in the still of the night…

**I wrote this piece several years ago. Jim and I were fishing at a friend’s lake and, as I often do, I put my pole down and enjoyed the sunset. The last few days have been so cold that warm that summer evenings at the lake have been on my mind. I remembered this piece and thought I would share it with you. (This is the picture I took that evening.) 

But now ask the beasts to teach you,
the birds of the air to tell you;
or speak to the earth to instruct you,
and the fish of the sea to inform you.

Which of these does not know
that the hand of God has done this?
In his hand is the soul of every living things,
and the breath of all mortal flesh.   
-Job 7-10

It is a warm June evening and there is just enough of a breeze to keep the bugs from settling. The water of the lake gently laps at the shore and signs of life are all around me.

I sit alone and wait.

Pinks and violets splash the evening sky. Aqua water and red clay meet amid the cattails that blow gently on the wind. White and purple flowers dot the lakeside; some in great bunches and some stand alone. Sand pipers run to and fro at the waters edge, scouting for insects. And although I can not see them, the frogs assure me that they are present and accounted for.

The evening is filled with the song of God’s creation; owls, calling to each other, some answering from nearby, so from afar. The high-pitched cries of the sand pipers, excited over their find. The frogs in constant communication with each other, some deep and long, some short and choppy. Oh, to be a part of their song, their words, their praise. To join a harmony such is gracing me tonight. But no, my greatest contribution is my silence. To be an audience of one for God’s opus. To let their song envelope me and carry me with them.

The breeze caresses my cheek and teases my hair from its confining clip, and I feel the tension release from my body. As more birds fly in and land ever so gently on the swaying cattails, I find peace. Here I find my Father. A dragonfly drifts by, as a rustling in the thicket catches my eye. Some unknown creature scurries away. The sweet smell of honeysuckle washes over me like a childhood friend. I remember. I connect. I am utterly and completely content. Be still and know I am God becomes real once again.

The colors are beginning to fade, greens becoming grays, browns and blues colliding in the distance. It’s getting harder to see the cattails; the flowers have already blended into the night. It is as though creation giving up her majesty and becoming less that I might join in, become a part of it. One color is left, and it contains all of the night. It embraces me and claims me as its own.

My eyes adjust to the growing darkness and my senses are awakened and sharpened. As I make my way home, other scents join the honeysuckle; lavender, clover, grass, even the water. The birds have quieted; not so the frogs, who seem to have changed from one or two voices, to dozens of individual sounds, all competing for the night. The owls continue to talk and the sounds of other animals, scurrying in the dark, join the ensemble.

And the breeze; the breeze is still stirring, ever so gently, reminding me that my Father is still there. Whispering, wooing, caressing, stirring my soul. Reminding me that He is right where He always is, in the breeze, waiting for me to slow down, quiet down, and become aware of Him.

All that remains to be seen is the slightest sliver of the moon, peaking around the eves of the house. I climb the stairs and take one last look at the night, before heading inside for the night. I am at peace; one with creation, one author of life, one Father…and me.

The earth has its music
for those who will listen.
             -George Santanya

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