The setting echoes my mood. Dry Alder and cracked Cottonwood line the trail, broken branches and cracked limbs scattered by wind without water in this dry California winter. The thought comes, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…”
Here’s the funny part. I am not going through an Elijah like dry period. It’s been a year of sun, rain and harvest. I just got married and every facet of life goes well. It’s the inner demons and shadows that cause the sunlight to flicker.
It is the shadow on the horizon that threatens. A friend fears his step-daughters moving in next month. She has struggled with addiction but is currently clean. Sunlight flickers. A neighbor watches his finances dwindle month by month. How fast until it is all gone? Star eclipsed. A sister will be released from her treatment program back into ‘real life.’ Clouds obscure. I wrestle with possible monetary loss. I question character issues I’m faced with. Dust darkens.
I come to the Preserve not for answers but for peace. In my own darkness the kitten at the door looks like the “lion seeking to devour.” Solomon was right when he said that the little foxes spoil the vines. I seek perspective. I look up from willows and alders hoping to catch a glimpse of Bighorn sheep. I look higher, to the hills ‘from whence cometh my help…My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth.” Like clouds blowing across the face of the sun peace evades. I catch a glimpse---and it’s gone again.
I walk back to the parking lot. I hang onto that fleeting glimpse of sun; a peace that is shattered when I focus once again on billowing shadows. Still it is that glimpse of the largesse of nature, a glint of Him who names the stars that energizes me.
“I pray for you, that all your misgivings will be melted to thanksgivings. Remember that the shadow a thing casts often far exceeds the size of the thing itself (especially if the light be low on the horizon) and though some future fear may strut brave darkness as you approach, the thing itself will be but a speck when seen from beyond. Oh that He would restore us often with that 'aspect from beyond,' to see a thing as He sees it, to remember that He dealeth with us as with sons.” –Jim Elliott