Sunday, September 28, 2008

The gift of Creation

Sunset on the San Jacinto River
Copyright (c) 2006 Wendee Holtcamp

Today I saw a vision of the world wide and raw and beautiful. A flock of white birds pierced the blue as I drove my car across the San Jacinto on my way to church. They turned this way and that, cracking the stillness with the greater serenity of their sky dance. Beyond my vision, daily, the world of Creation goes on about its business. And I am humbled. And I am awed.

I once watched an island of birds nesting, interacting, squawking, talking, fighting, kissing, taking care of their offspring and realized this went on with or without my witnessing it. A whole world of wildlife lives and breathes and breeds and dies without us ever noticing. And how do we honor that Creation? God speaks these humbling words to Job:

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you attend the wild doe when she is calving?
Can you count the months they carry their young
or know the timing of their delivery,
when they crouch down to open their wombs
and deliver their offspring
when the fawns growing and thriving in
the open country
leave and do not return?

Who has let the Syrian wild ass range at will
and given the Arabian wild ass its freedom?
I have made its haunts in the wilderness
and its home in the saltings;
it disdains the noise of the city
and does not obey a driver's shout;
it roams the hills as its pasture
in search of a morsel of green
(Job 39: 1-8, Oxford Study Bible)

And on and on it goes, putting humanity in our place. Beautiful poetry.

I felt uncomfortable and disturbed inside after an intense group session delving into my soul and spirit and past, and I walked behind our church down a trail to the bridge over the creek, where I leaned over the rail and watched the turtles play. The air was dry and warm. A perfect, cool breeze came. I watched a little red-eared slider kiss a larger turtle, or so it seemed, again and again. It must have been eating parasites or something but there it was, entertaining me with its antics.

And then amongst the dozens of sliders, I saw a big softshell turtle with its head emerging. I watched it, and even as the sliders passed by it, it would not move a muscle. And then after minutes of watching the same scene, I saw a second softshell the same size as the first that I'd not seen until I kept watching, observing their world. It revealed itself to me by silently watching. It had not arrived, it had been there all along but I'd missed it until all of a sudden, I saw it. It reminded me of Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (one of my all-time favorite books), and her thesis of 'seeing.' We can not see what we do not watch and observe and wait to reveal itself to us. And within that moment my inner disturbance left me, and I found the answers, for now, for then. I realized why, and connected the feeling to the reason. I left the turtles, walking back down the forested greenway with a deeper sense of peace. I knew.


Bittersweet Grandma said...

This was a beautiful post, Wendee. You have inspired me to re-read Job. I would also like to talk to you about your photography sometime. You are so talented!

Unknown said...

ah thanks! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the positive feedback on my photography! Email me if you want to chat about photography - you can find it on my website if you don't have it :)