Looking Up

“How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”–Psalm 104:24

It has felt like the “dog days of summer” lately. Hazy heat, crickets chirping, breezes rustling the trees, lower sun at dusk, all fingers are pointing toward the month before fall. On Sunday, I got to experience these lazy days as I went to a park preserve with my family. I carefully chose my spot under a large tree, spread out the picnic blanket, and waved to my husband and daughter as they drove down another road to go fishing at the nearby lake. I settled down to some serious relaxation.

I enjoyed watching the families lugging their beach toys, coolers, and strollers to the beach, colorful blankets and bold swimsuits caught my eye. An old couple sat in sagging folding chairs, watching the swimmers. A burly young lifeguard, tanned to perfection, sat perched up in a tall wooden chair, bringing out his megaphone every few minutes to shout announcements at swimmers. After reading books and sketching, drowsiness was tugging at me and I laid on my back on the blanket. As I stretched out and watched the tiny ants crawling up my arm, I looked up. A beautiful canopy of leaves greeted me. Gold, yellow, and bright green, pockets of light shining through. I could see the blue sky through the holes and moving my vision a few feet to the right, could see the puffy white clouds floating by. I admired the thin branches, scaly bark, and knots on the trunk. I wondered how long the tree had been there, shading other park-goers like me…..

As I looked up into the dappled sunlight, I couldn’t help but thank God. For His creation, for this tree, for a time to relax, for light and life and enjoyment. I was in the moment and loving it. Concerns and to-do lists melted away as I took in the creation around me, savoring it.

What a gift God gives us every day—the chance to interact with His creation, lay down our concerns, drift away to another world, if only for a few minutes…. Being in nature fills some void in a way other things can’t.

My daughter and husband have been looking at the stars the last few evenings. They saw Jupiter a few nights ago and are looking forward to looking for the lunar eclipse in a few weeks. We have watched huge puffy clouds reflect the pinks and yellows of the setting sun, brilliant colors I could never capture on a canvas. Nature reminds us that despite the travails of this life, God is still in charge, dazzling us with mysteries too deep for words. We have to just make the time to look for them.

Looking up—-noticing the trees, cloud formations, or stars—is a way to interact with nature and God. How might you lay down your busy schedule and “look up” this week?

Prayer—“Creator God, your creation dazzles me. Thank you for making such a beautiful place for me to live. I pray this week to carve out some time to spend with you and nature. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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