wall?” He steers me over to that stony skin and I run my hand along its glistening surface, let water droplets moisten my fingers.
“I feel like those shrubs growing out of the stone,” I tell him. “It’s like: what are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here.”
He laughs and says sometimes he feels the same. But when I touch her, she touches me back and the canyon whispers all the prayers that have been said within her embrace—she whispers them back into my heart.
I’m walking with Megan amidst a butterfly migration and we stop in the middle of the road.
“Look at the sky,” she says.
And the way the blue falls over the trees is a song that is singing something new into me. Psalm 3:3 tells me that He is the Lifter of my Head and I find that it’s true: everywhere I go I’m looking up. Except when I’m looking down into beauty from Circle Bluff.
“It’s been about the people this time,” I tell Cheryl. And I think about my friend from high school who picked me up at the airport—drove two long hours under threatening sky so we could be together. And then home again. I think of the prayer she and Jennifer and I shared along the way and the hug we shared when she left. I think of the friends I’ve known through words and how sweet it is to squeeze a hand, look into eyes. The way we laughed (“You are more joyful than you seem online,” one sweet friend told me.) and the ways we prayed. Oh, just to be together and take up space side by side.
With Nancy
With Pat
With Megan
Linda and Sandy
With Lyla
“Yeah, it’s been about the people.”
And the birds. And the land. And the water, He whispered. And you and me.
I had to leave early for the airport Sunday morning, so I missed the worship service. But I remember this:
Small affirmations, believe them, one of the speakers said.
I am. Really. I am. It’s all worship.

With Jen today:

And Michelle:

Fun Friday: Holiday

Today the rain falls and I am filled with expectation.

There is talk of snow on the way.

This quiet hope, this swelling joy reminds me of something Matthew Kelty writes:

When rain turns to ice and snow I declare a holiday. I could as easily resist as stay at a desk with a parade going by in the street below. I cannot hide the delight that then possesses my heart. Only God could have surprised rain with such a change of dress as ice and snow…
Most people love rain, water. Snow charms all young hearts. Only when you get older and bones begin to feel dampness, when snow becomes a traffic problem and a burden in the driveway, when wet means dirt–then the poetry takes flight and God’s love play is not noted.
But I am still a child and have no desire to take on the ways of death. I shall continue to heed water’s invitation, the call of the rain. We are in love and lovers are a little mad. The season of love is soon over; one is young but once…

I’m declaring a holiday today, friends.


There is evidence of His presence all around. God leaves footprints in the snow. He walks among us.

And I am transformed from child to lover…waiting by the window for my Beloved. Yes, lovers are a little mad.

Ain’t it grand?


Some places never grow old. Even though the New River is thought to be second only to the Nile as the oldest river in the world…even though we’ve been here many times…

I felt her name.

Maybe it was just being together.