Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
Some nights I don’t sleep well It is then I try to visualise a quiet place, a beach scene or maybe the garden, although that always reminds me of all the jobs I need to do out there!
One night the picture of a forest scene came to mind. There were several tall trees, with bark cracked and peeling, reaching to the heavens whilst the forest floor was covered with small bushes and bracken, some dead, others living. I seemed to hear the thousands, maybe millions of creatures living in the cracks in the tree bark and in the undergrowth, all carrying on their lives oblivious to Man’s everyday problems; his screeching and shouting, threats and insults, abuse and the like. It did not matter to the forest dwellers whether the animal or insect with which they shared the forest was black, white, green or yellow, as long as it didn’t eat him. At dusk an owl swooped silently through the air in search of a small rodent or bird for her evening meal while occasionally a muntjac deer would trample the bracken looking for something to eat; otherwise all was peace and quiet. I wondered how many, different species of animals and insects inhabited the forest. Only God knows the answer to that, for He made and cares for each and every one of them. Here was a reminder of an old hymn we used to sing as children: ‘All things bright and beautiful’. It contains the lines: ‘Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colours, He made their tiny wings.’ Then in the scene the silence was broken by someone knocking on the door of a deserted house: ‘Is there anybody there said the Traveller knocking on the moonlit door? And his horse in the silence champed the grasses of the forest’s ferny floor.’ the words from a poem, ‘The Listeners’, by Walter de la Mare (1873–1956) learned at school. The Traveller knocks several times but receiving no answer, although it is clear that someone is there, goes away.
As God made the birds, the animals and the insects of the forest He made us, too. He made our ‘glowing colours’, our ‘tiny wings’. He made us in His own image – how wonderful is that? Yet the amazing thing is that God did not need to make us – with all the trouble we cause to His Creation one is tempted to wonder why He bothered! He made us because He wanted to, because He has a purpose for us. And like the Traveller in the poem God knocks on our door yet how many times do we ignore His invitation to take up our cross and walk with Him?
With Our Lord’s words in mind: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28 KJV, a prayer of gratitude for God’s Creation and for His love for me, together with a resolve to answer His invitation to serve His Kingdom, sleep overtook me.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years