On my walk, I was so thirsting for stillness that I didn't even take along my music. I wanted nothing but the sound of the wind, the dry scrape of leaves along the road, the rustle as squirrels darted from tree to tree and the chirp and burble of birds hidden in the bare branches.
The sky was a pale winter blue, banded by clouds that sometimes passed over the sun, casting the hillsides into shadow. But under the sun, all the fallen leaves glistened like polished bronze.
When my walk had taken me full circle, I clambered down the flat rocks that form a stream bed. The stream pours around the rocks, separating into three or four different thin sheets of water that join back together further downstream.
Usually, the water level is low enough that I can leap over each branch with ease. Sometimes it's not, and I must make my way further down, to an easier crossing point.
Today, I crossed over all but the last rivulet, the one which is the deepest and the fastest. It creates a little curl of water that spills into white foam. Bubbles of foam float on down, gliding over the rippling water.
The sound of the water falling was so lovely that I paused, and then knelt down with my hands dangling easily between my knees. I leaned forward a little, listening and watching the water run. It was hot, and I had tied my fleece around my waist; I could feel the sun on the back of my white shirt.
The endless quiet gurgle of water brought back an old memory. Until I was three, I lived with my parents in upstate New York- farming country. My grandfather had a dairy farm, and my father helped him run it.
Up the valley was a sheep farm owned by the church I grew up in, and church services were held there on Sunday mornings.
Above the church building was a pond banked by a stone wall, and water from the pond trickled endlessly and brightly down the moss-green stones.
It was a lovely, deep and soothing sound. The water itself was a murky and mysterious golden green. Light glinted off the fall of water.
The grass was a rich, deep green and over shading the pond were trees- were they willow trees? I almost think they were, but I can't remember exactly.
The water disappeared under the dirt driveway and then reappeared in another little fall and then wound its way down the hillside, toward the sheep pasture.
All this sensory memory came back to me, as I knelt by a rill of water this morning, under the hot sun. With the memory came the strong and loving presence of Christ- He was all bound up with the memory itself.
I realized that He had been with me, even then, and rejoicing in the beauty of His creation, and deeply loving me. Christ had been there, seeing that place not only as it truly was, but as it was through my own child's eyes.
He tenderly knows and understands our point of view, our memories- everything, in fact, that go into making us who we are. There is no one else that will ever know us better than He does- because only Christ can see from the heart outward.