Morning slunk into my bedroom with half-hearted grey clouds and a feeble effort at rain. The moisture in the air was thicker than fog, but lighter than a shower. I guess, like me, it felt ambivalent about working up the effort for a good cry.
I planned to take photos near Steamboat Hill when I got up. I even set the alarm. When there is no wind and the water is very cold in the early morning reflections of golden trees in the misty river can be stunning this time of year.
If the light is right.
The sound of wind-blown branches scratching against my window hinted that the water would be rough and the leaves could be skittering across the ground by now anyway.
I rolled over and checked out Facebook on my iPhone. People again alternately exalted and slimed each other and their chosen candidates in another country, the way they have for the past few months, only this time with more fear and desperation in their posts. I put it down and went back to sleep.
I’m not depressed. Just tired. Lately, I seem to have more than the usual number of challenges parked in the waiting room of my mind. Not being able to do anything – or, more accurately, not knowing what to do until more information is available – can be exhausting.
I waited impatiently for Wisdom to show up, but when she did she only said, “Wait.”
I remember long trips across the prairies in the back seat of my father’s Oldsmobile. We had sung all the songs, played all the games, eaten all the snacks, and still telephone poles filed past the rain-streaked window in an endless procession of minutes. No use asking Dad if we were there yet. He just turned his head and answered over his shoulder, “If you have to ask you have not arrived. Just wait. This will be good.”
So I wait.
By ten I was dressed in a warm sweater pulled from the back of the closet where I optimistically stashed winter clothes one glorious day in the spring. Warming my hands with my third cup of coffee I went out on the deck to see if the flowers in big clay pots in the corner succumbed to the cold yet. Amazingly they still bloomed under the old blankets I throw over them at night. I pulled the covers back and they sprang back up.
The sky hung low and dull, but I noticed a patch of blue in the northeastern corner on the horizon. I decided to grab the camera and go. I needed to get out of the house. I headed toward the light.
Some place in this current spiritual landscape there is joy, there is peace, there is hope. I know it’s there, but sometimes I forget to look for it. I asked the Lord to help me find it.
The light began to shine through in sporadic rays sometime after I passed the appropriately named Bummer’s Flats. By the time I reached the bird sanctuary colours brightened.
At the rest stop on the other side of the bridge tourists marveled at sights I, as a local, have taken for granted. A young German couple parked their bicycles and spread their paper-wrapped bread and cheese feast on a picnic table. They sat facing the mountain ridge silently drinking cups of steaming coffee from a thermos as if they were absorbing a scene into mutual memory with every sip. Perhaps they plan on calling it up over the breakfast table when they have been married forty four years like us. An older couple stood on the bank of the river and reminded each other that these colours did not exist back home. I looked again with their eyes and saw joy.
I stopped by the lake and there was my peace. It rested on the still water in the form of a dock. In the summer it rocks and slaps the water as children dive from it. I can still hear their calls echoing in the hot summer sun. Now their diving platform floated steadfast in stillness under stormy skies.
You know you’re an introvert when your idea of a good time is when nobody else shows up for the party. The Lord and I had the entire beach to ourselves. The sun warmed my face, my hair, my hands. We walked along the shoreline.
Canada geese overhead were teaching their young how to fly in formation. Birds born this last year have no idea of how long the trip ahead of them will take, they only know they have the urge to prepare for something more than they have thus far known.
I waited and waited for God. He turned and he heard me. He said, “Wait. This is going to be good.”
In the meantime I choose to be thankful for joy found in sojourners’ eyes, for peace found in mountain lakes, and hope in the wings of young geese eager to see the world.