Tuesday, November 13, 2007


"...nature is very much a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't affair. A fish flashes, then dissolves before my eyes like so much salt. Deer apparently ascend bodily into heaven; the brightest oriole fades into leaves. These disappearances stun me into stillness and concentration; they say of nature that it conceals with a grand non-chalance, and they say of vision that it is a deliberate gift, the revelation of a dancer who for my eyes only flings away her seven veils."
Annie Dillard
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

A gift like that was given to me several weeks ago in October during the morning hike of a Sharing the Sacred retreat. Having walked the prairie the day before, I knew that almost all the flowers and grasses had gone to seed, except for a few asters and black-eyed Susans scattered about. The temptation was to think that there wouldn't be much to see or "pretty things" to point out on the hike, except for maybe the trees turning color in the hills. But as happens almost every time I go outside (and pay attention), God flung back a veil and showed me something I would never see just sitting inside the house.

And probably something I would never see again.

That day was a bit breezy, sunny but cool, and full of nature's pruning and stirrings. In the fall, some trees lose their leaves more quickly than others, and walnut trees are one of the first to give up their small, yellow leaflets. As we walked down the gravel road, a slight burst of wind sent several of the leaflets fluttering to the ground. I don't know why, but I turned just in time to notice a yellow sulphur butterfly "intercept" one of them and hold on. I wondered if this was just a coincidence, two almost weightless things colliding as the wind shifted, until the butterfly flew up from the grass and did the exact same thing with another leaf that was sailing through the air.

I was flabbergasted...it must have been love at first sight!