Bumblebee, Shark Valley Visitor's Area, Everglades National Park, July 2013
O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Monday I took a little time for a quick walk and photo shoot along the roadside canal at Shark Valley Visitor's Area of Everglades National Park off US 41. It has become my go to place. Bees and butterflies and flowers were in abundance. I watched a water snake attack a baby alligator (which swam away unharmed). A red-shouldered hawk hung around long enough for a number of photos and its presence at such a close distance left me amazed. A Blue heron hung out for awhile. For an hour not a single human being passed me. The only sounds were the songs of birds, the flow of the canal, the buzz of insects, and the deep throaty call of the ever-present pig frogs. The 7 foot alligator that swam by didn't make a sound, which was somewhat unnerving. Not since I was a child has God's creation so enraptured me, (when I would walk fields of goldenrod covered in Monarchs and by stream beds teeming with frogs, turtles, and more).
I am learning that as we slow down, take sabbath time, open our eyes and ears and allow God's creation to sing to our hearts, gifts begin to unfold, one after another: peace, a renewed spirit, a sense of wonder. Yes, it is darn well muggy awful hot and humid, but I don't notice. And this surprises and delights me. Those walks have enabled me to be a better pastor and person. And I trust that many more might benefit from more time in God's creation. To slow down, to look, to listen, and to see!